Posted by Eric Hofmann on Sunday, July 21, 2013 Under: Health and Fitness blog

This week I will explore another fun-food, that from time to time is lost in are ever growing markets of food's and super markets. However, Quinoa sometimes picks up some steam in the health & fitness world. Sometimes referred to as the "gold of Incas," quinoa is one of nature's most impressive foods. This golden seed is coveted for its high nutrient value and filling quality, expanding three to four times its volume when cooked. It makes a healthy, hearty addition to any meal. Quinoa, high in protein and gluten-free, quinoa may just become your new favorite whole grain!

Quinoa pronounced KEEN-wah has a subtly sweet, yet nutty, flavor and a piquant aftertaste. It is listed as a grain, quinoa is actually the seed of Chenopodium - commonly known as goosefoot plants, which are related to Swiss chard and spinach. There are over 120 species of Chenopodium, all native to the Andes mountains of South America, but farmers there cultivate only three main varieties: blond or pale seeds, called white or sweet quinoa; a fruity variety called red quinoa; and the regal-looking black quinoa. Quinoa also has a unique texture. When cooked, the outer germ around each kernel twists outward, forming a spiral. The spiral remains crunchy while the kernel becomes soft and springy. 

Boasting an almost perfect balance of all nine essential amino acids, quinoa is considered a complete protein. Higher in protein and unsaturated fats, and lower in carbohydrates than most grains, quinoa provides an abundance of manganese, calcium, fiber, iron, and magnesium, as well as vitamins B and E. It's also gluten-free. Quinoa can be useful for people who suffer from migraine headaches or hypertension, because magnesium helps relax blood vessels. Studies also have shown that diets high in whole grains like quinoa, which is rich in phytonutrients, can improve cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women and protect premenopausal women against breast cancer. In both men and women, whole grains can help reduce the risk of heart disease, some cancers, type 2diabetes and, when combined with fish, childhood asthma.

Quinoa's light and fluffy texture makes it an ideal choice to accompany meals throughout the year. To cook, combine a ratio of two parts cooling liquid to one part washed quinoa and simmer until grains are translucent. It cooks very quickly - about 15 minutes. 
  • Substitute quinoa for rice, past or hot cereal to create a healthy and appealing recipe alternative.
  • Stir cooked quinoa into your favorite pancake and waffle batter to add a boost of nutrients and a slightly nutty flavor.
  • Add cooked quinoa to salads, stir-fries, casseroles and soups.
  • Use steamed quinoa instead of brown rice for fried rice.
  • In baking, use quinoa flour for a portion of all-purpose flour in your favorite cookies or muffins. If the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, use 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup quinoa flour. The quinoa will add a slightly nutty flavor and aroma.
  • For a robust nutty flavor, brown quinoa in a dry skillet for about five minutes before adding cooking liquids.

Store uncooked quinoa in an airtight container. If refrigerated, it can be stored for up to six months. Wash quinoa before cooking by placing it in a fine strainer and swishing thoroughly with cold water. This will remove any residue of saponins, which are naturally occurring, bitter-tasting defensive compounds that protect quinoa from birds and insects and act as a shield from the intense radiation of high-altitude sunlight. Avoid soaking it as it can add saponins within the seed. 

As always, if you have any questions in regards to health and fitness or are looking to develop your fitness program and nutritional education. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly by visiting out site at www.goPT1.com or shoot a tweet @PT_Train or check us out on facebook at www.facebook.com/PerformanceTrain

Next week we will have a guest-writer posting a Health & fitness tip to our blog. His name is Dylan Prichard he is a personal trainer and fitness model currently working out of the Minneapolis/St.Paul area. You can view more information on Dylan by visiting his facebook page at: www.facebook.com/prichtraining

Have a great week!

In : Health and Fitness blog 

Tags: quinoa 
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