Quinoa used to be unheard of in the american food culture and over the last 10 years has really made a name for itself in the health food world and in our tummies! In the grain family, it is most known for its large protein properties that leave you full and fueled!
The nutrient composition is favourable compared with common cereals. Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine and acceptable quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
After harvest, the seeds must be processed to remove the coating containing the bitter-tasting saponins. The seeds are in general cooked the same way as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. The leaves are eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but commercial availability of quinoa greens is limited.
Quinoa grain has been called a superfood, a term which is not in common use by dietitians and nutrition scientists. Protein content is very high for a cereal/pseudo-cereal (14% by mass), but not as high as most beans and legumes. The protein content per 100 calories is higher than brown rice, potatoes, barley and millet, but is less than wild rice and oats. Nutritional evaluations indicate that quinoa is a source of complete protein.Other sources claim its protein is not complete but relatively high in essential amino acids.
Quinoa is a rich source (>20% of the Daily value, DV) of the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and folate and is a rich source of the dietary minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Quinoa is also a good source (10-19% of DV) of the B vitamins niacin and pantothenic acid, vitamin E, and the dietary mineral potassium. The pseudo cereal contains a modest amount of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. It is gluten-free and considered easy to digest.