You can count on quinoa benefits. Quinoa’s fiber content makes it a great food for weight loss and treating other digestive issues like constipation. The fiber also protects the heart and prevents deadly diseases like cancer. The antioxidants this food contains work magically for skin and hair health.
1. Promotes Weight Loss
All your gym workouts and well-disciplined diets are great, and adding quinoa can only make things better.
Quinoa is high in fiber. In fact, much higher than most grains and seeds. Though a major part of the fiber in quinoa is insoluble, it still does contain a decent amount of its solid cousin. One cup of the seeds contains 2.5 grams of soluble fiber – which, as per studies, aids weight loss (2).
There is something else in quinoa that warrants our attention. It is 20-hydroxyecdysone, a compound known to help with weight control. Research suggests that this compound helps burn more calories and consequently aids weight control (3). It also makes individuals absorb less fat from their diet.
2. Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
Let us bust a common myth – that only individuals above fifty years must be really concerned about bone health. In actuality (unless one happens to be a distant relative of a walrus), everyone must be concerned about the health of their bones. Irrespective of their age.
Given that quinoa is rich in magnesium, it works great for bone health. The mineral plays a role in bone formation. Quinoa is also rich in protein (1 cup contains 9 grams of it), a nutrient that serves as a building block for the bones (4). More importantly, it contains all the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own, which have a part to play in this aspect.
As per other studies, the magnesium and manganese in quinoa also help prevent osteoporosis (5).
3. Protects The Heart
Home is where the heart is, and that’s where even quinoa is.
Getting to the point, the soluble fiber is what makes quinoa a wonder food for your heart. The soluble fiber combines with the bile acids in your liver and produces a jelly-like substance that’s excreted in your bowels. Your liver utilizes some of the cholesterol in your body to produce these bile acids. When the stores are depleted, your liver pulls cholesterol from your blood to produce these acids.
Are you beginning to get the idea here? Good. Simply put, quinoa somehow provokes your liver to extract cholesterol from the blood. That’s it.
Eating quinoa means lower levels of bad cholesterol, and this means a reduced risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. And this means you are going to live longer. Party time, again!
Quinoa contains fatty acids, 25 percent of which comes in the form of oleic acid. Now, oleic acid is your friend (6). It is a heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid, and 8 percent of it is ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is the omega-3 fatty acid predominantly found in plants.
4. Improves Skin Health
We already saw quinoa is rich in B vitamins, nutrients that help treat age spots and other conditions related to skin pigmentation by reducing the deposits of dark melanin in the skin. And the vitamin B12 in quinoa interacts with the other B vitamins to maintain a healthy skin complexion.
Quinoa also contains tyrosinase inhibitors, enzymes that decrease pigmentation and the associated problems (7). And the vitamin B3 in quinoa, also called niacinamide, helps treat acne. It soothes the red and inflamed areas often associated with acne breakouts.
Quinoa contains vitamin A, which is the mother of all vitamins when it comes to delaying the aging process. It reduces fine lines and makes your skin look young. And the riboflavin in quinoa (or vitamin B2) improves skin elasticity. It even treats acne – as it can help reduce sebum production.
Oh yes, didn’t we speak about quinoa brimming with antioxidants? Yes, these fight the free radicals that are almost always responsible for early aging. If you look into the mirror and suddenly feel you are looking like your aunt, you know who the culprit is.
By the way, you can use this face pack to delay your aging signs. Just cook ¼ cup of quinoa in soy milk and let it cool. Blend this boiled quinoa with 3 teaspoons of yogurt, 2 egg yolks, and 2 drops of mimosa essential oil. Apply it to your face and neck and leave it on for 20 minutes.
Rinse with lukewarm water. Your skin will become smooth and radiant.
Quinoa contains natural protein and anti-aging properties while soy milk nourishes and repairs the sun damaged skin by enhancing its elasticity. This face pack will also make the skin smooth and even toned.
5. Fights Inflammation
The fiber in quinoa produces butyrate, an important fatty acid that turns off genes related to inflammation. And the B vitamins in quinoa reduce homocysteine levels (an inflammatory hormone) in the body.
More interestingly, the digestion of fiber in quinoa (and fiber, in general) releases acetate – which then travels to the brain and signals us to stop eating. The logic is simple – if you eat less, you are less likely to be taking in pro-inflammatory foods.
Quinoa also contains compounds called saponins, which studies have shown to have anti-inflammatory properties (8).
6. Helps Fight Cancer
Let’s first stop thinking cancer is a killer. Because cancer is beatable. And preventable too. Thanks to quinoa.
Harvard University says a daily bowl of quinoa can save your life. Literally. A study shows that eating a bowl of quinoa daily can reduce the risk of premature death by cancer (9). And the American Institute for Cancer Research has a thing to say about its usage – each quinoa grain is coated with a bitter substance to protect it as the crop grows, so ensure you put it in a sieve and rinse before you even start cooking (10).
A Polish study also speaks about how quinoa can be a savior during cancer. It’s about the extracts of its leaves, though. These leaves exert chemopreventive and anticancer effects (11).
Another report by the Yale Cancer Center recommends adding quinoa to your diet to fight cancer (12). Quinoa is super rich in antioxidants – the very compounds that can fight free radicals and other harmful substances that cause cancer.
7. Helps Fight Diabetes And Hypertension
Quinoa is a whole grain, and whole grains are great for diabetes. The fiber in quinoa doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. It also prevents diabetes-related weight gain and other chronic conditions.
A part of living with diabetes is all about taking foods that have low glycemic index, and quinoa, thankfully, is on the lower end. Quinoa also has all the amino acids to make protein (unlike most other grains), which also does a good job in controlling blood sugar levels.
One Brazilian study stated that a diet including quinoa could help manage type 2 diabetes and the hypertension associated with it (13). Quinoa is a complex carbohydrate – and such carbohydrates break down in the body much slowly, allowing the blood sugar to be more stable (14).
Quinoa also contains good amounts of magnesium and potassium, nutrients that help lower blood pressure. Magnesium also helps relax the blood vessels (and by the way, this helps combat migraines too).
8. Improves Metabolism
It’s common sense, if you ask us. When quinoa is replete with so many nutrients, it is impossible that your metabolism wouldn’t improve if you consume it regularly.
And its protein is something worth relooking at. It improves metabolism as well as significantly reduces appetite (15).
9. Aids In Anemia Treatment
Quinoa is rich in iron. One cup of cooked quinoa (185 grams) contains about 3 mg of iron, which is 15% of the daily requirement. A diet adequate in iron can help prevent anemia.
Another nutrient to look at in this aspect is riboflavin – which quinoa is rich in. Anemia can also be caused due to less riboflavin in one’s diet (16). Also, allow us to reiterate the importance of iron. The mineral is required to make hemoglobin, which is a part of the red blood cells that bind and carry oxygen in your blood.
10. Enhances Digestive Health
Quinoa is rich in fiber, and that makes this point self-explanatory. Pretty much. Fiber adds bulk to the food churned in your stomach, and this stimulates the walls of your digestive tract. Your tract contracts, and this promotes better absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. In the large intestine, this fiber prevents constipation.
The B vitamins in quinoa also play a role in digestion. One of these is thiamin, which helps in the production of hydrochloric acid (the acid in your stomach that aids digestion).
Riboflavin aids in the development of cells lined in the walls of the digestive tract. Another amino acid quinoa contains is glutamic acid, which is converted into glutamine in your body. Glutamine is responsible for the health of the mucosal lining of your stomach.
11. Promotes Longevity
There is a Bolivian man who is (or was) 123 years old. He credits his longevity to a daily diet that includes quinoa.
Numerous studies have shown that a diet rich in whole grains (like quinoa) can put a stop to numerous diseases, which obviously enables people to live longer.
12. Aids Tissue Repair And Growth
Quinoa is rich in lysine, which is important for tissue repair and growth. What’s interesting here is quinoa is the only grain that contains this amino acid (17). The high protein content also contributes to this factor.
13. Offers The Goodness Of Quercetin And Kaempferol
These two compounds are of particular importance. And quinoa is very rich in them (18).
Quercetin and kaemferol are known to fight inflammation. They also possess antiviral and antidepressant effects (19), (20).
14. Strengthens Hair Follicles
The protein content of quinoa is what we must look at here. Hydrolyzed protein extracted from quinoa acts as a natural and gentle coating that protects and nourishes the hair follicles from within. The protein extracted from this grain is also used to produce high-quality hair products.
The nine essential amino acids quinoa contains act as natural strengtheners and protect the hair shaft. They also repair damaged hair and promote hair growth.
The humectants in quinoa nourish and hydrate the scalp and keep it well conditioned. They form an invisible film over the hair to protect it from environmental conditions like pollution and dust.
And the vitamin E reduces breakage due to tangling by balancing the production of natural oils on the scalp.
15. Helps Treat Dandruff
Quinoa contains important minerals like calcium, iron, and phosphorus that seal moisture in the scalp to keep dandruff at bay. You just have to mash quinoa and apply the paste to your hair and scalp. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse as usual.
The protein in quinoa also helps treat split ends. And the tyrosine in quinoa helps maintain the original color of your hair.
We have seen the quinoa benefits. But there is something else about quinoa we need to know. Some interesting facts.