Quinoa has been selected a “super crop” by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, because of it high dietary content and status as an absolute protein, containing all nine necessary amino acids.
Like buckwheat and amaranth, quinoa is a pseudo-cereal: Even though you can cook it as you would any grain, it’s strictly the stiff fruit-seed of an herb. Quinoa plants are connected to spinach, chard and beet plants.
Quinoa originated around 5,000 years ago in the Andes district of what is now Peru, Chile and Bolivia. It was a food of a lot of pre-Colombian civilizations, including the Inca, who considered it as the “mother seed” due to its nutritive properties and its capability to flourish in harsh climates.
Quinoa grows in a diversity of conditions that are harsh to grains and other crops. It flourishes in elevated altitudes, on dry land and in soil with high concentrations of clay, sand and salt.
The about 120 species of the quinoa plant are more classified into 1,800 diverse varieties, which are categorized by their chosen climate. Different types of quinoa produce in between 6,500 and 12,000 feet above sea level in the inter-Andean valleys, at sea level in southern Chile, 12,500 feet above sea level in the area around Lake Titicaca, in the Bolivian salt flats, and in the subtropical areas of Bolivia.
Depending on where it’s developed, quinoa seeds array in color from black to red, yellow, purple, gray, pink, green or orange — or any blend in between.
Two main types of quinoa are usually available in the United States — conventional quinoa, which is soft ivory, and Inca red quinoa, which is shady red. Traditional quinoa is tastier than the red selection; however red quinoa is higher in a lot of nutrients.
A quarter-cup of traditional quinoa has almost 166 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fat, and 5 grams of protein. The same quantity of red quinoa contains somewhat more protein and a higher proportion of calcium, phosphorus, iron and riboflavin.
Aside from being wealthy in protein, manganese, iron, calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, copper, zinc vitamin E, and nutritional fiber, quinoa is also the least allergenic of all types of “grains,” according to “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.”
It’s both gluten and wheat free, so it’s a perfect option for sufferers of celiac illness or gluten intolerance. A high lysine content — something missing in most grains — is what makes it a total protein.