Quinoa. It sounds like one of those new buzzwords of the younger generation, the health freaks, the vegans, and other upwardly-mobile people. So what is it and why has it become so popular all of a sudden? Read on to find out…
Quinoa is a grain-like crop that has become popular worldwide due to its high nutritional value. It is technically not a grain but a seed, and it comes from a plant native to the Andes region of South America.
To make quinoa, the seeds are first rinsed thoroughly to remove their bitter outer coating. This process is called “de-saponification.” Once the seeds are cleaned, they are boiled or steamed, much like rice, until they are tender and the germ separates from the seed. The result is a fluffy, slightly nutty-tasting grain that can be used in a variety of dishes.
Quinoa is versatile and can be used in many ways. It can be served as a side dish, used as a base for salads, or used as an ingredient in soups, stews, and even desserts. It can also be ground into flour and used for baking.
The health benefits of quinoa are numerous. It is high in protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and potassium. It is also gluten-free, making it a good choice for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Additionally, quinoa has been linked to improved blood sugar control and heart health.
One potential drawback of quinoa is that it contains saponins, which are naturally occurring compounds that can be bitter and may cause digestive discomfort for some people. However, de-saponification removes most of these compounds, and most people can tolerate quinoa well. Additionally, some people may have an allergic reaction to quinoa, although this is rare.
Overall, quinoa is a nutritious and versatile food that can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet.