Quinoa is so healthy that it would be wrong not to include it in your diet. Quinoa has a record amount of protein, far more than wheat, rice, oats, rye and barley. This cereal should definitely be included in the diet of vegetarians, and it will be useful for meat-eaters. The cost of quinoa, a relatively new grain crop in our diet, is quite high. Quinoa is several times more expensive than the usual buckwheat, rice, millet. But why is quinoa so expensive and popular nowadays?
Quinoa is so expensive because the growing process is costly and long (90-120 days). Quinoa contains a record amount of protein, making the demand a lot bigger than the supply. Quinoa is expensive because of the transportation fees and demanding growing conditions (no low temperatures).
Even though the yield of quinoa is three times higher than that of buckwheat (5-6 tons/hectare versus 1.5-3 tons/hectare), the cost of quinoa is significantly higher because the quinoa plant is much more demanding on growing conditions and does not tolerate low temperatures well.
In fact, the high price is due to the peculiarity of the cultivation and transportation distance. In addition, in Peru and Bolivia, quinoa production is traditionally occupied by small farms – due to which there are several different varieties and types of cereals. How much is a kilogram of quinoa? As of 2021, a kilogram of quinoa in the USA costs $4.60.
See also: What Does Quinoa Taste Like?
The vast majority of the world’s quinoa grows in Latin America, in the highlands of the Andes. According to Whole Grains Council, Peru and Bolivia grow up to 99% of the world’s quinoa crop, around 157 tons. In much smaller quantities, the crop is produced in Spain and France.
How Has Quinoa Become So Popular?
Quinoa has become popular due to its nutritional value and health benefits. Quinoa does not contain gluten and has a positive effect on the immune system, restores hormones, boosts metabolism. Quinoa is good for iron deficiency and anemia. It removes toxins, strengthens bones and prevents hair loss.
Having learned that eating quinoa is healthy and even necessary, many people tend to buy cereals at all costs. Over time, the production of the product will improve, cereals will become more accessible and familiar, the supply will balance the demand. In the meantime, cooking quinoa means establishing yourself as a gourmet.
Native to South America, quinoa has gradually become popular on other continents. In response to demand, farmers began to use all the available land for quinoa cultivation, but there was not much space for this in South America. As a result, they began growing quinoa on other continents.
Why Is Quinoa Good For You?
Quinoa has been used as food since ancient times. The Indians were the first to grow it, and then the plant migrated to the table of other peoples. The Incas used it for food on a par with potatoes and corn. Because of its tremendous health benefits, quinoa has been nicknamed the “golden grain”. Today, quinoa is grown in Bolivia, Uruguay and Peru. Almost 90% of the crop is supplied to the USA.
Is quinoa really that good for you? What’s so great about quinoa? Here are 9 things that make quinoa so great.
- Rich composition
1 cup of quinoa contains protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, copper, iron, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and so on. It is non-GMO and naturally grown.
- Does not contain gluten
If you’re gluten intolerant, quinoa is just what you need. Gluten can be found in all foods made from wheat, rye, oats, barley and derivatives, and is found in bread, rolls, cookies, bagels, muffins, cakes, pizza, cereals, pasta, beer, and so on. A gluten-free diet is very beneficial in itself. However, for the manufacture of gluten-free products, refined starches are used, which are no less harmful than gluten. On the other hand, quinoa does not have this disadvantage and is the ideal basis for a gluten-free diet.
- Source of fiber
Quinoa is much richer in fiber than other grains. Fiber lowers blood cholesterol, removes toxins from the body, helps to get rid of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, reduces appetite and prevents the development of diabetes. Quinoa contains 10-16 grams of fiber per 100 grams of raw food.
- Lots of protein and essential amino acids
The body cannot synthesize essential amino acids on its own and needs a constant supply of food. Quinoa is not only high in protein but also an excellent source of a complete set of amino acids. Plus, it’s perfect for vegetarians.
- Healthy carbohydrates
Quinoa has a low glycemic index which shows how quickly food ingested increases blood sugar levels. Eating foods with a high index threatens an increase in appetite, the risk of obesity and diabetes, as well as problems with the cardiovascular system. Quinoa is high in carbohydrates but low on the glycemic index. It is not suitable for a low-carb diet, but it will not bring harm to health.
- Source of minerals
Today, many people who follow diets are at risk of getting vitamin deficiency. This is especially true for magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron. One cup of quinoa contains a third of the daily value of magnesium, which promotes the work of the cardiovascular and digestive systems, produces new cells, the improves brain work, and gives you energy. Quinoa contains phytic acid, which interferes with the absorption of minerals in the body, so it is recommended to soak the cereal before eating.
- Source of antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that neutralize the oxidative effects of free radicals. It is believed that the increased content of such substances in the body can directly affect the increase in life expectancy. Taking antioxidant drugs in old age greatly reduces the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and reduces the risk of heart and vascular diseases. Antioxidants in quionoa strengthen the immune system, slow down the growth of tumors and aging of the body, and start rejuvenation processes.
- Helps to lose weight
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. You can also control appetite levels and speed up metabolic processes. This is where quinoa comes in handy. This cereal is rich in protein that saturates but suppresses hunger and appetite. Studies have shown that consuming quinoa lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also improves metabolic processes in the body.
- Suitable for any diet
Incorporating quinoa into your diet is both healthy and delicious. Due to its neutral taste, it can be added to various dishes: salads, couscous, desserts, baked goods. It goes well with fish or meat.
The main health advantage of quinoa is lysine, an amino acid that helps with calcium absorption and promotes rapid tissue healing. Lysine is essential for good bone growth and formation, and a lack of it can cause hair loss, poor appetite, anemia, irritability and stunted growth. Quinoa is essential for building a strong and healthy body, from bones and tissues to internal organs. This is a powerful general tonic. In addition, it can have a calming effect on the human nervous system.
Quinoa has become a popular choice for chefs in luxury restaurants. First, it’s healthy. Secondly, this grain goes well with fruits, meat and vegetables. Thirdly, cooking takes only 15 minutes. Quinoa is used to prepare various salads, breakfast cereals and all kinds of creative dishes, combining many ingredients. Cooking quinoa is no more difficult than rice or buckwheat.