You may think of quinoa (keen-wah) as a grain, but in fact it’s actually a seed! A few years ago it seemed to suddenly appear on the food scene, and since then it has continued to grow in popularity, now being considered by many to be a specialty food because of its many health benefits and nutrients.
You may be surprised to learn that quinoa comes in over 3000 different varieties! While white quinoa is the most popular kind, black and red quinoa are higher in vitamin E, and black quinoa is the lowest in fat and highest in omega-3 content.
As mentioned, quinoa is very high in nutrients. Including high levels of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and many more. Manganese supports the function of your brain and your nervous system. Magnesium is needed by every cell in our body to function properly, phosphorus is important for filtering waste and repairing tissue cells, and folate is needed to make DNA and for cell division in the body.
Quinoa is also low in calories and fat, and high in protein, as well as being gluten-free. There are also lots of beneficial plant compounds in it, and these act as antioxidants, meaning they can neutralise free radicals that cause damage to our body. All types of quinoa are high in antioxidants, but the darker varieties contain more, so black quinoa has the most.
Quinoa is also rich in fiber. Enough fiber in the diet helps protect against developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as helping you to feel fuller for longer.
Apparently, the best way to cook quinoa (I’m yet to try this method), is to use 1 ¾ cups water for every cup of quinoa. You combine the quinoa and water in a medium pot, and bring to the boil. Once it’s boiling, cover it and reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. After that, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 more minutes. Finally, remove the lid and fluff with a fork!