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Ph.D. (Biochemistry), M.Sc (Human Genomics)
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Quinoa

Quinoa
Quinoa is a grain with exceptional nutritional value due to the presence of essential amino acids, proteins and monounsaturated fatty acids. It is gluten-free and has a low glycemic index which increases its health benefits.
Consumption of quinoa aids in weight loss as it has high fiber content that provides a feeling of fullness, thus preventing overeating. It also exhibits anti-obesity effects by reducing lipid uptake and increasing energy utilisation.
Quinoa is commonly used in hair care. As Quinoa has high protein content, it nourishes the hair follicles and makes them strong. The minerals present in Quinoa help in sealing moisture and preventing dandruff.
It is advisable to consume Quinoa in food amounts as it is high in calories and overconsumption might lead to weight gain. Also, those allergic to grains should consult their physician before consuming Quinoa[4].

What are the synonyms of Quinoa?

Chenopodium quinoa[2].

What is the source of Quinoa?

Plant Based

Benefits of Quinoa

What are the benefits of Quinoa for Obesity?

scientific
Modern Science View
Quinoa is beneficial for people suffering from Obesity as it has low fat and high fiber content. It gives a feeling of fullness and reduces cravings, thereby preventing overeating. It is low in calories and contains a certain constituent (20-Hydroxyecdysone) that helps in burning more calories, thus aiding effective weight management [5][6].

Tip to use Quinoa to manage Obesity
a. Take 1 cup of Quinoa or as per your requirement.
b. Soak it in water for 5 minutes before cooking.
c. Add another 2 cups of water.
d. Cover with lid and bring it to one boil.
e. Lower the flame and cook it for another 10-15 minutes till the water gets absorbed by Quinoa.
f. Remove it from the flame, wait for a few minutes and relish this deliciously cooked Quinoa to to manage weight.

What are the benefits of Quinoa for Menopausal symptoms?

scientific
Modern Science View
Quinoa might help manage Health problems that might occur after menopause such as hot flushes. It contains a certain constituent (20-Hydroxyecdysone) that improves the metabolic functions of the body. It also helps to reduce the levels of serum triglycerides and total cholesterol, thereby managing postmenopausal weight gain in women[6].

What are the benefits of Quinoa for High triglycerides?

scientific
Modern Science View
Quinoa is beneficial for people having High triglycerides levels. Studies state the eating Quinoa might help in lowering serum triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels in overweight people[10][11].

What are the benefits of Quinoa for Weight loss?

scientific
Modern Science View
Quinoa might be useful for Weight loss due to its low calorie and high fiber content. Studies state that eating Quinoa gives a feeling of fullness and reduces cravings, thereby preventing overeating. High fiber takes a longer time to break down and adds bulk to the stool. This improves digestion and helps in Weight loss[5][6].

How effective is Quinoa?

Insufficient evidence
High triglycerides, Menopausal symptoms, Obesity, Weight loss

Precautions when using Quinoa

Advice from Experts
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
Some people, allergic to rice, wheat or buckwheat might also be allergic to Quinoa. Therefore, it is advisable to consume Quinoa as per a physician or dietician’s advice[1][2].
Allergy
scientific
Modern Science View
Quinoa might cause allergic reactions in some individuals (known as Quinoa allergy). So, it is advisable to consult your physician before having Quinoa for edible purposes[9].
Pregnancy
scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, it is advisable to consult a physician before using Quinoa during pregnancy[2].
Side Effects
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
Kidney stones[3].

How to use Quinoa

Tip to use Quinoa to manage Weight
a. Take 1 cup of Quinoa and soak it in water for 5 minutes before cooking.
b. Add another 2 cups of water to it.
c. Cover with a lid and bring it to one boil.
d. Lower the flame and cook it for another 10-15 minutes till the water gets absorbed by Quinoa.
e. Remove it from the flame, wait for 5 minutes and relish the deliciously cooked Quinoa to maintain weight.

Tip to use Quinoa in the form of a salad
a. Take 1 cup of Quinoa rinsed in water.
b. Combine the rinsed Quinoa and water in a medium saucepan.
c. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the Quinoa has absorbed all of the water (about 15 minutes).
d. Remove from heat, cover, and let the Quinoa rest for 5 minutes so as to give it time to fluff up.
e. In a large serving bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, garlic and salt as per your requirement/taste.
f. Once the Quinoa is almost cool, add it to the mixture and toss until it is thoroughly combined.
g. For best flavor, let the salad rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Benefits of Quinoa

What are the benefits of Quinoa for Insect bite?

scientific
Modern Science View
The water obtained after washing Quinoa might act as a natural insect repellent. Moreover, Quinoa leaves contain certain constituents (Ecdysteroids) that prevent the growth of insects[11][12].

How effective is Quinoa?

Insufficient evidence
Insect bite

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can I eat Quinoa on a daily basis?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Quinoa can be eaten on a daily basis as it is rich in proteins, fibers and other vital nutrients required by the body. But its portion size needs to be controlled as it is a high calorie food. Besides, its high fiber content might cause intestinal cramping.

Q. What are the different ways to use Quinoa?

scientific
Modern Science View
Quinoa can be easily added to any dish as a healthy alternative. It can serve as a savoury item and can be added to salads, burger patties, taco, stews and soups. Nonetheless, toasted Quinoa can also be added to desserts such as cakes, muffins and chocolate cups.

Q. Does Quinoa help in constipation?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Quinoa might help in constipation as it is rich in fiber. It increases the bulk in stool and helps in its easy passage, thereby relieving constipation[1].

Q. Does Quinoa cause kidney stones?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Quinoa being rich in oxalate, reduces the absorption of calcium and magnesium that might cause Kidney stones in some individuals[3].

Q. What are the benefits of Quinoa for diabetes?

scientific
Modern Science View
Quinoa is healthy, gluten-free with a low glycemic index. Intake of Quinoa leads to decrease in oxidative stress, improvement in serum lipid profile and control in glucose levels that helps in managing diabetes[11].

Q. Is Quinoa easy to digest?

scientific
Modern Science View
As Quinoa is a seed and not a grain, it contains low starch content which makes it easy to digest. In addition, it is gluten-free which makes it an ideal food for individuals having digestive problems associated with gluten sensitivity[13][14].

Tip to use Quinoa to improve digestion
a. Take 1 cup of Quinoa and soak it for 5 minutes before cooking.
b. Add another 2 cups of water to it.
c. Cover with a lid and bring it to one boil.
d. Lower the flame and cook it for another 10-15 minutes till the water gets absorbed by Quinoa.
e. Remove it from the flame, wait for 5 minutes and elish the deliciously cooked Quinoa to maintain a good digestion.

Q. Can Quinoa be used during pregnancy?

scientific
Modern Science View
Enough scientific evidence is not available for the role of Quinoa during pregnancy. However, it might be beneficial for expecting mothers as it is a rich source of vitamin B (riboflavin and folic acid) that helps reduce the risk of neural birth defects[1].

Q. Is Quinoa good for the heart?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Quinoa might be good for the heart as it is a source of good fats (monounsaturated fatty acids). These fats are anti-inflammatory in nature and reduce inflammation of blood vessels and thus, overall risk of cardiovascular diseases. It also contains magnesium which helps relax the blood vessels and prevents the increase of blood pressure[5][15].

Q. What are the benefits of Quinoa for babies?

scientific
Modern Science View
Quinoa is a highly nutritious food and is a good source of proteins, minerals and some vitamins. It promotes growth and prevents malnutrition in babies[16].

Q. Is Quinoa good for skin?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Quinoa might be good for the skin. It is a rich source of essential amino acid (lysine) that helps in the healing of wounds and scars. As it is rich in vitamins, it protects the skin from premature ageing, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and acne. These vitamins also aid in rejuvenating the skin which helps in keeping the skin smooth and soft[5].

Q. Can Quinoa be used for acne?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Quinoa can be used for acne. It contains vitamin B-2 and B-3 that reduces sebum production and manages acne. It also soothes the redness and inflammation associated with acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties[5].

Q. What are the benefits of Quinoa for hair?

scientific
Modern Science View
Quinoa contains essential amino acids and acts as a natural hair strengthener that repairs hair damage and promotes hair growth. The presence of minerals (calcium, iron, phosphorus) aids in trapping moisture in the scalp, thus preventing dandruff. Quinoa also contains vitamin E that reduces hair breakage due to tangling[5].

References

  1. Singh S, Singh R, Singh V.S. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd), functional superfood for today’s world: A Review. World Scientific News;58(1):84-96.External Link
  2. Varli S.N, Sanlier N.Nutritional and health benefits of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.).J Cereal Sci.2016;69(1):371-376.External Link
  3. WebMD.Quinoa: Uses, Side effects, Doses, Interactions [Internet].Atlanta [last updated in 2016].External Link
  4. Foucault AS, Mathe V, Lafont R et.al.Quinoa extract enriched in 20-hydroxyecdysone protects mice from diet-induced obesity and modulates adipokines expression.Obesity (Silver Spring).2012;20(2):270-277.External Link
  5. Singh D.Quinoa (Chenopodium Quinoa Willd).Scientific Publishers.2019.External Link
  6. Navruz Varlı S, Sanlier N.Nutritional and health benefits of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.).J. Cereal Sci.2016;69:371-376. External Link
  7. Maradini-Filho AM.Quinoa: Nutritional Aspects.J Nutraceuticals Food Sci.2017;2(1).1-5.External Link
  8. Zevallos VF, Ellis HJ, Suligoj T, et.al.Variable activation of immune response by quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) prolamins in celiac disease.Am J Clin Nutr.2012;96:337-344.External Link
  9. Ulbricht CE.Natural Standard: Herb and Supplement Guide, An Evidence-Based Reference.Elsevier;2010.
  10. Pakso P, Zagrodzki P, Barton H, et.al.Effect of quinoa seeds (Chenopodium quinoa) in diet on some biochemical parameters and essential elements in blood of high fructose-fed rats.Plant Foods Hum Nutr.2010;65(4):333–338.External Link
  11. Gordillo-Bastidas E, Diaz-Rizzolo DA, Roura E.Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd), from Nutritional Value to Potential Health Benefits: An Integrative Review.J Nutr Food Sci.2016;6(3):1-10.External Link
  12. Crocker B.Betty Crocker 20 Best Quinoa Recipes.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.2014.External Link
  13. Kennedy D. Eat Your Greens: The Surprising Power of Homegrown Leaf Crops.2014.External Link
  14. Keough KE. Sugar-Free Gluten-Free Baking and Desserts: Recipes for Healthy and Delicious Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Scones, Pies, Puddings, Breads and Pizzas.2009.External Link
  15. Sonoma Press.Quinoa: The Everyday Superfood: 150 Gluten-Free Recipes to Delight Every Kind of Eater.2015.External Link
  16. Ruales J, Grijalva Y, Lopez-Jaramillo P et.al. The nutritional quality of infant food from quinoa and its effect on the plasma level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in undernourished children.Int J Food Sci Nutr.2002;53:143-54.External Link
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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