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Health Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa is known as an “ancient grain,” but to most scientific researchers, it’s a new kid on the block. While the existing research on quinoa pales next to well-studied grains like oats or barley, the pace of quinoa research is picking up, and presenting some intriguing preliminary data.


It’s not surprising that quinoa supports good health, as it’s one of the only plant foods that’s a complete protein, offering all the essential amino acids in a healthy balance. Not only is the protein complete, but quinoa grains have a usually high ratio of protein to carbohydrate, since the germ makes up about 60% of the grain. (For comparison, wheat germ comprises less than 3% of a wheat kernel.) Quinoa is also the highest of all the whole grains in potassium, which helps control blood pressure.


What’s more, quinoa is gluten free, which makes it extremely useful to the celiac community and to others who may be sensitive to more common grains such as wheat – or even to all other grains in the grass family.


  • Quinoa is a more nutritious option for gluten free diets.

  • Quinoa may be useful in reducing the risk for diabetes.

  • Quinoa helps you feel fuller longer.

Fun facts about Quinoa
  • Inca warriors ate balls of quinoa and fat to keep them going on long marches and in battle.

  • NASA has proposed quinoa as an ideal food for long-duration space fights.

  • The Natchez Indians, on the lower Mississippi River, may have cultivated a variety of quinoa.

  • A quinoa poultice or plaster was traditionally thought to heal bones.

  • Lamb’s quarters, a common weed increasingly sought after as a gourmet salad ingredient, is a cousin of quinoa.

  • Chenopodeum, the botanical name for quinoa, means “goose foot,” so named because the leaves of the plant resemble the webbed foot of a goose.

  • In times of drought, when other crops in quinoa-growing areas fail, quinoa can actually increase its yields. The crop can thrive on as little as three to four inches of annual rainfall.

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