Quinoa is a food that has suffered many prejudices throughout history. It is an edible seed that has existed for thousands of years in South America, and is the oldest seed on record.
Origin of quinoa
This food originated in the Andean region, having been part of the civilizations that developed around the Andres mountain range, from Colombia to the Atacama Desert.
Known as Inca wheat, this grain, rich in protein, fiber, and magnesium, was constantly used as a meal base for indigenous peoples in soups, breads, and drinks.
With the arrival of Spanish colonization, this pseudo-cereal became less consumed due to changes in eating habits brought by the colonizers. Quinoa is now being replaced by wheat and barley. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the positive characteristics of this food began to be rediscovered through government-supported studies.
Benefits of quinoa
But why should we invest in this undervalued food after all? According to the United Nations General Assembly, quinoa has high levels of vitamins and minerals, including:
- B-complex vitamins;
- E complex vitamins;
- Amino acids.
The other advantages of this food are its multiple benefits:
- Muscle strengthening, due to the presence of protein that enhances muscle development;
- Glucose reduction. Rich in fiber, quinoa causes glucose to be released into the blood more slowly, preventing glycemic spikes and regulating blood sugar levels;
- Improved immune system. Quinoa has vitamins C and E that act on the body’s defense system, protecting it against diseases;
- It promotes the prevention of bone diseases, due to the presence of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Types of quinoa
White Quinoa – has the most delicate flavor and the lowest calorie content, is larger in size and softer compared to red quinoa and black quinoa. It has more starch, and is more suitable for recipes for pastries and hamburgers.
Black Quinoa – has a stronger and more pronounced flavor and is stiffer and has more crunchiness. It is suitable for creamier dishes, in order to create some contrast.
Red Quinoa – can be combined with nuts or used in salads. It has a nut-like flavor, contains less fat, and is higher in carbohydrates, generating more energy and stamina.
How to make quinoa
First of all, you should wash this grain very well under running water to remove the protective layer, known as saponin, which has a bitter taste. After this process put all the seeds in a sieve and drain off the water.
To cook the quinoa, pay attention to the amount of water so that the grain does not cook for too long. The best way to cook quinoa well is to use one cup of quinoa to two cups of water. Cover the pan and then let the quinoa cook for 15 minutes.
After cooking remove the excess water: the grain should have a clear, almost transparent appearance. After removing the water, cover the pot and let it sit for 15 minutes. The resting process will make the grain softer and lighter.
Ways to consume quinoa
We have already seen here that quinoa is a great ally to health, but how can we include this rich grain in our diet? You can use quinoa in a variety of ways:
- With yogurt;
- Quinoa flakes can be used in fruits;
- Quinoa flour and flakes can be used in breads, cakes, pies, cookies, and burgers.
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