The Simple Joy of Quinoa

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has declared that this is “The International Year of the Quinoa.” But what is this mysterious plant that’s being tasked with meeting the challenge of feeding the world’s population? Where does it grow and how on Earth do you pronounce its name?

The Background

Quinoa can be found all over in the Andean region, but the main countries of quinoa production are Peru, Bolivia and the United States. The FAO believes that because of its high nutrition value and biodiversity, quinoa may be the key to attaining food security across the globe.

Nutritional Value

Just one cup of Quinoa contains 223 calories, along with a massive five grams of fiber (one-fifth the RDA for a healthy American adult). It’s also a good source of iron, magnesium and vitamin B-6. It also provides a small amount of ALA omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, recent studies have found quinoa to have anti-inflammatory properties.

One of the most interesting things about Quinoa is its nutritional benefits. It can be eaten as a grain or ground into flour. While you can do this with other grains, the nutritional content is lowered after grinding. However, quinoa maintains its benefits even after being made into flour. Quinoa flour is a good source of protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

Other Benefits

A pot of quinoa.

Animal studies have found that quinoa may have anti-inflammatory properties. This news is especially welcome after we’ve heard so much lately about the variety of diseases that may be linked to chronic inflammation, including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

In fact, chronic inflammation has been called “the root cause of all disease.” For this reason, it’s in all of our best interests to eat as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible.

It’s also suggested that quinoa may be able to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and allergies. In fact, quite a few public organizations have already recommended quinoa as a healthy alternative for wheat to avoid gluten allergies. This, combined with its high digestibility makes quinoa a good food for small children.

How to Eat Quinoa

Quinoa can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. You can combine cooked quinoa with beans or add it to a salad. It’s a welcome addition to nuts and fruits and works well in many different soups. My husband makes his own granola with quinoa in it and serves it up with a bowl of Greek yogurt. You can also use quinoa in almost every recipe that calls for flour.

For more healthy tips on foods you can’t afford to pass up, talk to your chiropractor. Your doctor of chiropractic has years of nutritional information at your disposal and would love to share his or her knowledge with you.

 

Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

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Photo credit: Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Daniel Lobo

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