(NaturalNews) Quinoa is perhaps one of the most perfect non-animal sources of protein on the planet. What makes quinoa (pronounce keen-wah) unique is that it is the only plant based source of complete protein. "Complete" means that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that are crucial to human function and health.
Quinoa is a favorite of vegans for this reason. The vegan diet often can fall short of protein, especially complete protein sources, and quinoa fills this void quite nicely. Not only is quinoa excellent for vegans, but it is also a wonderful option for those that follow a gluten free diet, since it is completely gluten free.
While quinoa is considered by most people to be a grain because it cooks up much like a grain would, it is actually a seed. When cooked, it has a wonderful nutty sort of flavor and is noted for the fine white string-like casing that is visible only when fully cooked.
How Do You Cook Quinoa?
You cook quinoa exactly as you would cook brown rice. The measurements are two parts water to one part quinoa. For instance, if you were cooking 1 cup of dry quinoa, you would cook it in 2 liquid cups of water. It usually takes about twenty minutes to fully cook once the water comes to a boil.
You want to be careful not to overcook it, as it can become soft and lose its shape if cooked for too long. The flavor also suffers if it is overcooked.
Quinoa is wonderful when paired with lightly steamed broccoli and some cubed avocado, and a bit of sea salt. You can also serve it cold with diced fresh organic tomatoes and some natural southwestern or Mexican-style seasoning for a south of the border taste.
What Are Some of the Other Health Benefits of Quinoa?
Aside from being an excellent non-animal source of protein, quinoa contains many essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It is rich in manganese, which is pivotal in activating enzymes vital to efficiently metabolizing carbohydrates, and cholesterol. It is also vital to bone development and maintenance.
Quinoa is also rich in lysine. Lysine is one of the essential amino acids of the nine, and it plays an important role in the absorption of calcium and the formation of collagen. It is also thought to be useful for the prevention of herpes breakouts and cold sores in some people.
Quinoa is considered to be an excellent alternative to other grain foods that contribute to the growth of candida. Candida is a "bad bacteria" that causes or contributes to a range of health problems, most notably digestion and elimination issues in the human body. Quinoa is thought to be a "good bacteria" for the gut, the intestines and the colon.
It is also a food that is on the low end of the glycemic index. This makes it a great choice for those with blood sugar issues, and if you're watching you're weight, it's a great addition to a balanced diet.
Danna Norek is the owner and primary contributor for several natural health blogs and websites, where she frequently shares her experiences and knowledge on herbal supplements, natural remedies, vitamins, and healthy lifestyle habits. You can find information on a 100% natural, chemical free deodorant here at Natural Effective Deodorant and an all natural sebum-neutralizing, SLS, paraben and chemical free Acne Soap with lavender, lemongrass and tea tree essential oils here at All Natural Acne Soap.