The Properties and Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa is a food with remarkable properties and health benefits. It can help to lose weight, slow down aging and reduce cholesterol. It's also suitable for celiacs.
The Properties and Benefits of Quinoa

Last update: 02 April, 2023

In recent years, traditional diets have given way to foods such as quinoa, a seed that has outstanding properties and health benefits. It’s native to Lake Titicaca, which stretches between the border of Peru and Bolivia, and has been the main food of Andean communities for 5,000 years. Find out about the benefits of quinoa in this article.

The massification has meant that the plant it comes from is now being cultivated in various parts of the world, especially between southern Colombia and northern Chile. The most consumed is white quinoa, but there’s also red and black. They not only vary in flavor, but in the concentration of some vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

This food, recognized by the United Nations Organization for its potential, contains the nine essential amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins that make it an anti-inflammatory, healing, and analgesic aid.

Properties and health benefits of quinoa

There are many health benefits of quinoa. It can be found in seed and flour form. It’s even possible to identify cosmetic products, such as exfoliating creams made with saponins, that is, the glycosides of steroids or triterpenoids present in quinoa.

Salad with quinoa.
The inclusion of quinoa in recipes allows for versatility when added to other dishes.

Could fight degenerative diseases

Quinoa has pigments known as betalains, which have high antioxidant value. These phytopharmaceuticals can support the treatment of degenerative diseases.

The way in which quinoa flavonoids can strengthen the nervous system has also been studied, to the point of protecting it from pathologies such as Alzheimer’s. Flavonoids are a compound of phenols that also give this food antiallergic and antioxidant properties.

Complements the diet of people with hypothyroidism

Any interruption in the functioning of the thyroid gland can trigger problems such as hypothyroidism. This disease occurs when there’s a decrease in the secretion of thyroid hormones, which decreases the basal metabolism and generates symptoms such as fatigue and menstrual disorders.

Studies have found that the consumption of quinoa can contribute to improving the quality of life of people suffering from this disease. This is since the seed provides essential amino acids and various nutrients.

Keeps the cardiovascular system healthy

Quinoa contains polyunsaturated fatty acids that have a positive impact on cardiovascular disease. The presence of amino acids such as proline and aspartic acid reduce the risk of suffering from it.

On the other hand, this preventive action is also related to the presence of polyphenols and flavonoids that quinoa has. These compounds have antioxidant and lipid-lowering properties, which help protect the body’s cells from oxidative damage.

It contains high levels of protein

Protein is made up of amino acids. There are 20 of these molecules in total and each of them has independent functions. There are nine essential ones and it’s essential that they enter through food, since the body cannot produce them by itself.

Thus, quinoa is considered a complete protein. It contains more protein than any other cereal and is a good option to replace animal protein in vegetarian and vegan diets.

Controls blood sugar levels

Some foods have a fairly high glycemic index which contributes to raising blood sugar levels. Therefore, they also stimulate the feeling of hunger and favor the development of obesity. People with diabetes, for example, should be especially careful with this measure.

Having a low glycemic index of only 53, quinoa is a food that’s very beneficial for keeping blood sugar levels under control. It benefits patients with prediabetes, type 1 and 2 diabetes. Although it has a high concentration of carbohydrates, its mixture of protein and fiber reduces possible adverse effects.

Helps you to lose weight

Quinoa contributes to weight loss in different ways. We can start from the way in which the concentration of protein decreases hunger and helps to speed up metabolism. On the other hand, the fiber it has increases the feeling of satiety.

These two characteristics, added to a healthy lifestyle that includes other healthy foods and an exercise routine, will undoubtedly contribute to losing weight.

Regulates cholesterol

Quinoa favors the body’s lipid profile due to its unsaturated lipid content. In this way, blood cholesterol levels are reduced. Likewise, studies have shown that the soluble fiber it contains also helps to reduce circulating fats.

A source of antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that prevent the adverse effects of free radicals. Among its major actions, they slow down aging and other diseases related to oxidative stress. Quinoa is one of the Andean cereals with the highest concentration of antioxidants. Another of the most outstanding benefits of these substances is the stimulation of the immune system.

Quinoa for diabetes.
Quinoa’s low glycemic index helps control blood sugar levels.

Suitable for celiacs

Celiac disease is a condition that prevents those who suffer from consuming gluten-containing foods, as they risk damaging their small intestine. Quinoa, unlike other cereals, is a food suitable for celiacs.

It’s a good option to ensure that those who suffer from this disease don’t have to give up preparations such as bread and pasta. In fact, studies have determined that replacing traditional foods with quinoa improves the nutritional profile of celiac patients.

Quinoa: a versatile food to include in the diet

As we mentioned in the article, quinoa is found in seeds and flour. In this way, its use in different preparations is facilitated. With it, you can prepare bakery products, desserts, and drinks. You can also substitute garnishes, such as rice.

For this reason, quinoa is considered a very versatile superfood and easy to include in a balanced diet. So much so that NASA has considered it an ideal product to take into outer space. Not only because of its amount of nutrients and easy preparation, but also because it’s very easy to grow.

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