Quinoa Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

Quinoa Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

Recently, quinoa has proven likable by most individuals. This has been discovered through recent research which its findings have indicated an increase in quinoa foods on supermarket shelves and restaurants. Quinoa foods have been substituted for other grains more so taken for breakfast. It is a common food popular among the South American locals such as the Colombians, Aymara, and Quechua people. With its discovery, grains of quinoa has gradually gained acceptance globally and is now a preferred diet to most consumers. It can be consumed in its raw form that is its grains cooked. The seeds can also be added to the soup. This makes the soup thicker and tastier. More commonly grains are crushed into flour. The flour could be blended into bread, porridge, or even mixed with drinks. In terms of nutritional value derived, it can be compared to other food grains such as maize, beans, rice, and wheat. The grains have significant content levels of protein, fiber, fats, and minerals. For a balanced diet, it is important to include quinoa in your meals so as to provide overall good nutrition. This post will provide an insight into the range of nutritional values derived from quinoa grains.

Macro-nutrient contents of quinoa

Table 1: Macro-nutrient contents of quinoa and selected foods, per 100 grams dry weight

Quinoa High Protein Levels

There are a variety of types this plant species. The grains are commonly known for their protein level. Depending on the type of grain protein levels may vary. Normally protein content will range from 10.4 to 17 percent. Proteins are simply units of amino acids important for the human body for growth. Past research has indicated that quinoa exceeds the recommended amount of amino acids, therefore, it may suitable for children below 10 years. Compared to quinoa, other grains do not meet the essential amino acid content threshold. This gives a comparative advantage.

Comparsion of essential amino acid profiles of quinoa

Table 2: Comparison of essential amino acid profiles of quinoa and other selected crops with the FAO recommended amino acid scoring pattern for 3 to 10 years olds (g/100 g protein)

Rich Source of Dietary Fibre

Recent findings on research carried out on a variety of types of seeds indicate that dietary fiber content averages from 13.6 to 16 grams for every 100 grams of quinoa. Also to note is that most of the dietary fiber is insoluble. Although this plant has a lower fiber content than legumes, it has a higher content compared to other grains. Nutritionists recommend regular consumption of foods with significant levels. This improves digestion and reduces the chances of experiencing constipation.

High Essential Fat Content

Many people think fats are not important to bodies. This is wrong according to nutritionists, as fats are a rich source of calories and aid in the absorption of vitamins. Quinoa seeds compared to other grains, significantly contain higher levels of fat. From the past study, findings indicate that the seeds contain on average 6.3 grams of fat in every 100 grams of seeds. More than half of the fat content comes from essential components such as omega 6 and omega 3 which are considered to boosts a person’s memory. Such is considered important as those fatty acids cannot be produced in the human body. These fatty acids also contain high contents of Vitamin E and act as natural antioxidants.

Source of Minerals

Our bodies are made of a series of cells that enable the body to function well. These cells need minerals supplement so as to enable them to produce vital nutrients to our bodies. Lack of these supplements may cause malnourishment or even nutritional deficiencies. Quinoa contains significant levels of these minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. This has a comparative advantage over other mineral sources as it is a natural source of these minerals. Keen to note is that quinoa contains non – nutritive minerals which may slow down the absorption of available minerals into the body system. It also has a compound known as oxalate which may deter the absorption of these minerals.

Mineral content of quinoa

Table 3: Mineral content of quinoa and selected foods, mg/100g dry weight

Significant Vitamin levels

Vitamins are essential for our body’s functionality. They boost our immunity and our body’s fitness as a whole. Quinoa is a rich source of riboflavin and folic acid in comparison to other grains. To reap maximum benefits, quinoa seeds should not be overcooked or over-processed as this lowers Vitamin E content.

As seen, it has tremendous nutritional value to our bodies. Just enough consumption of grains or foods with quinoa as a component comes with significant nutrition benefits to our bodies. For a healthy balanced diet, consider having seeds of the plant in your meals. With this, you can be sure to reduce cases of nutritional deficiencies in your body and visits to your doctor.

Vitamin content of quinoa

Table 4: Vitamin content of quinoa and selected foods, mg/100g dry weight

Source: https://www.fao.org/quinoa-2013/what-is-quinoa/nutritional-value/en/

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