Quinoa—Not Quite a Grain
Often considered to be a grain, Quinoa suffers from an identity crisis. It is actually the seed of a green vegetable similar to spinach and Swiss Chard. Once you’ve experienced the fluffy, creamy and nutty like texture and flavor of quinoa, you won’t be thinking it’s a grain, but rather a unique food worthy of its own classification.

The nutritional merits of quinoa were well known even as far back as the Incas, in the Andes of South America, who referred to quinoa as gold and “the mother of all grains.” Inca warriors ate it to increase their stamina. Like most seeds, which are essentially the ‘egg’ of the plant, quinoa is a very nutritious little bundle. One of its most important nutritional components is its very high “complete” protein content, meaning it has all the essential amino acids required by humans. This makes quinoa a good choice for vegetarians and vegans looking to boost the protein levels in their diet. The United Nations has classified it as a super crop due to its high protein content.

Besides having an excellent protein content, quinoa is also a significant source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous. Quinoa is gluten free and easy to digest, which makes it appropriate for those with wheat allergies.

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