Why Quinoa Is Healthy: 5 Benefits That Make It A Superfood

Quinoa has enjoyed a spot among the trendy and often-recommended superfoods in the world of nutrition. But what exactly do they bring to the table?

The grain, pronounced "keen-wah," is packed with a surprisingly high amount of nutrients and can make a perfect addition to almost everyone's plate, even those who follow restricted diets. Here are a few of their benefits you should know about.

1. Naturally gluten-free

Quinoa can safely be included in the diets of patients with celiac disease i.e. people who cannot consume gluten. Small studies have demonstrated that 50 grams of quinoa can be safe for daily consumption.

The grain also comes packed with high fiber content, estimated as 17 to 27 grams per cup depending on the variety. As Coeliac UK notes, people who have to follow a gluten-free diet usually struggle to consume enough dietary sources of fiber, making this a recommended addition.

2. Vegan protein source

A single cup serving of quinoa can provide you with nearly 8 grams of protein. In fact, it is one of the rare plants that contains 18 amino acids, thus considered to be a complete protein. Essential amino acids are typically only found in dietary sources like meat and eggs. In other words, quinoa can be an important protein source for vegetarians and vegans in particular.

3. Reduced oxidative stress

In a 2015 review which explored the physiological effects of consuming quinoa, findings suggested a decrease in weight gain, improvements in lipid profile, and a better capacity to respond to oxidative stress.

"This suggests that compounds present within the quinoa seed can regenerate antioxidants, which are capable of nullifying free radicals and thus protecting tissues from oxidative damage," said lead author Thomas Simnadis, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

4. Packs other nutrients

Aside from those mentioned above, quinoa is also regarded as an excellent source of magnesium, iron, manganese, and riboflavin (B2). These nutrients play important roles in improving and maintaining various functions within our body.

One study which examined the nutritional profile of the grain also shed light on its "unusual composition and exceptional balance between oil, protein and fat," labeling it as a good example of a functional food which could help in lowering the risk of various diseases.

5. Improved heart health

Quinoa is among the carbs that reduce your cholesterol levels, which has also been observed in animal studies. Besides this, heart health could also receive a boost from the monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids.

"You will get more benefits from eating quinoa than eating rice because in rice there is really no functional ingredients whereas in quinoa we know now that if you eat 50 grams of quinoa, which is four tablespoons, per day you have a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease," said Diana Navarro-Perez, a Ph.D. student and researcher at La Trobe University, Australia.