Although its taste can sometimes be up for debate, quinoa may just be one of the best sources of starchy carbohydrates out there!
Although quinoa gets tossed into the grain category it is actually a seed related more closely to beets, swiss chard, and spinach.
Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse providing many nutrients that our bodies need for optimal health.
One cup of cooked quinoa provides...
- 40 grams of carbs (5 grams fiber, 33 grams starch, and 2 grams sugar)
- 4 grams of fat (1 gram monounsaturated, 2 grams polyunsaturated, and 1 gram saturated)
- 8 grams of protein
- 58% manganese (RDA)
- 30% magnesium (RDA)
- 28% phosphorus (RDA)
- A good dose of copper, iron, and zinc along with folate and B vitamins
Quinoa has a glycemic index of 53 and a glycemic load of 13 per 150 gram serving. Both considered fairly low from a glycemic response standpoint.
One of quinoa's unique qualities is that it contains a good serving of complete proteins. A complete protein is one that contains all of the essential amino acids. Something that is rare among a plant based protein source.
Although this little seed does not contain much fat (a good thing since it is high in carbohydrates) it does have a very nice balance of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats.
Similar to manganese, magnesium aids in the growth and support of a healthy bone structure as well as supports nerve and muscle function. In North America many individuals are deficient in this essential micronutrient.
Phosphorus' main function is to support the growth, development, and maintenance of bones and teeth. It also aids in energy production, kidney function, and nerve signalling.
- Contains large amounts of flavonoids (plant based antioxidants)
- Is gluten-free
- It may increase heart health and aid in digestion
Although quinoa is very attractive from a glycemic standpoint keep in mind that it is carb heavy. So if you need to lose more than 20 pounds or eating a low carb diet is your thing quinoa may not be for you.
Finally, it is important to rinse your quinoa in cold water before cooking. Some quinoa contains saponins which may damage your stomach lining and irritate the gut. Rinsing throughly helps reduce the saponin content in quinoa.
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