Top 5 Health Benefits of Quinoa

Health Benefits of Quinoa Quinoa dates back 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, and originated in the Andean region of Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia and Peru1. It’s been called a “super grain,” but quinoa is actually a seed from a vegetable related to spinach and beets. It’s become so popular that the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as “The International Year of the Quinoa.” Want to know why this little grain is so awesome? Check out the top five health benefits of quinoa:

  1. Protein: quinoa is packed with protein. One cup (185 grams) packs a whopping 8 grams of protein per serving. While most grains are considered to be inadequate as total protein sources because they lack sufficient amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine, quinoa contains an abundance of both of these and is considered a complete protein source.
  2. Fiber: Most Americans don’t get enough fiber – on average we take in roughly 15 grams a day of the 25 to 38 grams that are recommended depending on your gender2. Fiber has been linked with heart health, blood sugar control, weight loss and gastrointestinal health, to name a few. One cup of quinoa contains more than 20% of your recommended daily intake.
  3. Quinoa is gluten-free. Many people are finding they feel better and lose weight when they reduce gluten grains and wheat products from their diets.
  4. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 breaks down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and helps produce energy. It also helps control free radicals and is useful in preventing cancer and heart disease.
  5. Quinoa has lots of iron. Iron is essential for the formation of hemoglobin, which is the principal carrier of oxygen throughout the body and gives the dark red color to blood. Iron is also necessary for muscle and brain function.

If you’ve never cooked with quinoa before, check out our related resources section below for tips on how to prepare and cook quinoa.

Related Resources:


1Kolata, Alan L. (2009). “Quinoa”. Quinoa: Productiononsumption and Social Value in Historical Context. Department of Anthropology, The University of Chicago.
2: Trends in dietary fiber intake in the United States, 1999-2008.

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