Beyond Gorgeous

A new wonder grain that is rich in protein and low on the glycemic index?

Well, almost. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) isn’t really new, since it was cultivated by the ancient Incas in the Andes Mountains of South America.  They called it the “Mother Grain.”

And it actually isn’t a grain.  It’s not a grass product, but the seed of a leafy flowering plant.

But the nutritional content is pretty wonderful and it rates a 53 (green for go) on the glycemic index.  That means it won’t cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar level.

Even better, quinoa is a good source of both fiber and protein. The fiber  slows digestion, keeping blood sugar levels stable, and it also helps keep the toxins moving from your system.

Perhaps it’s the protein, though, that makes this food a stand-out. Quinoa has more protein than any other grain. It has 16.2 percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice and 14 percent for wheat.  This protein is of unusually high quality with an amino acid balance close to ideal.  That’s why vegetarians love it.

This seed is rich in B vitamins, iron, calcium and magnesium.  That translates into higher energy levels, and the ingredients for good blood, bones, and teeth. Magnesium helps keep blood sugar stable, helps your body assimilate and use calcium, and helps maintain a good heart rhythm.  It also helps prevent PMS and migraines. That’s a lot for some tiny seeds to deliver!

Eating gluten-free?  No problem!  You can replace those gluten-full grains with quinoa.

Quinoa is rich in lysine, which in turn is important for the production of carnitine.  That nutrient is responsible for turning fatty acids into energy and for lowering cholesterol.

Methionine is another protein-based amino acid found in abundance in quinoa. It assists with metabolic function, breaks down fat, and is the primary source of sulfur in the body.  It is known as a lipotrophic (a fat burner or antioxidant). Methionine is also critical for the removal of heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, from the body — something good to know in our toxic-laden world!   If that isn’t enough to tell you this stuff does good things for you, methionine is also good for your skin and nails.

The third amino acid found in quinoa is cystine, which is sometimes marketed as an anti-aging product. It, too, helps make good connective tissue, skin and nails.  It promotes the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, and works together with glutathione to remove toxins from the liver. Cystine also can help with rheumatoid arthritis pain.

Sounds pretty wonderful, doesn’t it?  So how do we use it?  Just about like any grain.  You can cook it like rice in your rice cooker, and quinoa flour can be used in baking.

You can eat it as a breakfast cereal, or you can fix it as a side dish for dinner.  With a few additions, you can make it a main course.  You see, there are foods out there that are good and good for you!  The trick is to pick the ones that help you instead of hurting you.

Tomorrow we will post a quinoa recipe with a Mexican zing.

Eating to live and living for Christ,

Susan Jordan Brown



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