Have you heard of quinoa?
If not, you may be wondering, “How in the world do I pronounce that?” I’ll help you out with that right now: “KEEN-wah.” There you go.
But don’t let the confusing pronunciation turn you off this fabulous food. It’s quickly becoming all the rage in kitchens all around the world. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has declared 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa.”
That’s right, this year has been dedicated to a food. Guess the pronunciation is kind of important.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a tiny seed from a vegetable closely related to beetroots and tumbleweeds. The seeds can be cooked much like rice to make them fluffy and grain-like.
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The superfood dates back to approximately 5,000 years ago, when the Incas made it a staple of their diet. They considered the seed to be sacred and thus dubbed it the “mother seed.”
And for good reason. There are quite a few health benefits of quinoa that may make you consider adding it to your diet.
Quinoa Nutrition Facts
1. It’s gluten-free
Celiacs everywhere can celebrate—quinoa is gluten-free, which may be surprising because it tastes like a grain and can often be used in place of one. However, as stated earlier, it is not a grain; it’s a seed, and is absolutely gluten-free.
2. It’s a great source of protein
Quinoa is very rich in protein. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein.
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3. Quinoa is high in fiber
According to the USDA, quinoa contains 12 grams of fiber per cup, almost twice as much as most other grains. Fiber intakes in the U.S. are less than half of the recommended levels on average, which is a problem because people who eat lots of fiber are at significantly lower risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and some gastrointestinal diseases. Plus, fiber can help prevent constipation…which may be, ahem, relieving for you to know.
4. It can help with migraines
If you suffer from migraines, quinoa can help to relieve your pain. According to Green Living author Diana Herrington, the seed is a good source of Vitamin B2 or riboflavin, which prevents migraines