For the past few years, quinoa has been very “in” in the health community. The United Nations even named 2013 “International Quinoa Year” due to its growing popularity and high nutrient content. As this grain continues to grow in popularity, you’re probably wondering how much of the hype is real and how much is an exaggeration. As it turns out, quinoa really stacks up as a healthy grain.
In fact, as one can learn from Brainscape’s new Knowledge Rehab subject, quinoa is actually the healthiest grain in existence. If you haven’t added quinoa to your repertoire yet, maybe these health facts will help motivate you to give it a try.
5 Major Health Benefits of Quinoa
1. Quinoa is a complete protein.
Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods you can add to your diet. It actually contains all nine essential amino acids. If you are a vegetarian, quinoa is one of the rare foods that offers you complete protein.
2. Quinoa is an excellent source of lysine.
Lysine is essential for tissue growth and repair. Quinoa is one of the best sources for this nutrient.
3. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as other grains.
We all know that one of the best things about whole grains is their fiber content. Quinoa actually beats most other grains with about double the amount of fiber. Fiber is essential to keep your digestive system working properly, and it can even help you lose weight by keeping you full for longer. If you are looking for a tasty, non-energy-dense food, quinoa is ideal.
4. Quinoa is chock-full of vitamins and minerals.
In particular, quinoa is an excellent source of the following vitamins and minerals (shown as the percentage of the recommended dietary allowance provided by one serving):
- Manganese: 58% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
- Folate: 19% of the RDA.
- Copper: 18% of the RDA.
- Iron: 15% of the RDA.
- Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
- Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
5. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin.
Riboflavin, or B2, is necessary for maintaining your metabolism. Quinoa has such a high B2 content that some studies actually indicate that it can improve metabolic health by lowering blood sugar and triglyceride levels. If nothing else, B2 is one of the vital B-vitamins that you need to consume every day for optimal health, so a serving of quinoa provides a significant percentage of your RDA. (If you get confused about the various benefits of all the B-vitamins, check out our article about them.)
With all these health benefits, it’s not surprising that the Incas called this superfood “the mother of all grains.” Of course, quinoa is not the only healthy food out there. What other superfoods do you think people should consume more? Let us know in the comments!
We hope you enjoyed this look into nutrition. We know one thing: this just stimulates our thirst for more learning. Through a multi-year project involving hundreds of students, teachers, professors, and experts from different fields, Brainscape has compiled a critical base set of knowledge across a huge range of subjects. We call it Knowledge Rehab. Whether you want to review the arts, sciences, social sciences, or even pop culture and entertainment, it’s all here. And it’s optimized for the world’s best new study platform: Brainscape. Check it out and download it for FREE!
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