Post some Real Talk and Personal Stories – it is time for me to talk about “Healthy Living!” (Yes, you heard me!) Keeping in mind the extra pounds gained over the festive season and carrying on with my pathway to healthful life – this feels like an appropriate thing to do. (Damn! These new year RESOLUTIONS!) Hence, the idea of – Healthy Food Series – where I will share, address and talk about some healthy food options available in the market (hopefully on a weekly basis.) From talking about their health benefits to discussing the background of a particular food product and a bonus sumptuous recipe, this series aims at making you (and me) more aware and watchful of the foodstuff that we consume.
“Just like keeping a healthy diet is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating the right foods is just as important for getting the most out of your workout.”
– Marcus Samuelsson
Our star of the day for Healthy Food Series is – QUINOA!
History – Quinoa dates back three to four thousand years ago when the Incas first realized that the quinoa seed was fit for human consumption. According to WHFoods quinoa “was the gold of the Incas” because the Incas believed it increased the stamina of their warriors. The Quinoa Corporation calls quinoa the “Super-grain of the Future.” Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a pseudo-cereal which means that it is basically a “seed” which is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain. It even comes in three colors, white, red, and black! Even though it has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, it wasn’t till recently that it gained the “super-food status.”
Nutrient Content – This is the nutrient content in 1 cup of cooked quinoa (185 grams)
Protein : 8 grams
Fiber : 5 grams
Manganese : 58% of the RDA
Magnesium : 30% of the RDA
Phosphorus : 28% of the RDA
Folate : 19% of the RDA
Copper : 18% of the RDA
Iron : 15% of the RDA
Zinc : 13% of the RDA
Potassium : 9% of the RDA
Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2 and B6 and small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin) and vitamin E.
This is coming with a total of 222 calories, with 39 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat. It also contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
Health Benefits –
1 Quinoa contains 10% of your day’s requirement for fiber, which you need for your digestive health. The fiber in it makes you feel full, reduces cholesterol absorption and also reduces the risk and severity of gastrointestinal infection and inflammation.
2 Quinoa is gluten-free! Despite all that protein, none is gluten, which means it is an excellent whole grain for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
3 Quinoa is rich in Vitamins A, B, C, and E. These vitamins play an important role in metabolism, regulating cell growth and development and improving vision.
4 Quinoa is high in protein. It has a higher protein content than barley, oat, rice and corn. It is complete protein – which means quinoa gives you all the 10 essential amino acids needed for adult nutrition.
5 Quinoa seed oil contains polyunsaturated fats with a higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio than other plant oils. Other essential fatty acids in quinoa contribute to brain development, insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular health, immunity, and membrane function.
Recipe – Though there is no distinct way to eat quinoa, my personal favorite is a bowl-full of “Quinoa Salad!” (Recipe inspired from CookieandKate)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander
2 cups water
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
¾ cup chopped red onion (from 1 small red onion)
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (from 1 large bunch)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 To cook the quinoa: Combine the rinsed quinoa and the water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes, reducing heat as time goes on to maintain a gentle simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, to give it time to fluff up.
2 In a large serving bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and parsley. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and salt. Whisk until blended, then set aside.
3 Once the quinoa is mostly cool, add it to the serving bowl, and drizzle the dressing on top. Toss until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Season with black pepper, to taste, and add an extra pinch of salt if necessary.
4 For best flavor, let the salad rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
5 This salad keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 4 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Here’s to clean living and a healthy lifestyle! Cheers!