Quinoa: The Superfood

It’s in the same family as Swiss chard, spinach and beets. To this day, about 80% of the world’s quinoa supply comes from South America.

Let’s dive into the health benefits of quinoa and some tips for purchasing:

Quinoa is considered a “superfood” for good reason:

- It’s high in fiber, which is important for blood sugar control as well as digestive health.

- It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytochemical, making it helpful for preventing diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

- It contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a “complete protein”.

- It’s low-glycemic, meaning that it won’t spike your blood sugar — and is therefore good for diabetics in helping to stabilize blood sugar.

- It has been shown to improve liver function.

- It boosts the immune system.

- It’s hearty so it satisfies the appetite.

- Because of all the vitamins, minerals, phytochemical and antioxidants quinoa contains, it’s considered both an anti-viral and anti-inflammatory food.

Quinoa comes in 3 colors/varieties: 

• White: most mild flavored, fluffiest texture, takes on flavors well

• Red: heavier texture, crunchier than white, nuttiest flavor of all

• Black: heavier texture, more robust, earthy flavor

Purchasing quinoa:

When purchasing quinoa, make sure you buy organic. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, but when it’s grown in the U.S., seeds from neighboring wheat crops occasionally blow over and contaminate the quinoa crops with both gluten and glyphosate. This can be a big issue if you’re sensitive to gluten or gluten intolerant.

There’s a naturally occurring protective coating on the outside of quinoa that needs to be rinsed off prior to eating. As you’re rinsing, check for small stones (as you would with raw beans) and discard any you see. While “pre-rinsed” quinoa is available, it has been known to contain fewer vitamins, minerals and fiber because of the “washing” process it goes through.

One cup of quinoa provides:  

• 220 Calories

• 8 grams protein

• 5 grams fiber

This quote from Harvard Public School sums it all up: “Eating a daily bowl of quinoa reduces the risk of premature death from diseases like cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, and Type 2 diabetes by 17%.”


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