Scientific Name: Chenopodium quinoa
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) originates in the Andean region of South America. It was first used for livestock nearly 7,000 years ago and humans 4,000 years ago. The seeds are very small and flat. Depending on the cultivar, their colors range from white to red to black. Quinoa provides high amounts of protein (28% daily value [DV]), vitamins, and minerals such as iron (25% DV) and magnesium (49% DV). Therefore, it is a good source of nutrients for anyone who wants to add something healthy to their diet.
Quinoa is a naturally gluten-free food. Gluten-containing foods are not ideal for individuals who have celiac disease or are allergic to the gluten protein. Therefore, quinoa is a good choice to replace rye, wheat, barley, or other gluten-containing grains. Moreover, quinoa is rich in B vitamins, especially folate (46% DV). Folate is an important nutrient during pregnancy because it reduces birth defects.
Additionally, quinoa is a pseudocereal (not a true cereal grain) high in protein (28% DV), and contains many essential amino acids (the building blocks of our body). Quinoa is very useful for weight management, as it causes satiety (the feeling of being full). Quinoa is also rich in fiber (28% DV), which is necessary for reducing several health-related issues like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or constipation. Adding quinoa to one's diet instead of eating the same grain everyday can be beneficial. Quinoa can be used as an alternative to wheat pastas, or added to salads.