Hello, my brave fellows!

Ivan is with you and today I want to tell you about a quinoa!


The history of quinoa is clearly rooted in South America, in the Andes region that is currently divided up between the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Along with maize, quinoa was one of the two mainstay foods for the Inca Empire that had its start around 1200 AD. As previously mentioned in the Description section, quinoa was a food that could survive in a wide variety of growing conditions. Along with its unusual nutrient richness, its adaptability helped it gain popularity among the Incas for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Most quinoa consumed in the United States still comes from South America. Peru remains the largest commercial producer of quinoa, harvesting 41,079 metric tons in 2010. Bolivia was the second largest producer with 29,500 metric tons. Together, these two South American countries produced nearly 99% of all commercially grown quinoa in 2010. In terms of export sales, quinoa has risen to the level of an $87 million dollar business in these two countries.

Some commercial quinoa production takes place in the United States, although total cultivation remains under 10,000 pounds. The Colorado Rockies have been a place of special interest for quinoa production, and some production has also occurred in the states of California, Washington, and Oregon.

Interest in quinoa has recently spread to India (including the North-India Plains and high-altitude areas of the Himalayas), other parts of Asia (including Japan), as well as to Africa and part of Europe. Designation of the year 2013 as “The International Year of the Quinoa” by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) may also trigger greater attention to this food worldwide.


Because quinoa is typically consumed in the same way as the cereal grasses (wheat, oats, barley, and rye), we group it together with those foods on our website. However, quinoa is not a cereal grass at all, but rather a member of the same food family that contains spinach, Swiss chard, and beets. Many researchers refer to quinoa as a “pseudocereal.” This term is typically used to describe foods that are not grasses but can still be easily ground into flour. The scientific name for quinoa is Chenopodium quinoa.

Researchers date the popularity of quinoa to approximately 3000 BC, when its consumption became widespread in the Andes mountains regions of South America. About 250 different varieties of quinoa were already present at that time, giving quinoa a remarkable tolerance for different growing conditions. Quinoa is able to survive high altitudes, thin and cold air, hot sun, salty or sandy soil, little rainfall, and sub-freezing temperatures. In addition, all parts of the plant could be eaten, including not only the seeds that we buy in the store and that may also have been dried and ground into flour, but also the leaves and stems. Betacyanin pigments presemt in some quinoa leaves given them their bright reddish color, but it’s also possible to find orange, pink, purple, tan, and black quinoa as well. Quinoa leaves taste similar in flavor to the leaves of their fellow chenopods, namely, spinach, chard, and beets. Cooked quinoa seeds are fluffy and creamy, yet also slightly crunchy. They may also sometimes have an amazing translucent appearance. The flavor of the cooked seeds is delicate and somewhat nutty.

The word “quinoa” is pronounced “KEEN-wah.” It comes from the Spanish word, quinua, which itself comes from the word “kinwa” or “kinua” in the Quechua dialect.

Health Benefits

Perhaps the most striking health benefit provided by quinoa is its overall nutrient richness. When the nutrient composition of this food is analyzed in depth, the results are unusual and striking. While quinoa can be eaten in the same way as a grain, or ground into flour like is so commonly done with grains, it lacks some important nutritional shortcomings of grains.

One of the shortcomings overcome by quinoa involves its protein content. Most grains are considered to be inadequate as total protein sources because they lack adequate amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine. The relatively low level of both lysine and isoleucine in the protein of grains is what causes these amino acids to be considered as the limiting amino acids (LAAs) in grains. In other words, these LAAs prevent grains from serving as complete protein sources in our diet. By contrast, quinoa has significantly greater amounts of both lysine and isoleucine (especially lysine), and these greater amounts of lysine and isoleucine allow the protein in quinoa to serve as a complete protein source.

In terms of fat content, quinoa once again overcomes some of the shortcomings of most grains. Since it takes nearly 350 calories’ worth of whole wheat to provide 1 gram of fat, whole wheat is not generally regarded as a significant source of fat, including essential fatty acids or heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (like oleic acid). By contrast, since it only takes 63 calories’ worth of quinoa to provide 1 gram of fat, quinoa is typically considered to be a valuable source of certain health-supportive fats. About 28% of quinoa’s fatty acids come in the form of oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and about 5% come in the form of alpha-linolenic acid or ALA—the omega-3 fatty acid most commonly found in plants and associated with decreased risk of inflammation-related disease.

Neither quinoa nor any grains qualify as good vitamin E sources in our WHFoods rating system. However, in the case of quinoa, or rating system does not do full justice to the fact that quinoa contains significant amounts of certain tocopherols (vitamin E family members) largely absent from most grains. For example, one cup of quinoa provides 2.2 milligrams of gamma-tocopherol—a form of vitamin E that has been more closely associated with certain anti-inflammatory benefits in health research. Quinoa is also a good source of RDA nutrients like folate, zinc, and phosphorus in contrast to whole wheat, which does not qualify as a good source in our rating system.

Quinoa is an equally impressive food in terms of its overall phytonutrient benefits. In many Central and South American countries, the leaves of the quinoa plant are valued for their betacyanin pigments, which provide some of their bright reddish shades. But even the seeds themselves can be phytonutrient-rich and can provide significant amounts of antioxidants like ferulic, coumaric, hydroxybenzoic, and vanillic acid.

The antioxidant flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol are also especially plentiful in quinoa. In fact, the concentration of these two flavonoids in quinoa can sometimes be greater than their concentration of high-flavonoid berries like cranberry or lingonberry.

Considered in combination, these diverse nutrient benefits of quinoa give it uniqueness among grain-related foods. For us, this high overall level of nourishment provided by quinoa may qualify as its greatest health benefit.


Individual Concerns

Quinoa is not a commonly allergenic food. Because quinoa does not belong to the plant family containing wheat, oats, barley, and rye, it is also a gluten-free food. Some studies also show a higher-than-expected digestibility for quinoa, making it a food less likely to produce adverse reactions.

Nutritional Profile

Quinoa is food of high protein quality and is typically regarded as an adequate source of all essential amino acids, including lysine and isoleucine. It provides a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients, including ferulic, coumaric, hydroxybenzoic, and vanillic acid. Antioxidant flavonoids including quercetin and kaempferol are also especially plentiful in quinoa. Anti-inflammatory polysaccharides in quinoa include arabinans and rhamnogalacturonans. Many members of the vitamin E tocopherol family are provided by quinoa, including important amounts of gamma-tocopherol. Quinoa is a very good source of manganese. It is also a good source of phosphorus, copper, magnesium, dietary fiber, folate and zinc.

How to eat QUINOA to lose weight:)

To cook the quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of quinoa cooked in this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, you will notice that the grains have become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail. If you desire the quinoa to have a nuttier flavor, you can dry roast it before cooking; to dry roast, place it in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir constantly for five minutes.

Quinoa is a perfect food to include on a gluten-free diet, since it not only lacks gluten but doesn’t even belong to the same plant family as wheat, oats, barley, or rye. Some studies also show quinoa flour to have higher-than-expected digestibility. Both of these factors would be expected to decrease the risk of an adverse reaction to quinoa—especially in comparison to a cereal grass like wheat. While it is possible to make baked goods and pastas out of 100% quinoa flour, most companies combine quinoa flour with other flours (like tapioca flour or rice flour) or with oatmeal to produce a lighter texture. (Products made with 100% quinoa flour typically have a heavy and dense texture, sometimes referred to as “truffle-like.”) When combined with rice flour or tapioca flour, however, quinoa-based products definitely qualify as gluten-free and should help reduce risk of adverse reactions.

If you interested in adding quinoa in you diet plan, please check the great recipes here!


Thank you for reading the full post!

If you have any questions just ask via comments or write at ivan@howtoeattoloseweight.com



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *