First things first: Do you know how to actually say the word quinoa?
The correct answer is… wait for it… KEEN-wah. (Don’t believe me? The receipts come courtesy of my good friend, Merriam-Webster.)
But no matter how you’ve been pronouncing the word, I hope you’ve been eating the gluten-free ancient grain, because it comes with a ton of health benefits.
1. Quinoa is packed with protein
Quinoa has way more of the muscle-building nutrient than most of the grain options you’ll find at the supermarket. Added bonus: It’s a "complete" protein, meaning it contains all the nine essential amino acids your body needs (most plant-based proteins only have some of those key amino acids).
“Incorporating just one cup of quinoa a day into something like a grain bowl with other veggies or adding it to homemade soup will add 8g of protein,” says nutritionist Maggie Michalczyk.
2. …And fibre
You’ll get 5g of the filling nutrient per each one-cup serving. “Most people aren’t meeting the daily recommended amount of fibre, so cooking with quinoa is a great way to get more,” says Michalczyk.
That fibre won’t just keep you, uh, regular, either. Since quinoa is low in fat and sugar and contains complex carbs, you’ll feel full without a ton of bloat to weigh you down.
3. Quinoa may help keep you at a healthy weight
We’ve talked about how that protein plus fibre combo is super-satisfying – especially great if you’re trying to lose a few kilos, says Michalczyk.
Research also backs up a link between quinoa consumption and a lower risk of obesity.
Read more: Red quinoa and chickpea salad
4. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, if that’s your thing
If you have coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, you don’t have to suffer through pasta envy anymore – quinoa is a legit way to indulge your carb habit (way better than corn or rice flour, which don’t have as much nutritional value, says Michalczyk).
5. …And it totally has you covered in the vitamins and minerals department
Speaking of vitamins and minerals, quinoa comes with a dose of iron and magnesium. “Magnesium is important for muscle contraction and relaxation, as well as bone health, and iron is extremely important for your red blood cells because it helps to carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body,” says Michalczyk.
She recommends soaking quinoa in water before you cook it so your body can absorb even more of these key nutrients.
6. Quinoa may even help regulate your blood sugar levels
Good news for your ticker: “Quinoa has a low glycaemic index, which is a measure of how quickly a food will raise your blood sugar,” says Michalczyk. And regular blood-sugar levels equal a lower risk for scary conditions like heart disease and diabetes, she explains.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com
Image credit: iStock