Crazy quirky quinoa

Who hasn’t heard of quinoa the ‘super food’ with so many amazing qualities? Is it as good as they claim? I’m going discuss the various reasons why this food should be a staple part of our diet. We often refer to quinoa as a super grain although botanically speaking it is part of the goosefoot plants, the same as spinach and beetroot, but we like to pretend it is a grain as its nutritional makeup is so similar to grains.

Did you know quinoa originated from the Andes; the Incas considered this grain to be the ‘mother of grain’s’ due to its high nutritional profile? Quinoa is considered a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids the body requires, like meat and dairy products. It has been a food staple in South America for centuries, Inca warriors would eat balls of quinoa and fat prior to going into battle, as they knew that it would sustain them.

If you have never cooked quinoa before, I’m hoping that this might be a food that you will consider adding to your grocery list. As quinoa is gluten free, this makes it a great option for those who are Celiac or gluten intolerant. Quinoa has this protective outer shell of saponins which provide protection to pests and therefore means it can be grown without the use of pesticides, however the saponins make it very bitter to taste. Although most of the quinoa sold today has had the protective outer shell removed, I still give it a good rinse prior to cooking to get rid of any residue.

If I have time, I will soak the quinoa overnight or even just a few hours, in warm water adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. This process helps to activate the enzymes making it easier to digest. Again, I will give it a good rinse to get rid of all the residue that has been released. Cooking quinoa really is simple, 1-part quinoa to 2-parts water. Add the quinoa, bring the water to a boil and then simmer until all the water is absorbed. It cooks in about 15 minutes and it is easy to know when it is ready as the little white tails will appear from the kernel – you are good to go.

Quinoa has many nutritional benefits, not only is it quick and easy to use, it is a great source of B vitamins which support the nervous system and help to convert food into energy. This also makes it an excellent food for those suffering from type 2 diabetes, as it also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Not only this, but it contains potassium which helps to reduce high blood pressure. As it is a complete protein, quinoa will keep you staying fuller for longer, so for those looking to cut back on snacks this a great food to add to your diet.

Quinoa can be used in so many ways from soups and salads, using it as a side dish, you can even add it to your breakfast with this amazing egg muffin recipe, which is one of my favourites. Give and try and see how quinoa can really make a difference to your meals and your health.

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