Known as an ancient grain, quinoa has been cultivated in South America for thousands of years. The traditional Incas acknowledged quinoa to be a ‘sacred’ food and often called it the ‘mother of all grains’. Well that’s for sure!
Quinoa is one of the most nutritious sources of complex carbohydrates, which play an integral part in energy production, the formulation of muscle and toning the body. However, quinoa provides an extra bonus where it is also a complete source of plant protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids that the body requires to build muscle. Lysine is the most abundant amino acids present in quinoa, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. It is also useful in the treatment of cold sores.
When compared to other complex carbohydrates and grains, quinoa provides more minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients including but not limited to calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese and copper. The high levels of magnesium present in quinoa help the body’s muscles and blood vessels to relax as well as detoxification, energy production, nerve impulse transmission and body temperature regulation. Magnesium also promotes healthy blood sugar levels, making it useful in the control of type 2 diabetes.
Quinoa is also a good source of fibre, which aids digestion as well as the elimination of toxins and cleanses the gastro-intestinal tract.
Quinoa is gluten free making it suitable for those, like myself, with allergies and intolerances.
Quinoa is high in riboflavin (vitamin B2), which is required for energy production within cells. It also improves energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells, which helps to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks for sufferers.
Quinoa is also a good source of iron, which helps in the cellular transportation of oxygen, muscle contractility, energy metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis and enzyme activity.