Quinoa has been garnering a lot of media attention particularly from health buffs and wellness gurus. It is continuously acknowledged as a healthy grain that can provide all the protein needs of the body.
The good news is that we can answer the question, “Is quinoa a complete protein?”, with a resounding “yes”! In fact, quinoa is one of the few grains that claim to be a complete protein. Plant-based food items usually do not have a lot of protein in them and while quinoa cannot really match the protein content in meats, it can definitely make up for it for being a complete protein despite it being whole grain and even if it is plant-based. As a point of comparison, a serving of chicken contains 25 grams of protein while a serving of quinoa only has four (4) grams. Compared to other grains though, Quinoa performs better than most with one (1) cup of quinoa providing eight (8) grams of protein compared to brown rice with just five (5).
On top of this, one can say that Quinoa is indeed a special kind of whole grain as it is a complete protein because unlike other grains or plant-based food items, Quinoa contains the amino acid lysine along with the other eight (8) amino acids that are essential to maintain the body’s health and wellness. One should not just look at the protein benefits of Quinoa though as it has many other advantages and health benefits. Read on to know more about them!
The Health Benefits of Quinoa
Quinoa has numerous health benefits recognized since the time of the Incas. They considered it their “gold” as the Incas believed that quinoa can enhance the stamina of their warriors. Some organizations have even labelled quinoa as the “Supergrain of the Future”. It should actually come as no surprise since Quinoa does indeed have some very beneficial health advantages and below are some of them:
1. Quinoa is highly nutritious
Supporting our claim that Quinoa is indeed a complete protein, this first entry in the list actually covers the majority of the nutritional content of Quinoa. As stated earlier, Quinoa has eight (8) grams of protein, five (5) grams of fiber, 58% manganese recommended daily allowance (RDA), 30% Magnesium RDA, 28% Phosphorus RDA, 19% Folate RDA, 18% Copper RDA, 15% Iron RDA, 13% Zinc RDA, 9% Potassium RDA, over 10% for the RDAs of Vitamins B1, B2 and B6 and some calcium, B3 (Niacin) and Vitamin E. Quinoa is indeed a highly nutritious food item and whole grain and should seriously be considered by people who want focus on getting healthy without eating too much red meat. The abovementioned nutrients coupled with the complete protein of Quinoa is sure a combination to beat when it comes to health and wellness
2. Quinoa is high in fiber compared to other grains
Quinoa has a high fiber content when compared to other whole grains. On average, a cup of quinoa contains 17-27 grams of fiber, twice as much fiber when compared to other grains. The soluble fiber level in quinoa is also quite acceptable at around 1.5 grams per 100 grams. Soluble fiber, in turn, can help the body in terms of lowering sugar levels, decreasing cholesterol levels, improving satiety and helping individuals lose weight.
3. Quinoa can help keep blood healthy
The Iron content of Quinoa can help in keeping our blood healthy through the formation of hemoglobin. Healthy blood also translates to better circulation and distribution of the much needed oxygen to the different organs.
4. Quinoa can help in tissue growth and repair
Due to quinoa being a complete protein and containing lysine, this whole grain food can actually help the body repair and speed up tissue growth and development. Quinoa is actually the only grain that contains this specific amino acid. Its rich protein content may also be a major factor in tissue growth and repair.
5. Quinoa can help prevent Osteoporosis
Bone health is an issue not just for the old but also for all people from all walks of life. Quinoa is magnesium rich and can stimulate bone health. It is also rich in protein which helps in the development bones. Studies have even shown that a combination of magnesium and manganese can actually help fight against osteporosis.
6. Quinoa may improve heart health
The soluble fiber in quinoa can help improve heart health. These soluble fibers can help with the production of bile by the liver. With this, more cholesterol gets absorbed by the liver and eventually excreted from the system. In addition, Quinoa soluble fiber can significantly lower cholesterol and helps the prevention of the hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis). Flexible arteries translate to better heart health and improved blood circulation,
7. Quinoa can aid improved skin health
Quinoa also contains various vitamins such as Vitamin B12, B3 and Vitamin A. These vitamins can help lessen skin damage and even make skin healthier. Vitamin B12 helps in improving the skin complexion while Vitamin B3 Helps fight against Acne. On the other hand, Vitamin A can help in decreasing the speed of the skin’s aging process and help reduce the face’s skin lines brought about aging.
8. Quinoa can help fight against inflammation
Butyrate is produced by the fibers in quinoa and this in turn can help shut down the genes that cause inflammation. On top of this, the B vitamins in quinoa can significantly reduce the inflammatory hormone homocysteine in the body.
9. Quinoa has been shown to fight against cancer
A number of studies from the United States and Poland showed a positive correlation between the regular consumption of quinoa and a decrease in the symptoms of cancer. Quinoa, in fact, has been shown to decrease the chances of premature death due to cancer. Plus, it can help fight cancer-causing free radicals.
While Quinoa may primarily be associated with protein and fiber, there are other health benefits offered by this super whole grain. Individuals who wish to be healthier while at the same time cutting down on meat products may look into the advantages being offered by Quinoa.