Quinoa nutrition content is excellent. In fact there can be little doubt that one of the main reasons quinoa has gained such wide appeal in the last few years is because of it's excellent health benefits, particularly for anyone on a gluten free diet, suffering from diabetes or generally interested in foods low in the glycemic index.
So what are the benefits of quinoa?
Quinoa's protein content is probably the main reason that we vegetarians are so enamoured with it. Compared with couscous, rice or other grains - although quinoa is technically a seed - quinoa is an excellent source of protein. 80g or ½ cup of uncooked quinoa contains around 12g of protein. This equates to almost one quarter of an average person's daily requirements.
But what makes quinoa really stand out is the fact that it is a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. This is a rare occurrence in plants. Quinoa is also particularly rich in lysine, an amino acid which is vital for tissue growth and repair.
Apart from the protein, quinoa is an excellent source of Manganese. This is in fact it's richest attribute. So what's so great about that? Well manganese has many benefits. Among other things, it protects tissues from damage by free radicals, helps maintain strong bones and regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels. A half cup of uncooked quinoa provides about 95% of your daily requirement of manganese.
In addition, quinoa is a very good source of magnesium, iron, calcium and copper. Quinoa is also completely gluten free.
Quinoa is a healthy whole grain food and you should enjoy it guilt-free! If you love to know how many calories are in your food, this is how it pans out. 100g of uncooked quinoa provides 368 calories. In cups, 1 cup provides 626 calories. What that basically means it is pretty much the same, calorie-wise, gram for gram, as eating regular dried pasta or white rice. In terms of protein, vitamins and minerals however, quinoa packs a much heftier punch.
Ok so now it just depends on how much of the stuff you eat! As a side dish to accompany a curry or casserole, I find that ¼ cup is plenty per person. This quantity of quinoa provides 156 calories. By the way, if I am cooking quinoa as a main course dish like a pilaf - which I like to do - then I would allow ½ cup per person.