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Quinoa: The treasure of the Incas

Quinoa: The treasure of the Incas

Quinoa is a shrub cultivated for its seeds, which are edible. There are three types of quinoa, white, red, and black. Its scientific name is Chenopodium quinoa. It comes from South America (Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia), and its consumption became widely known 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. For the Incas it was the "mother of all seeds" and it was considered sacred. It was their basic food along with potatoes and corn. In recent years, it has “invaded” Western cuisine as a "superfood" because of its high nutritional value. In addition, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has formally stated that 2013 has been recognized as "Quinoa International Year".


1 cup of tea (180 g) of cooked Quinoa Nutrients % of daily requirements

Manganese 58% (1.2 mg)

30% Magnesium (118 mg)

Phosphorus 28% (281 mg)

Folic acid 19% (77.7 mcg)

Copper 18% (0.4 mg)

Iron 15% (2.8 mg)

Zinc 13% (2.0 mg)

Vitamin B1 13% (0.2 mg)

Vitamin B2 12% (0.2 mg)

Vitamin B6 11% (0.2 mg)

Also, the 180g provide the body 222 calories, 39 grams carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 8.1 grams protein, 5 grams of fiber and minor amounts of calcium, vitamin B3 and Q. Contains gluten and are usually organic product


• contains a high concentration of flavonoids (up 36,2 144,3 mg / 100 g food product, especially Quercetin and Kaempferol), these substances have antioxidant, antiinflammatory, antiviral and antitumor activity.

• Its fiber content ranges from 10-16 g / 100 g or 17-27 g / 1 cup of raw Quinoa, a content much higher than most cereals.

• Does not contain gluten and can be used by people who are intolerant. It is contemplated that the Quinoa is better option compared to the potato, corn and rice flour as it can provide a higher amount of protein, iron, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants.

• Contains all "essential" amino acids and is considered as "complete" protein. Most plant foods lag behind important amino acids, such as lysine. Provides 8 g of protein

'High biological value' per cup of cooked Quinoa or 4.5 g per 100 g and can be a key source of protein for vegetarians.

• It has a low glycemic index which means it does not increase blood sugar levels and can be consumed by diabetic patients. Of course it should be consumed with great care if it has high amounts of carbohydrates. In a recent study (2004) found that the Quinoa in relation to pasta and bread without gluten reduces much more sugar levels, insulin and triglycerides in the blood.

• Contains many minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, etc. but which have a reduced absorption due to the content of phytic acid. However, if you soak Quinoa in water before cooking, you can reduce the vegetable acid content and thus increase the bioavailability of the metallic elements.

• It has a high oxalate content that reduces calcium absorption and should be consumed with care from people with kidney stones.

• They are rich in antioxidants that contribute significantly to the fight against aging and many diseases. It appears to have a higher content of these substances than other cereals, pseudocereals and legumes.

• 25% of the fatty acids contained in Quinoa are in the form of oleic acid, which has beneficial effects on the heart and 8% in the form of alpha-linolenic acid or ALA which has been associated with reduced risk of inflammation.


If you want to integrate Quinoa into your diet you need to know how to make it. First you have to rinse it thoroughly with water to remove the saponins found on the outer casing and give it a bitter taste. Put in a saucepan 2 cups of water, 1 cup Quinoa and a little salt, let it boil for 15-20 minutes. When boiled it must have absorbed most of the water.


• Quinoa flakes can be eaten for breakfast with fruit, milk or yogurt

• Add fruits and nuts to cooked Quinoa and consume it as a breakfast.

• Combine it with beans, pumpkin seeds, onions and coriander.

• Replace pasta recipes with Quinoa.

• Add Quinoa to vegetable soups

• You can cook biscuits, muffin, cakes, pasta, bread, Quinoa flour pies

• When making dabs, replace the Quinoa groat