What is Quinoa?


Img Ref: www.ancientgrains.com

Pronounced as KEEN-WAH, named as “Super Crop” by United Nations as it would substitute the regular rice and cereals and act as a remedy to reduce the world’s hunger for food. This crop has been one of the major cultivations along with other crops in South America for several thousands of years.

This Pseudo-Cereal is treated as a sacred crop and called as “Mother of all Grains” by the Incan Empire as they would first plant the quinoa seed every year followed with a ceremony.

Quinoa is a cereal grain and comes from the goosefoot family as they botanically appear like beetroot, spinach and amaranth. Apart from the quinoa seed, their leaves can also be eaten like spinach or amaranth.

Why Quinoa?

According to Rome based Biodiversity International organization, our ancestors has added 30,000 edible plants species to our food subjecting themselves to the various diseases and death; out of which 7000 plant species are used as per human history and no more than 150 plant species are cultivated around the world.

“Now 60% of the world’s human energy supply is obtained by consuming – rice, maize, wheat and potato making the food choice more narrower and narrower” said Srinivasa K. Rao Ph.D, founder of Indian Institute of Biotechnology Pvt Ltd.

One of the underutilized species is Chennopidium Quinoa, known as Quinoa grain. Not only Quinoa has the nutritive benefits because of its food qualities it does not demand much soil fertility, water or labor.

This not only boosts the food security but also empowers the economic growth of the farmers and the country.

Quinoa Nutritional Facts:

Few of the following facts may motivate you to consider Quinoa.

1. Proteins: A human body needs 10 essential amino acids and because of its high protein content Quinoa can supply over 180% of the daily recommended intake of these essential acids.

2. Carbohydrates and Fiber: Quinoa’s fiber content helps Improves the insulin formation and thereby improves the digestive system of human body.

3. Vitamins: Eating Quinoa grain helps improve the vision, cell growth because of its rich in Vitamin A, B, C and E.

4. Minerals: Quinoa has enough minerals like Copper, Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Phosphorous, Calcium and magnesium than compared to rice.

5. Photoecdysteroids: Help reduce stress and build muscle.

6. Glycine betaine: An amino acid useful for treating the diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.

Source: Quinoa Nutrition & Health Benefits by Srinivasa K. Rao Ph.D, Prakash V. Diwan Ph.D, T. Longvah Ph.D