The gluten-free versatile “Grain of the Gods” known as Quinoa (over 100 types) was first grown in the Andes Mountains between 3,000 to 5,000 BC.   As a whole grain (unprocessed) Quinoa is more nutritionally-dense than corn, rice and wheat, and remarkably one of the only plant foods that supply all nine of the essential amino acids; those the body cannot produce – making quinoa a complete protein.  Quinoa is high in anti-oxidants that help fight aging.  Scientists are close to determining how effective Quinoa is in reducing the inflammations associated with Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel, Chron’s disease, and Asthma. A study in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that whole grain consumption can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Because Quinoa is higher in fiber, lipids, calcium, iron, copper, potassium, and zinc than other grains; consuming it also helps maintain a healthy gut which is vital in preventing obesity and inflammation.

One cup of cooked quinoa contains 222 calories, 39 grams of carbs and 3.4 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber and the vitamins B1, B2, B3, and E. The Relative Daily Allowance (RDA) of Manganese is 58%, Magnesium 30%, and Phosphorus 28%.

Thoroughly rinse and soak quinoa in cold water before cooking to reduce phytic acid content (interferes with mineral absorption) and saponins the outer coating that can leave a bitter taste.

Quinoa’s popularity has surged in the past decade.  As the impact of climate change continues, scientists are working to develop new hardier strains that are drought and heat resistant.  Growing nutrient-dense quinoa in large quantities with a reduced impact on the land and water supply will be more and more important since it could be one of the answers to world hunger.

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