5 Health Benefits of Quinoa as a Prebiotic Food

Health benefits of Quinoa as a superfood comes down to two important factors that I’ll discuss in this article.

  •  It has a rich nutritional profile and
  • . Environmental stress tolerant properties

Health Benefits of Quinoa (Pronounced as Keen-wah) you should know:
Quinoa also known as ‘Mother Grain’ is a psuedo-cereal (not a grain but a fruit) lauded for its prebiotic health benefits originating in Andean region of South America. With  many health benefits, it is an excellent grain to have in your diet.

 Nutritional Profile of Quinoa: 1 cup cooked (185g)

Calories: 222 Kcal, Carbohydrate: 39 g, Protein: 8 g, Fiber: 5 g, Fat: 4 g

Healthy Quinoa Salad Recipe:

Revamp your unhealthy food choices with a healthy Quinoa salad. Packed with antioxidants, complete protein and fiber, quinoa is a gluten-free grain.

You can enjoy this salad topped with nuts and fruits also.

Health Benefits of Quiona

Ingredients:

1 cup Quinoa, boiled

1/2 cup carrot, chopped

1 tsp chopped ginger

1 tsp chopped green coriander

1/2 cup cucumber, sliced

1/2 cup spring onion, chopped

1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped

For Dressing:

4 tbs Lemon juice

2 tbs olive oil

1 tbs Sesame seeds

salt as per taste

Directions:

  1. Add all the finely chopped vegetables to the quinoa in a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle olive oil to the mixture and garnish with green coriander and sesame seeds.

Setting it Apart:

Quinoa is a superfood that confers health benefits to humans due to its prebiotic potential. A prebiotic is a specific nutrient and food component positively affect the biological functions of the body.
Bioactive substances have the potential to cure a variety of diseases as they provide medicinal and health benefits.
It aids in growth and development, regulation of metabolism and defense against oxidative stress.

Prebiotics:

Prebiotic food is dietary compounds mainly fiber that promote good bacteria and intestinal health. They are non-digestible fermentable carbohydrate (oligosaccharide).

Prebiotics thrives good bacteria within the gut to confer health benefits to the host.

 How to classify food ingredients as Prebiotic:

  • Fermentation by gut flora
  • Confer health benefits to host
  • Stimulation of probiotics selectively
  • Stable on food processing treatments
    The commonly used Prebiotic Fibers are Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), Xylo-oligosaccharides and Gentio-oligosaccharides (XOS) and Lactulose.

Functions of Prebiotics: Prebiotics are available in both supplement and natural form, but powdered form is stable to heat, acid, and cold.

Prebiotic effects of Quinoa:
Quinoa has nutraceutical benefits due to its high content of amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), vitamins, minerals, fiber, carotenoids, and polyphenols.

Quinoa is a good source of oxyprenylated umbelliferone and ferulic acid derivatives.

Consumption of Quinoa helps in improving dysbiosis of gut microbiota (a condition in which there are less good bacteria in the gut that facilitates digestion).

In an experiment done on mice showed a decrease in levels of harmful E.Coli, Shigella and dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) induced dysbiosis and improves intestinal health.

Quinoa (known as Chenopodium quinoa) is a pseudocereal and a native crop in the Andean region of South America. In recent years, its higher consumption is due to its high nutritious value which comes with a lot of benefits and health-boosting effects.

A randomized trial proposed effects of quinoa on serum lipids, hormone, and body composition in overweight and obese individual. The finding showed that on consumption of 50g of quinoa per day lowered serum triglycerides (TGs) in obese and overweight participants.

Around 70 % of reductions in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome were also observed.

Quinoa is one of the superfoods identified to affect BMI, blood pressure, glucose and HDL levels due to its prebiotic health benefits.

It is an alternative plant protein source over animal proteins. It is a rich source of protein due to the balance of the essential amino acid profile.

The total essential amino acid is 41.5g/16gN in pearled quinoa in minimally processed commercial products.

Quinoa may be bitter in taste due to the presence of saponins (anti-nutritional factor) that hinders digestion and absorption of nutrients. Thoroughly rinse under cold water or soak in water for about 8 hours to remove them.

Phytoecdysteroids, an active compound in Quinoa is involved in pharmacological effects in humans and plant defense.

          5 Naturopathic Health Benefits of Quinoa in Humans:

  1. Quinoa and Celiac Disease/ Gluten Intolerance: Consumption of quinoa is better tolerated by people who suffer from gluten sensitivity. Quiona along with buckwheat and amaranth is a potential gluten-free and healthy diet. Quinoa is a better food alternative for people having gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Consumption of 50 gram of quinoa has beneficial effects as per studies.
  2. Quinoa and Type 2 Diabetes: Quiona ranks low on GI (Glycemic index) food range about 35-53 depending upon the cooking time. A study showed that a low GI diet that included Quiona lowered HbA1c levels over high fiber cereals by 50% and increased good cholesterol levels (HDL).
  3. Quinoa and CVD: Quiona helps in reduction of total serum cholesterol, LDL, triglyceride, and glucose by 26%, 57%, 11%, and 10% respectively in a 5-week study done on 24 male Wistar rats. In another 4-week study done on overweight and postmenopausal women showed the positive effect of quinoa flakes (25g) in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) and total serum cholesterol over cornflakes consumption.
  4. Quinoa and Obesity: Quiona consumption helps control body weight. Due to its high content of dietary fiber that includes 78% of insoluble fiber and 22% of soluble fiber facilitates weight reduction.
  5. Quinoa and Autoimmune disease: The presence of 6:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid in quinoa, makes it more desirable in reducing inflammation. High content of unsaturated fats in quiona leads to a reduction in autoimmune diseases and metabolic disorders such as CVD and type 2 diabetes.
       

Environmental Stress tolerant properties:

  • Quiona is a sustainable plant low in water, carbon, and ecological footprints. This makes quinoa an excellent alternative protein source over beef.

         Have you tried any Quiona recipe at home? Do share your views.

Note: The product is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease.             Always consult your doctor or dietician for more information.

10 Superfoods to Add to your Diet this Winter

Superfoods

Superfoods for your Health

This article focuses on functional foods or ‘Superfoods‘ often a misnomer as touted by the media. Firstly, the functional foods are effective and non-toxic. Secondly, provide clinically proven health benefits for prevention and management or treatment of chronic diseases.

Functional foods or superfoods are the foods in which specific nutrients and food components positively impact target functions or biological responses in the body. In addition, superfoods perform the following functions-
1. Growth and development
2. Defense against oxidative stress
3. Regulate basic metabolic processes etc.

With enhanced health and wellness consciousness among consumers, functional foods can turn the table for you.
For instance, gingerone from ginger, curcumin from turmeric is an arsenal of anti-oxidants. So consequently, protect against biological aging, environmental toxins, and free radicals inducing changes in DNA.

Superfoods list-

1. Ginger

Ginger is the main ingredient in beverages consumed in all seasons but largely in winters. Therefore, prevents nausea, cold and flu due to its therapeutic properties.

Contain anti-coughing and anti-inflammatory properties. A common spice you can find in every kitchen to season your food.

How to include them in the meal– Try ginger in tea, add freshness of ground ginger in your food as a flavor enhancer. Moreover, powdered form is used in making ginger sweets and ginger cakes.
Tip- Use ginger in moderation as its excess may cause diarrhea or heartburn.

2. Turmeric

Curcumin, an active ingredient of turmeric makes it a potent source of anti-inflammatory properties. In short, it has been known since ancient times for its medicinal properties to cure winter blues.
How to include them in the meal- Turmeric is a great flavoring agent, gives vibrant color in your diet and one of the ingredients of natural preservatives.

3. Avocado

Avocado is loaded with monosaturated fatty acid and fiber for heart health. Above all, avocado have more potassium content than a banana. Also, contain tartaric acid compound.
How to include them in the meal- Avocados forms the best party salad to start healthy, also in soup, shakes, and as toppings to your food.

Tip- Experts suggests leaves, seeds, flesh or peel of avocado fights metabolic syndrome.

4. Kiwi

Kiwi is a pack of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, potassium and fiber. In addition, it contain actinidin enzyme that improves digestion of protein-rich foods.
How to include them in the meal- Can be eaten raw, can blend to refreshing squash drink, as topping in a salad, used in the dried form and as supplements.

5. Nuts

Nuts are a great source of plant protein lauded for its health benefits for instance, walnut, almonds, pecans. Loaded with monosaturated fats, an effective way to reduce the risk of heart disease.

How to include them in the meal- They are calorie dense so add a handful of it in oatmeal or yogurt or as trail mix. Nuts are a super accompaniment to salad dressing or snacks.

6. Brussels Sprouts

Rich in antioxidants, vitamin K and fiber, a good source of ALA omega-3 fatty acid. Fights inflammation and cancer, and stabilize blood sugar levels.

How to include them in the meal- You can make brussels sprouts tasty and interesting to eat when roasted or glazed in honey

7. Gooseberry

Gooseberry is a profuse source of vitamin C (Ascorbic acid), a powerhouse of antioxidants to get rid of free radicals, detoxify the liver and enhance nutrient absorption.
How to include them in the meal- Gooseberry can be used in a variety such as juice, jam, pickle, can add a dash of dried gooseberry in soups and curries.

8. Lemon

People generally know that lemons contain citric acid or you can say a good source of vitamin C more than the limes. Improves immune health and helps to make collagen and healthy skin and tissues.

How to include them in the meal- Lemon are used in making sorbets, squashes, juices, as lime zest to add flavor to the dishes.

9. Yogurt

Yogurt is a good source of probiotics, contain calcium and promote healthy gut bacteria.
How to include them in the meal- A dollop of yogurt to your salad and dips recipes and star ingredient of parfait recipe. It is a flavor enhancer and promotes good bacteria for your gut health.

10. Oranges

A citrus fruit maintains low blood pressure, high in fiber, low in calories and high in anti-oxdant properties.

How to include them in meal- Oranges can be used as juices, orange flavored ice-cream, orange biscuits, pies, candy, marmalades, sorbets, sauces and salads, orange zest to add flavors to food.

The Takeaway-

Research suggests consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables in a natural state for better cognitive health rather processed (canned, frozen or cooked).