Quinoa has been on the American plate for a few years now. Exactly what is it and how healthy is it?
It’s history begins in its native region of the Andes Mountains of South America. The Incas regarded it as a “sacred” crop or “mother of all grains.” It is not a member of the grass family so it is not a true grain or cereal; it is a seed. It continues to be a staple crop in South America that provides good sources of protein and other nutrients. One cup of cooked quinoa contains: 222 calories, 8 grams of protein, 3.6 grams of fat, 39.4 grams of carbohydrate, 5.2 grams of fiber and 318 mg of potassium. It also is a good source of the B vitamins, folate, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Quinoa can substitute in many grain dishes. It can be used to replace rice, and may even be nutritionally superior. It is also used as a hot breakfast cereal and is gluten-free.