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Is Quinoa Good For Weight Loss? Here Is All You Need To Know

Quinoa is touted as a pseudo-cereal, so it has seeds that can be milled and ground into flour, similar to other grains and cereals. Pseudo-cereals are not grasses, yet they can still be ground into flour.

Quinoa boasts of all the properties of a wholegrain and can be consumed whole without any processing or refining and without losing any of its fibre content or nutritional benefits.

For a food product that has been around for over 5000 years, there cannot be enough said! For centuries, Quinoa has been a very important crop in the regions of Peru, Bolivia, Northern Chile and the Andean cultures of present-day Colombia and Ecuador. Quinoa played an important role in the legendary Inca Empire’s agriculture, where each year, in a documented ceremony, the emperor planted the first seeds.

In the 1500s, Spanish explorers saw widespread cultivation of quinoa throughout the Andes and some tried to bring the seeds to Europe. The seeds died in transport, and in an effort to destroy local cultures, the Spanish attempted to end the cultivation of quinoa. As a result, quinoa production saw a massive decline during the next few centuries. In the 1970s, quinoa began to experience a resurgence and today, the cultivation of quinoa has reached highly advanced levels. The interest in healthy and wholesome eating is continuously on the rise around the world, and this will continue to fuel the demand for healthy alternatives like Quinoa, which continues to top the list in the organic food products online market.

Health Benefits of Quinoa

While there are many varieties of Quinoa that are cultivated, only a small handful have made it to the mainstream market - white, red, and black quinoa being prominent ones.

The choices depend largely on ways of consumption, and the recipes for soups, salads, or flour making. Whatever the recipe, one should always buy certified organic quinoa from a trusted brand like JIWA to extract maximum benefit from them.

The USDA recommends that at least half of the grains in everyday meals should be whole grains. Refined grains have most of the fibre, iron, and vitamins stripped off during processing. Most whole grains, quinoa included, contain a load of vitamins, fibre and minerals to make every meal more fulfilling. Including whole grains in your diet can also help lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Quinoa and quinoa flour are good sources of Folate, Iron, Thiamine, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc and other trace elements.

Just half a cup of cooked quinoa contains:

  • Calories: 111
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 20 grams
  • Fibre: 3 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
Quinoa is one of the only plant based foods that is considered to be a complete protein, with each essential amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins that make the muscles, bones, skin, and blood. Nine of them are classified as essential and must be obtained from food daily as the body cannot produce or store them.

It also has a high protein to carbohydrate ratio compared to other grains. Due to the high protein content, it is a great choice for vegetarians and those on a gluten-free diet.

Most gluten-free foods are made with potato, rice etc and are not complete in their nutritional profile. Quinoa makes for a great wheat replacement without losing the nutritional density of your meals.

This is another reason why quinoa is gaining more popularity amongst weight watchers. Those trying to shed some kilos have seen better results when they have replaced wheat-based or gluten products with quinoa for weight loss.

With its complex carbohydrates, quinoa also benefits the weight loss process. Its low glycemic index helps long-term weight management. Beat this - quinoa is so nutritious that NASA uses it to feed astronauts on long space missions! Does it get any better than this?

How Quinoa Helps In Weight Loss?

Rich dietary fibre and protein increase metabolism, and that makes quinoa good for weight loss. Cooked Quinoa contains five grams of dietary fibre per cup. Eating high fibre foods is often the missing piece when a person is trying to shed weight. The dietary fibre also keeps the feeling of satiety longer and so you tend to eat lesser and feel more full. Also, you are less likely to overeat at meals or snack between meals and thus avoid empty calories.

Another important contribution for fibre is that it is digested very slowly by the body and provides a slow release of energy over time, so you are unlikely to get a blood sugar rush (which helps support blood sugar management). Dietary fibre also adds bulk to the stool which regularises bowel movements and helps those who suffer from constipation. This also aids weight loss and better health in general.

Fibre found in quinoa also promotes healthy bacteria growth in the gut, which can influence weight loss. The bacteria present in the gut can actually help or prevent you from losing weight. Plant foods like quinoa assist in growth of those bacteria that help you lose weight.

Quinoa also leads to weight loss with its high protein content, which reduces food cravings and thus the calorie intake overall. Quinoa contains eight grams of protein per cooked cup and all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Protein is important to have with each meal and mid meal, as it requires extra calories to digest and process. So, in the process of consuming more protein, your body uses up calories, and boosts the weight loss process.

Swapping traditional grains like wheat and rice with quinoa could be a minor change but it is sure to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Vegetarians are always on the lookout for protein rich plant-based foods, and foods that will contain all necessary nutrients. This is where quinoa helps in weight loss and in filling up the nutrition deficit. For the bulk in quinoa, it packs a whole punch of calories. According to nutritionists and researchers, “more volume = more satiety + resultant weight loss”.

Being loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially a high level of manganese also make quinoa good for weight loss. Manganese supports bone health, reduces inflammation and lowers the risk of disease thanks to its high dose of antioxidant power. It also plays a role in hormone health, especially the thyroid function. People not consuming enough manganese in their diets may be at risk of hypothyroidism, which can cause a hormone imbalance and weight gain over time. Manganese is also linked to lower levels of abdominal obesity.

Quinoa also has a low glycemic index (GI), which makes it safe for individuals with diabetes as it helps control the blood sugar level.

Therefore, quinoa is an excellent choice for weight-conscious people, for it helps curb appetite and also adds a nice texture to food.

Cooking Quinoa For Weight Loss

Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin which is bitter in taste. The grains need to be rinsed well and soaked to remove this and to cook quinoa perfectly.

Cooked quinoa has a nutty taste that adds a whole new dimension to salads, stir fry vegetables, or even on crusts for bakes.

A great way to add this healthy grain to your diet is to use it in the ground form, as quinoa flour. You can easily buy quinoa flour online and use this nutritious replacement for wheat in baked goods like cakes, breads, cookies, pancakes, etc.

The ease of cooking and dishing out wonderful meals makes quinoa a grain to watch out for as it replaces rice, pasta and other starchy foods really well in recipes. For those who do heavy workouts and prefer vegetarian meals, the protein in quinoa helps in muscle building and strength.

A great addition to salads, soups, or even biryani, quinoa can be cooked in under 15 minutes and that it fulfils all nutritional benefits is just the icing on the cake!

It can be flavoured up easily by adding a variety of herbs and spices, or cooking it in low-sodium vegetable stock for additional flavour. To consume quinoa for weight loss, you can cook it into a sweet breakfast porridge with chia seeds, milk and fruit on top. Quinoa can also be popped like popcorn in a pan. Add some seasoning and enjoy it as a snack, or make your own granola or chiwda using popped quinoa.

Long story short, whichever the variety - white, red, black or multi-coloured - quinoa helps in weight loss in innumerable ways and is an interesting addition to your everyday diet with the many recipes you can make with it!

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