If you've been hearing more about Quinoa lately, it's not a surprise. Considered a "super food," Quinoa, ("keen-wah") is a relative of beets, spinach and Swiss chard, but its seeds resemble a whole grain and are prepared and eaten in much the same way. Available in light brown, red and even black varieties, Quinoa is light yet filling and has a mellow flavor.
So what makes Quinoa so nutritious?
- It is high in magnesium - magnesium helps relax blood vessels, which may result in fewer headaches for migraine sufferers and decreased risk of hypertension and stroke.
- It is a good source of manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, vitamin B2 and other essential minerals.
- It has the highest protein content of any grain. It is especially high in lysine, an amino acid that is typically low in other grains. Hence, Quinoa is a complete protein food, containing all nine essential amino acids - a rarity in the plant kingdom. Quinoa’s high lysine content makes it a nutritional powerhouse for a grain especially for vegetarians.
- It is rich in dietry fiber.
- It is gluten-free and easy to digest.
- Quinoa is much faster to prepare than other whole grains. It can be prepared the same way as rice. But it needs to be monitored more carefully, since it cooks much quicker. 10 minutes boiling should be sufficient.
- It's important to rinse quinoa prior to cooking, since it has soap-like components called saponins that can taste bitter and have a laxative effect. To rinse, place in a bowl of cold water and swish around with your fingers, refilling the water once or twice. Drain in a fine-meshed strainer