Quinoa Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits & Recipes

what is quinoa nutrition facts

Quinoa Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits & Recipes

Quinoa is fast gaining traction as a superfood. The United Nations declared 2013 to be the “International Year of Quinoa”, perceiving its growing popularity and nutritional benefits. In this article, I will share with you all the amazing Quinoa Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits & Recipes.

While it is already notably popular in Europe and the Americas, quinoa is almost unknown in south-east Asia. Quinoa is rich in protein, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

It is full of dietary fibers and is a good substitute for rice. It is also gluten-free, hence a popular choice for those who are gluten intolerant or who prefer foods that are free from gluten.

In this article, we highlight everything you need to know about quinoa. Let us find out more about this superfood!

What is quinoa?

Quinoa pronunciation: Quinoa is pronounced as “keen-wa”.

Quinoa is a pseudocereal, i.e, it is not a food grain, but the seed of a plant which can be eaten as a cereal.

Quinoa is a pseudocereal. This essentially means that it is not a food grain, but the seed of a plant which can be eaten as a cereal.

It is a plant native to the Andes region of South America, where it was domesticated thousands of years ago. It has long been a staple for people residing in that region, though was virtually unknown to the rest of the world. (Source)

Quinoa seeds are rich in B Vitamins, dietary minerals, dietary fibers, and proteins. When eaten, quinoa has a unique, nutty flavour, sweet taste, and a particularly distinct texture.

Quinoa was regarded as sacred by the Incas. The emperor used to sow the first seeds. However, during the Spanish invasion of South America, its cultivation was banned. The cultivation resumed much later as the Spanish empire became weaker and ultimately the colonies gained independence. (Source)

Quinoa Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits & Recipe

Quinoa Nutrition Facts

Quinoa Meaning 

Quinoa is essentially a plant that belongs to the Amarnath family. It is a flowering plant that grows annually, for the use of its seeds. The seeds are what we call as quinoa. The scientific name fo quinoa is Chenopodium quinoa. It is worth noting that while quinoa is a seed, it is eaten as a cereal.

It is a plant native to the Andes region of South America, where it was domesticated thousands of years ago. It has long been a staple for people residing in that region, though was virtually unknown to the rest of the world. (Source)

Quinoa was regarded as sacred by the Incas. The emperor used to sow the first seeds. However, during the Spanish invasion of South America, its cultivation was banned. The cultivation resumed much later as the Spanish empire became weaker and ultimately the colonies gained independence. (Source)

Properties of Quinoa Seeds

Quinoa is the seed of a plant of the amaranth family. It is used after removing its bitter-tasting outer seed coat. In most cases, quinoa is mainly cooked like rice for consumption.

It can also be eaten raw. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, which makes it a popular option for health enthusiasts and people allergic to gluten.

It is also rich in protein, fibers, vitamins and flavonoids, which makes it more beneficial than other staple cereals than rice or wheat. (Source)

Quinoa is also a highly durable plant and can be grown in controlled environments. It can be stored for long periods of time.

World over, scientists have been working towards genetically modifying the plant and creating hybrids which can increase yields.

NASA selected quinoa for using in its space flights and space stations, as it is long-lasting and high in essential nutrients. (Source)

Quinoa Nutrition Facts

As mentioned above, quinoa is a pseudocereal. Most pseudocereals are similar to cereals even though they are seeds.

The fact that it is a pseudocereal means that it can be used as a whole grain.

Hence, the nutritional value of quinoa is much like that of the other whole grains.

  • Quinoa is rich in essential minerals, vitamins, and fibers.
  • In consuming one cup of quinoa in its cooked form (which is approximately 185 grams), you will most likely be having 222 calories, 8.14 grams of protein, 3.55 grams of fat, 5.2 grams of fibre, and 39.4 grams of carbohydrates.
  • Additionally, you will also get significant amounts of folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, and potassium.
  • Traces of B Vitamins, Vitamin E, and calcium is also found in quinoa.
  • You will also be consuming a rich amount of fatty acids, such as oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acids.

Uncooked Quinoa Nutritional Value

For a serving size of 100g, below are nutritional values: (Source)

  • Quinoa nutrition 100g
    • Calories: 360
    • Fat: 6g
    • Cholesterol: 0g
    • Sodium: 0%
    • Carbohydrate: 64g
      • Fibre: 12g
      • Sugars: 4g
    • Protein: 20g
    • Vitamin: 0%
    • Vitamin: 0%
    • Calcium: 8% of DV
    • Iron: 60% of DV
    • Magnesium: 50% of DV
    • Zinc: 25% of DV

Cooked Quinoa Nutritional Value

For a serving size of 100g, below are nutritional values: (Source)

NameAmountUnit
Water71.61g
Energy120kcal
Energy503kJ
Protein4.4g
Total lipid (fat)1.92g
Ash0.76g
Carbohydrate, by difference21.3g
Fiber, total dietary2.8g
Sugars, total including NLEA0.87g
Starch17.63g
Calcium, Ca17mg
Iron, Fe1.49mg
Magnesium, Mg64mg
Phosphorus, P152mg
Potassium, K172mg
Sodium, Na7mg
Zinc, Zn1.09mg
Copper, Cu0.192mg
Manganese, Mn0.631mg
Selenium, Se2.8µg

Amazing Quinoa Benefits

The fact that quinoa is gaining popularity at such a fast pace can only mean that it has numerous health benefits. Let us look into the health benefits associated with this superfood.

1 Rich in protein and anti-oxidants

Quinoa is chock full of benefits. It is rich in proteins and contains all essential amino acids. It is also gluten-free and full of anti-oxidants.

Quinoa is considered a “complete protein” by many scientists. The reason it is called a complete protein is that it contains all nine essential amino acids.

Since it has a high content of protein, it is particularly recommended for vegetarians and vegans.

Additionally, it is a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are responsible for neutralising all the free radicals in your body.

Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, and cause inflammation in your system.  (Source)

2 Anti-inflammatory properties

Quinoa contains quercetin, which exhibits anti-inflammation properties. Additionally, as we had mentioned above, quinoa is a powerful antioxidant.

It can neutralize the effect that free radicals have on your body. This way, it can provide relief from inflammation. (Source)

3 Rich in dietary fibers

Quinoa is rich in dietary fibers, especially when taken raw. In fact, it supersedes both corn and brown rice as far as dietary fibers are concerned. (Source)

4 Quinoa Benefits in weight loss

As quinoa is rich in proteins and dietary fibers.

Scientific evidence shows that food containing protein and fibre cuts down carb consumption, reduces snacking, aids metabolism and reduces weight.

Since it is high in protein, quinoa can also help boost your metabolism, which in turn can help with weight loss. (Source)

quinoa benefits weight loss

quinoa benefits weight loss

5 Quinoa Health Benefits for Diabetics

Quinoa contains a high amount of dietary fibers and is low on starch and glycemic acids. This makes it good for diabetics. Eating quinoa improves insulin sensitivity and modulates the secretion of certain gut hormones. (Source)

6 Gluten-free

Quinoa is gluten-free. In most cases, celiac-intolerant people use rice as a substitute for wheat. However, studies show that quinoa is a better substitute than rice in gluten-free diets. It is easily digestible, while its high protein, flavonoid and fibre content make it more nutritious than rice. (Source)

7 Anti-cancer properties

Studies indicate that quinoa prevents chemically-induced carcinogenic in white mice. Evidence also suggests that dietary intake of quinoa helps prevent lung cancer. Since quinoa has dominant antioxidant properties, it can help neutralize the effect of free radicals in your body and oxidative stress. Free radicals are often linked to cancer. (Source)

8 Rich in iron, zinc and calcium

Quinoa is a good source of iron, zinc and calcium. These minerals are available in raw, boiled and roasted forms of quinoa. (Source)

quinoa health benefits

quinoa health benefits

How to eat Quinoa: Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa can be taken raw, but mostly, it is boiled and eaten like rice. The usual method is boiling one cup of quinoa in two cups of water. A single cup of raw quinoa usually yields three cups when boiled.

It can be boiled in an open or covered pot, or in a rice cooker. Check with a fork to decide required tenderness after boiling for 15 minutes.

Quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice. It can be added to soups or stews to make them more filling. It can be used as a stir-fry base instead of rice. Quinoa can also be used as a substitute for pasta. It can also be used in a variety of salads. (Source)

Quinoa flour recipes

Quinoa can also be ground and used as flour. However, bread and baked goods made with quinoa flour are coarser, less fluffy and have a bitter aftertaste. (Source)

How to Make Quinoa Tasty – Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa can be quite the delicacy is you make it the right way. Here are a few quinoa recipes you can try out for yourself-

Easy Quinoa Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat feta cheese

Preparation

  • Boil the quinoa for around 10 minutes. Fork to check tenderness. Drain excess water.
  • Spread it out on an open surface to dry and cool.
  • In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, garlic, pepper and oil. Whisk to make a dressing.
  • Take a bowl and toss the quinoa and the vegetables. Pour in the dressing and toss to mix evenly. Serve. (Source)

Quinoa risotto with arugula and parmesan

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
  • 2 1/4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock or broth
  • 2 cups chopped, stemmed arugula (rocket)
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  • Rinse the quinoa.
  • In a saucepan, heat olive oil and saute the onion until translucent.
  • Add garlic and quinoa. Don’t let the garlic brown.
  • Add the stock and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and check the quinoa. It should be soft and slightly hard in the centre.
  • When the consistency is broth-like, stir in the arugula and carrots. Cook for a couple of minutes until the quinoa looks white or translucent.
  • Stir in the cheese, salt and pepper. Serves six portions. (Source)

How to Make Quinoa Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • Sea salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Quinoa Flour – 1 cup

Preparation

  • First, break the egg into a clean bowl and add the salt. You will have to gently whisk the mixture.
  • To this, add the quinoa flour. Mix well until a dough mixture is formed.
  • You will then have to roll out the dough and flatten it to form a shape of a rectangle. Once this has been done, use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the dough into the shape of your pasta.
  • Your quinoa pasta is ready.
  • You can boil this and make your own pasta based on your preference of sauce.

How to make Quinoa Patties 

Ingredients

  • Two and a half cups of cooked quinoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • One-third cups of grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 pods of garlic
  • One cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 spoon of olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

First, mix the quinoa, salt, and eggs in a clean bowl. To this, you will have to add the onions and garlic, and finally, the grated cheese. Mix this well. Then, add in the bread crumbs. Let this mixture sit for a while so that the bread crumbs can absorb any moisture that might be present. After a while, you will have to make small patties with this dough.

In a pan, add a few drops of olive oil and once the oil is hot, place around four to six patties based on the size of your pan. Shallow fry the patties. Once it turns a nice shade of golden brown flip the patties over to the next side. Your patties are ready!

Quinoa Recipes – Indian

We’ve added some quinoa recipes with a desi touch as well! Read on…

Quinoa and mixed vegetable pulav

Quinoa can easily be used as a substitute for rice. You can use boiled quinoa instead of rice while making pulav. You can easily make a vegetable quinoa pulav. Here is an easy recipe, from Sanjeev Kapoor.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa, soaked and drained
  • ½ cup shredded spinach
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 French beans, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder

Preparation

  • Heat oil, add cumin seeds. When they are fried and release aroma, add in onions and saute until translucent.
  • Add carrots, beans, corn kernels, mushrooms and salt. Saute on high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add quinoa, mix well with vegetables.
  • Add turmeric, chilli and garam masala powder. Mix well.
  • Add spinach and 3 cups of water. Boil until quinoa is completely done.
  • Serve hot.

Quinoa Poha

Here is another easy quinoa recipe by Sanjeev Kapoor.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 2 small potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons roasted and crushed peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons scraped fresh coconut

Preparation

  • Rinse and boil quinoa in two cups of water. Cover after 20 minutes.
  • Heat oil, add mustard seeds. When they start to sputter, add curry leaves and saute.
  • Add onions. Saute until golden brown.
  • Add turmeric powder and green chillies. Saute well.
  • Add boiled potatoes, mix well.
  • Add boiled quinoa. Salt and mix well.
  • Take it off the pan and let it cool for a while. Mix in peanuts, coconut and coriander. Serve hot.

How to cook quinoa in a rice cooker

You can easily use quinoa as a substitute for rice – it is definitely a healthier option. The best part is, you can make it easily in your rice cooker  Here is how you do this –

Ingredients

  • One cup of quinoa
  • Two cups of water
  • Half a spoon of salt

Preparation

First, rinse your quinoa in water to remove any impurities that might be there. Put the quinoa in a rice cooker and add two cups of water. You will then have to add the salt. Close the lid of the cooker and put the whistle. Your quinoa should be done in around twenty to thirty minutes. In most cases, this will be around six to eight whistles. Please note that quinoa, when boiled, increases in size. Therefore, one cup of quinoa before boiling will make three to four cups after it has been boiled.

Conclusion

Quinoa is a great fruit that is stocked full of proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibers. It is gluten-free and ideal for diabetics. You can easily use quinoa instead of rice while making pulao, upma, and poha. Similarly, it forms a great alternative for pasta, and can easily be used as a base for stir fry and salads. You can try introducing quinoa by starting with these recipes. Thanks to its popularity, you will find quinoa in most food stores.

It is safe to say that quinoa is one of the world healthiest foods. This health food can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, facilitate blood sugar control, prevent cancer, and a whole other list of health benefits.

FAQs on Quinoa

Q1. What is quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a pseudocereal, i.e, it is not a food grain, but the seed of a plant which can be eaten as a cereal. It is a plant native to the Andes region of South America, where it was domesticated thousands of years ago. (1)

Q2. Is quinoa gluten-free?

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, which makes it a popular option for health enthusiasts and people allergic to gluten. It is also rich in protein, fibers, vitamins and flavonoids, which makes it more beneficial than other staple cereals than rice or wheat. (3)

Q3. What is quinoa flour?

Quinoa can also be ground and used as flour. However, bread and baked goods made with quinoa flour are coarser, less fluffy and have a bitter undertaste. (14)

Q4. Is quinoa rich in proteins?

It is rich in proteins and contains all essential amino acids. It is also gluten-free and full of anti-oxidants. Quinoa is considered a “complete food” by many scientists. (5)

Q5. Does quinoa make you lose weight?

As quinoa is rich in proteins and dietary fibres. Scientific evidence shows that food containing protein and fibre cuts down carb consumption, reduces snacking, aids metabolism and reduces weight. (8) Try Quinoa for weight loss and let us know your experience.

Q6. Is quinoa good for diabetes?

Quinoa contains a high amount of dietary fibers and is low on starch and glycemic acids. This makes it good for diabetics. Eating quinoa improves insulin sensitivity and modulates the secretion of certain gut hormones. (9) Try Quinoa for diabetes and let us know your experience.

Q7. Can quinoa prevent cancer?

Studies indicate that quercetin in the diet prevents chemically-induced carcinogenic in white mice. Evidence also suggests that dietary intake of quercetin helps prevent lung cancer. (11)

Q8. How to eat quinoa?

Quinoa can be taken raw, but mostly, it is boiled and eaten like rice. Quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice. It can be added to soups or stews to make them more filling. It can be used as a stir-fry base instead of rice. Quinoa can also be used as a substitute for pasta. It can also be used in a variety of salads. (13)

Q9: Where can I buy Quinoa in India?

While Quinoa is not native to India. It is not readily available in every food and grocery store due to its amazing health benefits. It is also available in Amazon.

Q10: What is the name of Quinoa in Tamil?

Unlike what many of feel when we see Quinoa, it is not a grain. It is a pseudocereal, i.e, it is not a food grain, but the seed of a plant which can be eaten as a cereal.

The appearance of Quinoa is similar to the millets and lot of people in Tamilnadu think it is a native crop to Tamilnadu.

However, Quinoa is not native to India, it has completely different characteristics and profile.

As it is not native to India it has no Indian or Tamil name.

Q11: Can I eat quinoa every day?

Yes, you can eat Quinoa everyday.

I have personally consuming Quinoa flour every day for the last 2 years along with my 10-year-old son and have never faced any digestion problem.

Q12: How much quinoa should I eat?

Excess of any food item is bad. You should sr=trive for a balanced diet.

You can slowly introduce Quinoa to see if it is fine with your digestion system and in my experience, everyone can digest it easily.

Q13: Can celiacs eat quinoa?

Yes, Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and therefore people suffering from celiac disease can easily eat it. (Source)

Q14: What is the name of Quinoa in Telugu?

Unlike what many of feel when we see Quinoa, it is not a grain. It is a pseudocereal, i.e, it is not a food grain, but the seed of a plant which can be eaten as a cereal.

The appearance of Quinoa is similar to the millets and lot of people in Telangana think it is a native crop to the state.

However, Quinoa is not native to India, it has completely different characteristics and profile.

As it is not native to India it has no Indian or Telugu name.

Q15: How to pronounce quinoa?

It is pronounced as “keen-wa”.

Q14: Can you eat quinoa by itself?

Yes, you can.

Q15: Can you eat quinoa raw?

If you want to consume Quinoa raw then you must soak it in water and sprot it before you consume. I am personally not aware of any documentation if it can be eaten raw otherwise.

I am recommending the consumption of raw Quinoa as sprouted seeds and grains have higher nutritional value compared to its dry version. Sprouting breaks down the phytate present in the grains that normally decreases absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body. (Source)

I also recommend you to always cook Quinoa instead of eating it raw. In fact Quinoa will taste better if you cook it before eating it. as it will bring out the flavours.

Q16: What are the most popular ways to eat quinoa?

You can eat Quinoa is multiple ways, you can make bread (including Indian bread or Paratha), replace rice with it and even eat it in the salad.

Q17: What is the name of Quinoa in Marathi?

Unlike what many of feel when we see Quinoa, it is not a grain. It is a pseudocereal, i.e, it is not a food grain, but the seed of a plant which can be eaten as a cereal.

The appearance of Quinoa is similar to Amaranth and it is part of the amaranth family. Therefore a lot of people in Maharastra think it is a native crop to the state.

However, Quinoa is not native to India, it has completely different characteristics and profile.

As it is not native to India it has no Indian or Marathi name.

Q18: Quinoa vs rice, which is better?

Quinoa vs rice, which is better

Quinoa vs rice, which is better

Q19: What is quinoa price in India per kg?

Quinoa grain can be bought easily in India between Rs 200/kg to Rs 300/kg depending on the source and variety.

Q20: Do I need to wash Quinoa before consumption?

Quinoa should always be pre-washed if you want to add it to your meal as it contains remnants of bitter-tasting saponins, which acts as a natural pesticide.

References:

  1. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.): composition, chemistry, nutritional, and functional properties NCBI
  2. Lost crops of the Incas: little-known plants of the Andes with promise for worldwide cultivation National Academy Press
  3. Nutrition facts and functional potential of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd.), an ancient Andean grain: a review NCBI
  4. Quinoa breaches the boundaries of outer space FAO
  5. Total antioxidant capacity and content of flavonoids and other phenolic compounds in canihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule): an Andean pseudocereal NCBI
  6. Quercetin transiently increases energy expenditure but persistently decreases circulating markers of inflammation in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet NCBI
  7. Properties of starch and dietary fibre in raw and processed quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Willd) seeds NCBI
  8. Effect on blood lipids of very high intakes of fibre in diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol NCBI
  9. Metabolic effects of dietary fibre consumption and prevention of diabetes NCBI
  10. In vitro starch digestibility and in vivo glucose response of gluten-free foods and their gluten counterparts NCBI
  11. Multitargeted cancer prevention by quercetin NCBI
  12. Effects of roasting and boiling of quinoa, kiwicha and kañiwa on composition and availability of minerals in vitro NCBI
  13. The Nutrition Source Harvard Health
  14. Quinoa flour in baked products NCBI
  15. Quinoa Salad Mayo Clinic
  16. Quinoa risotto with arugula and parmesan Mayo Clinic

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