Got quinoa? If not, you may want to consider adding it to your diet. A recent review article by researchers from Rutgers University, explained the specific phytochemicals and nutrients that make quinoa so healthy.
Quinoa has a higher protein content than barley, oat, rice and maize. Due to a property of its storage proteins, quinoa is a safe gluten-free option. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, quinoa protein can supply over 180 percent of the daily-recommended intake of the 10 essential amino acids for adult nutrition.
Quinoa seed oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) with a higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio than other plant oils. Other essential fatty acids in quinoa contribute to brain development, insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular health, immunity, inflammation and membrane function. These fatty acids may exert beneficial physiological effects as well.
Carbohydrate and Fiber
Quinoa contains 10 percent total dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is essential for digestive health, and can promote satiety, reduce cholesterol absorption, and reduce risk and severity of gastrointestinal infection and inflammation. Its soluble fiber content also serves as a prebiotic.
Quinoa is rich in Vitamins A, B, C, and E. These vitamins play a major role in metabolism, regulating cell growth and development, and improving vision.
Quinoa contains sufficient amounts of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Its mineral content is higher than that of rice, wheat and other cereals.
Saponins, found in the outer seed coat of quinoa, are useful in producing organic crops because they protect crops from microbial infection and from being eaten by insects and birds.
Phenolics are compounds found in quinoa that serve as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, ant diabetic, anti-obesity and cardio protective effects.
Found in quinoa, phytoecdysteroids can help build muscle and reduce stress. Other benefits include promoting growth, healing wounds and serving as an antioxidant and ant depressive.
Betalains are what give quinoa their yellow, red and black colors. They contain a range of health-promoting properties and serve as a natural dye for foods. Betalains are approved as a safe, natural alternative to synthetic color ingredients in foods.
Glycine betaine is an amino acid in quinoa that has been involved in the treatment and prevention of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.