Shawn Johnson's The Body Department - 7 Reasons Quinoa Should be your new best friend
Christina Strudwick

7 Reasons to Eat Quinoa

Ken-wah? Kwuh-no-uh? Kwin-awh? It’s actually Keen-wah, but no matter how you pronounce it, this is why you should consider making this grain your new best friend.

Here are the top 7 benefits of including quinoa regularly in your diet:

1. Protein-rich grain:
Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein. This is very rare for a grain/carbohydrate source to contain since many of them have little protein to provide in the first place. When talking about essential amino acids, those are the amino acids the body needs and cannot produce on its own… therefore making them “essential” to get through food. Quinoa is an excellent protein source for vegetarians and vegans since they do not consume meat, which is where most people obtain a complete protein source. Since it comes from the spinach family, quinoa is also gluten-free.

2.  2x the fiber:
Quinoa provides 2x the fiber of most grains! A 1/2 cup of quinoa provides 6-7g fiber, while the same serving of brown rice provides ~2-3g, whole grain pasta provides ~3g and regular pasta provides ~1g. Not only does fiber help with digestion, but it also keeps cholesterol low, balances blood sugar and keeps you feeling full from one meal to the next.

3. Antioxidants:
Quinoa is full of a few different antioxidants with quercetin being the main star! Many people have heard of quercetin as a supplement from popular TV shows, but the best way to consume it is through food. It’s usually found in blueberries, apples & grapes. This antioxidants helps fight inflammation & disease.

4. Magnesium:
This mineral is required for athletes to function well! It helps support optimal metabolism, cardiovascular function & blood vessel function. Don’t forget – hydration isn’t just about sodium & potassium… magnesium plays a role with hydrating too! 1 cup of quinoa provides ~335mg magnesium – almost 100% of daily requirements! (Daily optimal intake ranges from 360-410mg)

5. Headaches:
Who knew that quinoa might help with headaches? A 3/4 cup of quinoa provides 15% of your B2 needs for the day. This vitamin helps with blood vessel expansion helping to relieve headaches or migraines.

6. Omega-3:
This grain does contain some fat, but most of it is from omega-3 leading to better brain health!

7. Disease-Fighting:
With a high fiber content & high antioxidants, quinoa helps remove plaque from the arteries leading to a decreased risk of stroke and/or heart disease.

Need another reason? Here’s one, quinoa is also really easy to cook. All you have to do is treat it like you would pasta or rice. I like to boil it in chicken broth instead of water for extra flavor, then add a little salt, pepper and olive oil and your done!

*This post was originally published on Christina’s website, theFueledAthlete. For more from Christina visit www.thefueledathlete.com.

Christina Strudwick, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a Sports Dietitian with a focus on helping others fuel their bodies with quality nutrition. She is passionate about pushing athletes of all levels to meet their individual goals by focusing on body composition, meal planning, hydration, recovery and supplementation. Visit her at The Fueled Athlete!

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