Did you know that there are more than 120 variables of quinoa? Well, you will be forgiven if you only know of the black, red, and white quinoas, as they are the most popular ones. Even though a quinoa plant looks like spinach or beetroot, it has grains similar to rice or wheat. Today, the grains are among the most popular sources of plant-based proteins. Here are some more exciting facts about quinoa that you probably didn’t know:
1. Quinoa Tastes Nothing Like Rice
Cooked quinoa might look and feel much more like brown rice, but their tastes are nothing alike. Cooked quinoa possesses a mild nutty flavor and is chewy. However, you can have savory or sweet-tasting quinoa with various recipes available.
While it may not taste exactly like rice, you can eat quinoa as barley or any other grain. If anything, its varying recipes make it suitable for any meal. Whether you want to add it to breakfast porridges or dinner, the choice is yours.
2. It is a Complete Protein
A complete protein meal contains all the necessary amino acids so that our bodies don’t need to produce more. Usually, most plant-based proteins require a complementary meal or rely on our bodies to create the additional amino acids.
Quinoa is one of the rare plants whose grains contain full proteins. It is also naturally gluten-free, so you don’t have to worry about your gluten intolerance while taking it.
3. Raw Quinoa is Edible But Not Entirely Recommended
Soaking and allowing quinoa to sprout makes it edible when raw. However, scientists have strongly advised against this as it may lead to stomach discomfort. On the plus side, taking uncooked quinoa ensures you get its whole nutrients. We are talking about the likes of high fiber and boosted proteins.
Unconfirmed studies also link raw quinoa to helping with diabetes and heart diseases. Using a strong blender to grind the quinoa and using it to make a smoothie is one of the best ways of achieving this. However, you can still get these benefits with cooked quinoa, so the risk might not be worth it.
4. Quinoa Contains Calories, But Suitable for Weight Loss
To put this into perspective, a cup of plain, cooked quinoa contains about 222 calories. This explains why many people think this protein makes consumers gain weight. On the contrary, quinoa can help with weight loss when served alongside other dishes.
Quinoa is a high-fiber food. When taken in moderation, it helps with digestion. It ranks in the same category as almonds, extra virgin oil, salmon, and beans when it comes to aiding with weight loss.
5. Technically a Seed, Factually a Grain
Quinoa naturally presents itself as a seed. However, given that it contains a high protein and fiber meal, scientists classify it as grain. The fact that it is eaten as cereal grains further cements this idea. Even though quinoa has been around for over 7,000 years, debates on whether it is a seed or a grain continue to date.
6. You Can Feed Babies with Quinoa
Omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, protein, and B vitamins constitute the nutrients that quinoa possesses. The named minerals are suitable for a child’s growth, immunity, and energy, making quinoa a perfect meal for babies.
7. Quinoa is Perfect for People Living with Diabetes
Quinoa is gluten-free, has low sugar levels, and has plenty of fiber. This is important and beneficial for someone with diabetes or at risk of having the sickness. Quinoa ranks in the same category as brown rice and steel-cut oats when serving people with diabetes.
8. You Can Take Quinoa Daily
Quinoa is probably one of the few foods in the world that you can consume daily without reporting any adverse side effects. This makes it a perfect option, especially when you struggle to decide what to have for your next meal.
9. Soak Quinoa Overnight to Remove Bitterness
Those who soak quinoa in water overnight say it helps lower its phytic acid content (one that makes it bitter). In some cases, the water might remove saponin, the natural quinoa coating, leaving you with only the nutritious parts to eat.