Quinoa – Super useful superfood
Even though there is a lot being said and written about quinoa (pronounced as in ‘kien-wah’) a lot of people don’t even know about its existence. And that’s a shame, because it deserves in many different aspects the attention it can get.
Grain that is not grain
Quinoa looks like grain, feels like grain and can be cooked as grain. Only; it is not grain!
Quinoa belongs to the seeds of the dicotyledons, while real grains (wheat, barley, corn etc.) belongs to the seeds of the monocotyledonous. To be concrete, quinoa belongs to the Amarant family, just like the crop with the same name: amaranth. Quinoa is from texture the same as vegetables as spinach and (chopped)beet.
Both quinoa as amaranth have been the most important farmer product in South America for over the past 6000 years, and the Inca’s were – according to historical sources – quite familiar with it. By crossing the different species there arose seeds that were resistant to our European or the Northern American climate.
The big difference between the named grains and quinoa is the superior nutritional value. Not for nothing has quinoa taken a top place on the honour table of the superfoods. The name quinoa literally means: ’Supergrain’ or ‘Mothergrain’
Plant with ‘balls’
Like most superfoods, this crop grows in the most uninhibited places, under bad climate-conditions. With quinoa those places consist of mountain area’s (like the Andes mountains at a height of 4000 meters) and were other plants don’t even think about shooting their roots. Plants that are built to endure those low nutritional, oxygen-free and dry surroundings are naturally equipped with the needed ‘balls’.
The genetic complex structure of quinoa makes it able to take a punch, and in turn can make you- as user- able to enjoy the characteristics.
Pros of quinoa
Quinoa contains all the essential nutrients the human body needs. It is an excellent source of protein, calcium, vitamin B and iron which- in contradiction to other nutrients from meat, dairy and grain- are effortlessly are takin in by the body. At the digestion from grains the gluten are the most difficult to the digestion process. However, quinoa is fully gluten free.
The characteristics of quinoa in a row:
- Rich in high quality protein
- Rich in nutrition fibres
- Rich in multiple unsaturated fats
- Rich in vitamins and minerals (vitamin B2, E, iron, magnesium, copper and calcium)
- Cleaning, purifying function. Contradicts to a good metabolism and intestinal flora
- Gluten free
- Tasty (also not unimportant ;))
Types of quinoa and availability
Quinoa is also available in many different variants, like red- and black quinoa. The difference in taste between these variants is not worth mentioning, but it surely brings some extra colour to your plate. Unfortunately, no photos of coloured quinoa, but I will make it up for you ;-)
You can also find quinoa in the form of flakes and flour, and if you want to you can also puff them (see photos at the bottom). The last one is certainly good to know if you have a gluten allergy. Quinoa flower is perfectly for baking bread and pastries and ensures a good binding in a.o.t sauces and soups, without the harmful effects that gluten can have on your body.
A little decent supermarket has quinoa in stock nowadays, normally this is the normal ‘white ‘version. If not: you can certainly find it at your local natural food store.
Quinoa is a very grateful ingredient to prepare and you can do a lot with it. It is suitable for breakfast, nooning, lunch, and you can even use it in desserts! A nutrient that you can use the whole day with a calm heart.