Quinoa is a bush with edible seeds. The seeds are a variety of different colours including white, red, black and blue.
Its scientific name is Chenopodium quinoa and it is a pseudocereal. It occurs naturally in South America. It has been cultivated by the Andean population for three to four thousand years and has been a key element of the diet of those living in the region for centuries. Now, quinoa is recognised internationally both for its nutritional value and for the large variety of ways in which it can be used. The white, red and black seeds are those that are most frequently seen on sale in shops.
The health benefits of quinoa come from its unique combination of nutrients. It is a rich source of thiamine, vitamin E, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid and niacin.
Quinoa is rich in minerals such as iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and copper and is high in protein (14%) and dietary fiber. It also has very low levels of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Finally, it has a low glycemic index (GI) which keeps blood sugar levels at normal levels, making it an ideal choice on menus for diabetics.
Indeed, the United Nations has classified it as a “golden food” and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has recognized it as a food of high nutritional value and impressive biodiversity.
What is it that makes quinoa so special?
Its nutritional profile is as follows:
A cup of cooked quinoa has 222 calories, 8 grams of protein, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber.
Nutritional analysis of the recipe