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Superfood Spotlight: Quinoa

Quinoa

This week's superfood is all about the protein. Quinoa, pronounced (KEEN-wah), has earned the status of "supergrain" because it contains more protein than any other grain. One 3.5 ounce serving of this power packing grain provides 14 grams of protein. The protein in quinoa is a complete protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. While it is not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa provides a protein alternative to the traditional meat and egg options. It is especially appealing to those trying to maintain a non-animal protein diet. This superfood is in the class of whole grains and is naturally gluten free.

It looks like a grain. It tastes like a grain. It's classified as a grain. But, it isn't really a true grain. It is actually the live seed of the dark green leafy plant called Quinoa. It is an extremely versatile food, easily adapted to recipes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Quinoa is a great option for a high protein breakfast that can be mixed with honey, nuts, or fruit. It is an easy substitute for rice, couscous, and pasta, making it perfect as a main dish or a side dish. Flour made from quinoa is popular for use in gluten-free baking.

Flexing its Nutritional Muscles

Quinoa cooks up like rice and has a mild, nutty flavor and fluffy texture. It is loaded with rich nutrients like iron, calcium, riboflavin, potassium, B6, niacin and thiamin. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber and gives you a feeling of fullness after eating it to help keep your appetite under control.

The benefits of adding quinoa to your diet cover a wide range of health areas. Its high fiber content makes it a key fighter against poor breast health. It has also been reported that it aids in fighting the symptoms of asthma. Because quinoa is a good source of magnesium, which helps relax blood vessels, it has been shown to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches and improves cardiovascular health.

Next time you go to reach for the oatmeal or couscous at the store, think about adding quinoa to your menu. Easily mixed with vegetables for a side dish, or served as a warm comforting breakfast, it adds incredible amounts of protein to your diet that your body needs. Make this superfood a household staple and give your protein a general health a power boost!

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