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Eating quinoa will lower your bad cholesterol levels

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), quinoa was considered a sacred food by the Inca people, the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. These edible seeds have been gaining prominence in the last few years.

Dr Ushakiran Sisodia, Registered Dietician and Clinical Nutritionist, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai, said, “Quinoa is actually a nutritional powerhouse, which is slowly becoming an addition to the Indian diet.”

Eating quinoa during the monsoon is great for your health. Monsoon often sees a surge in infections and digestive issues in India. Quinoa being rich in fibre can aid in promoting a healthy digestive system. Moreover, its high protein content can be beneficial during monsoon, according to Sisodia.

Let’s take a look at the other health benefits of quinoa.

Nutrition profile of quinoa

Per 100 grams of cooked quinoa, you can find these nutrients, according to Sisodia.

  • – Calories: 120
  • – Protein: 4.1g
  • – Fat: 1.9g
  • – Carbohydrates: 21.3g
  • – Fiber: 2.8g
  • – Sugars: 0.9g
  • – Iron: 1.5mg
  • – Magnesium: 64mg
  • – Phosphorus: 152mg
  • – Zinc: 1.1mg

It is always best to consume it as a part of a balanced diet, paired with vegetables, proteins and fats. (Source: Unsplash)

Health benefits of quinoa

According to Dr Sisodia, following are the health benefits of quinoa.

  • Helps in weight management.
  • Promotes healthy digestion and reduces constipation due to high fibre content. This is beneficial given the spicy nature of Indian cuisine.
  • Boosts heart health by potentially reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Supports metabolic health due to its low glycemic index.

“It also contains smaller amounts of vitamins such as vitamin E, B-vitamins and various antioxidants,” she added.

Can diabetics consume quinoa?

Individuals with diabetes can consider adding quinoa into their diet due to its low glycemic index, which means it releases sugar slowly into the bloodstream.

“It also is high in dietary fibre which is beneficial for managing diabetes. However, it’s always best to consult with your diabetologist or nutritionist for personalised advice,” said Sisodia.

Is it beneficial for pregnant women?

According to Sisodia, pregnant women in India can find quinoa to be a beneficial addition to their diet as it is found to have:

  • Essential amino acids necessary for the growth and development of the foetus
  • Iron, which is necessary to prevent anaemia, a common issue during pregnancy
  • High fibre content that can help alleviate constipation, a common pregnancy complaint
  • B vitamins, that are essential for the energy needs during pregnancy

It has essential amino acids necessary for the growth and development of the foetus.

Things to keep in mind

Quinoa can be nutritious but there are a few things to keep in mind before consuming it, said Sisodia.

Wash thoroughly: Quinoa contains bitter saponins which can cause irritation in the stomach; washing it thoroughly before cooking can help.

Balanced diet: It is always best to consume it as a part of a balanced diet, paired with vegetables, proteins and fats.

Common myths about quinoa

Sisodia debunked some myths about quinoa.

Myth 1: Quinoa is a grain.

Fact: Quinoa is actually a seed but is often prepared and consumed like grains.

Myth 2: Quinoa is high in calories.

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Fact: Quinoa is moderately caloric and its high fibre and protein content can actually aid in weight management when consumed in appropriate quantities.

Myth: Quinoa is not suitable for Indian cuisines.

Fact: Quinoa can easily be incorporated into various Indian dishes, given its neutral taste and versatile texture.

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First published on: 15-09-2023 at 17:30 IST

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