Are you familiar with Quinoa? If you are unfamiliar with quinoa, it’s time for you to get to know this ancient grain. For thousands of years, the Incan people regarded quinoa as a superfood that enhanced their warrior’s strength and stamina. It was so valuable to the Incans it was known as “Incan Gold.” When I first heard about quinoa a few years ago, I knew I had to try it. It’s versatile, high in nutritional value, and is very easy to prepare. I was worried that Phil and Z.E.N. wouldn’t like it, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they do in fact like it.
Health Benefits of Quinoa
The health benefits of quinoa are being rediscovered by people around the globe. Quinoa is quickly becoming the grain of choice for health conscious people. Here are some of the benefits of quinoa:
1. Quinoa is a complete protein source. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids and is one of the most protein packed foods you can eat.
2. Quinoa is a good source of lysine, a compound essential for tissue repair and growth.
3. Quinoa contains twice as much fiber as other grains. Fiber helps prevent heart disease and diabetes, lowers cholesterol and glucose levels and helps aid in digestion and makes bowel movements regular.
4. Quinoa is rich in manganese, an antioxidant that helps protect red blood cells from free radical damage.
5. Quinoa aids in weight loss since it helps you feel fuller longer, takes longer to chew so it slow down food consumption and has fewer calories for the same volume of other grains.
6. Quinoa is a great source of iron. Iron is essential to red blood cell health, hemoglobin production and the transfer of oxygen to cells, muscles and the brain.
7. Quinoa is magnesium packed. Magnesium helps control blood sugar, relax blood vessels, transmit nerve impulses, regulate body temperature, assists in detoxification of the body, energy production and in the formation of healthy teeth and bones.
As I mentioned before, Quinoa is very versatile and can be prepared in so many different ways. I really like it in salads. This spinach quinoa strawberry salad is perfect for those hot summer days when you don’t want to use your stove or oven. Try it!
Spinach Quinoa Strawberry Salad W/Balsamic Glaze Dressing
6 C Fresh Spinach
2 C Sliced fresh Strawberries
1 C Quinoa, cooked and cooled (I cooked using chicken broth instead of water, adds more
flavor, but is optional)
1/2 C Slivered Almonds
3 Tbsp. Balsamic Glaze
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/8 tsp. Dijon
to taste, salt and pepper
Place spinach in a bowl as the base of the salad.
Sprinkle the quinoa on top of the spinach.
Spoon out the strawberries on top of the quinoa.
Sprinkle the almonds on top of that.
Dress the salad just before serving with the balsamic glaze.