Quinoa truly is a ‘super food’.
It’s high in protein, with roughly double the amount of protein that is found in rice. It’s Gluten free, GMO free, has a low GI and is a great source of dietary fibre. It also contains lots of minerals including calcium and magnesium, as well as antioxidants, vitamins and anti-inflammatory ‘phytonitrients’. We could go on but you get the picture.
It is also a complete protein.
Wondering what that means? In order to be considered “complete” a protein must contain all the amino acids the body can’t make on its own, there are nine of them, in roughly equal amounts. They are called essential amino acids. Only six plants in the world are considered a complete protein – quinoa, buckwheat, chia, hempseed, amaranth and soybeans.
An ancient and futuristic grain
Quinoa is not actually a grain but a pseudo-cereal closely related to beetroot and spinach. Originating in Peru and Bolivia, quinoa has been harvested by the Andean people for more than 4000 years. It was a sacred crop to the Incas who referred to it as ‘mother of all grains’.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation also recognised the incredible value of this plant and declared 2013 ‘The International Year of Quinoa’.
Quinoa is being considered by NASA as a potential crop to offer nutrition for astronauts on sustained spaceflight missions.