Quinoa is a grain crop that is grown for its edible seeds. It is pronounced KEEN-wah. It technically isn’t a cereal grain, but a pseudo-cereal. In other words, it is basically a “seed” which is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain.
Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants. It contains large amounts of flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol. These are potent plant antioxidants with numerous health benefits.
Quinoa is much higher in fiber than most grains, with one source finding 17-27 grams of fiber per cup. It is also naturally free of gluten and using it instead of typical gluten-free ingredients can increase the antioxidant and nutrient value of a gluten-free diet.
Quinoa comes in 3 colors – cream, black and red. Quinoa is coated with saponins, which gives it a bitter taste. Wash it well before cooking. Mix all the colors for a nuttier taste!
One of the biggest benefits of sprouting grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds is that it helps to decrease the presence of anti-nutrients like phytic acid. According to experts from the Weston A. Price Foundation:
“Phytic acid or phytate (in its salt form) locks up calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc and can stunt growth. Phytate can lock up 80 percent of phosphorous, cause calcium excretion; inhibit zinc absorption by 80 percent and magnesium by 40 percent. Anemia, bone loss and a host of health conditions can result from deficiencies of these minerals.”
Sprouting grains, legumes, beans, and seeds increases the availability of calcium, iron, and zinc, plus it reduces polyphenol, lectin, and tannin content by an average of 50 percent!