Health benefits of quinoa
Quinoa is a whole grain that is rapidly growing in popularity due to its many health benefits.
Although people can cook and eat quinoa seeds in a similar way to most grains, the quinoa plant itself is more similar to beetroots and spinach. People can eat both the seeds and leaves of this versatile, nutritious plant.
Below are some of the health benefits of regularly consuming quinoa.
A plant-based source of protein
People following a plant-based diet need to find nonanimal sources of protein to ensure they are getting enough.
One cup of cooked quinoa weighing 185 grams (g) of protein.
High fiber content
Quinoa has a high fiber content compared with other grains, providing 5.18 g in a single 185 g cup. This equates to at least 15.42% of a person’s daily requirement, depending on their age and sex.
Diets rich in fiber may also promote a healthy weight. This is because foods high in fiber help people feel fuller for longer, potentially reducing their overall intake of food.
A source of antioxidants
Quinoa is a good source of antioxidants compared with other common grains in a gluten-free diet. Most gluten-free products consist of corn, rice, or potato flour.
Quinoa provides vitamin E. This is an antioxidant compound that may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and several eye disorders.
New studies regularly emerge that confirm the health benefits of adequate whole grain intake and their antioxidant capacity.
Helps meet manganese requirements
One cup of cooked quinoa contains 1.17 milligrams (mg) of manganese. This accounts for around 27.43% of the adequate intake of manganese for males and 35.05% for females.
Good source of iron
One cup of quinoa supplies 2.76 mg of iron, providing 34.5% of the recommended intake for males and 15.33% for females. Maintaining adequate levels of iron is essential for good health.
A source of folate
Folate is an essential B vitamin that plays a key role in the formation of DNA. It is particularly important that women obtain enough folate during pregnancy to reduce the chance of neural tube defects in their babies, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).
Getting enough dietary folate might also reduce the risk of several cancers and depression.
One cup of cooked quinoa contains 118 mg of magnesium. Although the daily recommended amount increases with age, quinoa is a good source of the mineral.
The ODS suggest that low levels of magnesium have possible links to the following health concerns:
- high blood pressure
- cardiovascular disease
- type 2 diabetes
However, more research is necessary to confirm the effects of dietary magnesium on these conditions.
Contains quercetin and kaempferol
Quinoa contains the plant compounds quercetin and kaempferol.
Plant experts classify quinoa as a pseudo cereal, not a grain. This means that it is a non grassy plant that food producers can use in much the same way as cereals and grains. It also has a similar nutritional profile.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free.
One cup of cooked quinoa :
- 222 calories
- 8.14 g of protein
- 5.18 g of fiber
- 3.55 g of fat, of which 0.42 g is saturated
- 39.4 g of carbohydrate
Quinoa is highly nutritious and can provide a large portion of a person’s daily requirement or adequate intake for several important nutrients, including:
|Nutrient||Percentage of daily requirement for adults|
|Magnesium||At least 28.10%, depending on sex and age|
|Manganese||27.43% for males, and 25.05% for females|
|Iron||34.5% for males, and 15.33% for females|
|Zinc||18.36% for males, and 25.25% for females|
|Riboflavin||18.55% for males, and 10% for females|
|Vitamin B-6||Around 17.54%, depending on age|