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¡Todo Sobre la Quinoa!

por | Last updated: 14 de May de 2022 | Published: 4 de May de 2022

Displaying white classic quinoa

All About Quinoa!

If you’ve been following the healthy eating trends, you’re probably heard a lot about quinoa. Like kale, and other superfoods that have got so much attention. Not only is the seed a super nutrient, but this seed is seriously versatile.

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a type of edible seed that is often called grain and comes in various colours. You will find red, orange,  black, yellow and white. After the seeds are harvested, they later undergo a processing method to remove the natural saponins (a chemical compound that is bitter-tasting and used to coat the exterior that acts as a natural pesticide.

The seed has become very popular in recent years. In the same way as flax seeds, chia seeds and soy, are all known as “superfoods”.

Where does it originate from?

Although it is usually considered a pseudocereal, it is a seed native to the Andes. A type of food that is very integrated into the diet of the inhabitants of this famous South American mountain range.

In European, quinoa had stopped being consumed for centuries due to superstitions but it is back on the scene.

Where can I buy Quinoa?

Nowadays because of its popularity, most supermarkets sell quinoa but you will find it in health food stores and various varieties too.

What is a pseudocereal? 

Pseudocereals are plants that produce seeds or fruit from which are used and consumed as grains, botanically pseudocereals are neither grasses nor true cereal grains. Pseudocereals are extremely high in protein and gluten-free and nutritionally they are considered whole grains. Whole grains include the entire grain seed without removing any of its parts.

What are Whole Grains?

Whole grains are the seeds of cereal plants. Whole grain kernels have had little removed in processing and contain three parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Each section has health-promoting nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fibre that might otherwise not be available after removing parts of the grain in the refining process.

The Bran  – is the tougher outer shell. This part contains B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iron.

The Germ –  is the inner part and is nutrient-rich. Contains B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium, phytonutrients and unsaturated fats.

The Endosperm –  is the starchy part of the grain which is made up of a little protein and carbohydrates.

Other nutritious grains other than quinoa include whole oats, brown rice, corn, whole bread and pasta, whole barley, whole grain rye, buckwheat, bulgur wheat, millet and spelt.


Some whole grains

Quinoa Properties

Although quinoa stands out against cereals for its high protein intake, it also has more fat and fibre and fewer carbohydrates. The grains are typically high in iron, magnesium, manganese, copper,  phosphorus, potassium,  phosphorus, B vitamins, selenium and dietary fibre.

Pure quinoa is gluten-free, making it safe for people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. However, that doesn’t mean that all products containing quinoa are gluten-free. It is important to read the labels carefully.

It is a nutritionally dense whole grain that gives a much higher amount of antioxidants than other common grains eaten on the gluten-free diet. It’s also one of the few plant foods that are considered a complete protein. That means it contains the nine essential amino acids that the body is unable to make alone.

Because it’s a complete protein, quinoa is great for filling you up.  It’s also an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans, who tend to fall behind in the protein department.

Quinoa contains twice the fibre of other grains like whole grain rice. Getting enough fibre helps with everything from relieving constipation to losing weight. Quinoa is also high in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and little antioxidants that might help with disease prevention and anti-ageing.

Another great benefit of consuming quinoa is that the calorie count won’t send you to the gym for hours upon hours eating it. Much of the calorie count in quinoa is derived from proteins and other nutrients. So in other words, you’re consuming calories that are good for you, rather than calories from overly processed foods that provide little to no nutritional value.

Which type to use

Quinoa has been one of the trendiest health foods over the past few years. Since then, it seems like there are lots of colourful options to choose from. Though the most common options for are white, red, and black, quinoa also comes in purple, orange, and rainbow, which is a combination of a lot of colours.

Red and white quinoa – both have the same wonderful nutritional benefits and are generally cooked the same way.

White  – has the shortest cook time, a mild nutty flavour, and is the chewiest of the three main colours.

Red – is slightly nuttier than white.

Black  – takes the longest to cook, has the strongest flavour, and is more coarse and crunchy.

What colour should I use?

When choosing which grain to use in your recipe, consider the flavour and texture of the dish you’re about to prepare. Many people like red quinoa for its colour, which contrasts beautifully with salads, and also for its nice, mild nutty flavour, You might prefer the softer white variety when you want to combine it with a crunchy dish. Black quinoa is generally a recipe that specifically calls for it.

Any of these beautiful colourful options are great additions to any salad, grain bowl, or as an excellent source of protein.

Cooking With Quinoa

It is advised to rinse quinoa before you cook it. This removes the bitter coating, called saponin, that is found on these seeds.  It’s best to eat quinoa in moderation, as one cup provides 225 calories and 3.6 g of fat along with its high-quality protein.

As it has become popular it should be easy to find it in most grocery stores. Most health food stores sell both whole grain and flour.

Changing your oatmeal to quinoa, or adding a little to your rice is a great way to consume it.  You can add it to your favourite dish, or having it as a side dish will just give you that boost of protein and fibre your body needs!

The easiest way to enjoy quinoa is on its own. Cook it according to package instructions and use it as a side dish instead of rice or potatoes. Quinoa naturally has a rich, nutty flavour, so it can stand on its own.

Cooking quinoa on the stove takes about 15- 20 minutes. To cook the whole grain, use one part quinoa and two parts liquid, bring to a boil and cook covered in a pot until the liquid has been absorbed.

One cup of dry quinoa yields approximately 3 cups cooked. To up the flavour, try cooking it in a vegetable broth instead of water. Cook your quinoa uncovered to avoid the soggy lumps.

Can I eat raw Quinoa?

Raw quinoa cannot be digested properly and its undigested starches are likely to cause gastrointestinal discomfort.  Raw quinoa is covered with saponin, a toxic soap-like substance that binds with minerals in food, preventing them from being absorbed. Therefore it is important to fully cook quinoa to benefit from its nutritional value.

Should I Purchase Organic Quinoa?

«Unless you like to buy all organic foods, quinoa probably isn’t the best way to spend your organic food budget. The good news is that quinoa in its raw form is non-GMO.


What do we mean by Organic?

When we talk about organic farming we refer to the earth’s natural resources for sustainability. It emphasises the appropriate land management and aims to ecologically achieve the balance between the natural environment, food crops and animal life. Organic farmers do not use pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified foods, hormones or growth promoters.

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