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Quinoa: 5 Things You Didn’t Know (Number 4 is a Bit Scary)

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-WA”) has been a staple food in the Andes for thousands of years. In the last decade quinoa has been “discovered” by the rest of the world. It is now a must-have in any health-focused household in America. We’ve all heard how amazing quinoa is. Here are a few important things to know.

1. Quinoa is a complete protein. A complete protein contains all 9 essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein in the body. Quinoa is one of the only plant sourcces of protein that is complete. A 1-cup serving has 8 grams of protein, making it a favorite with vegetarians and vegans.

2. Quinoa is gluten free. Quinoa isn’t a true grain, and has thus become a friend to many people with celiac disease and sensitivity to gluten.

3. Quinoa is a great source of iron. Many people believe that red meat is the only good source of iron. Meet quinoa, where a 1-cup serving has 38% of the daily value! To improve the absorption of the iron, make sure to eat a source of vitamin C alongside the quinoa.

4. Quinoa leaves and fruit are coated with a toxin called saponin. It minimizes the need for pesticide in the fields, but can cause digestive aches in some people. Saponin has a bitter, soapy taste that some are more sensitive to than others.To avoid any risks, rinse your quinoa thoroughly in a mesh strainer before cooking.

5. Cooking with quinoa is child’s play. One cup of dry quinoa yields 3 cups of fluffy cooked quinoa. Add a cup of rinsed quinoa to 2 cups of boiling water in a covered saucepan. Bring to boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and wait 5 more minutes. Enjoy as a side dish, added to salad, or in your soup.

What’s your favorite quinoa recipe?

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