In the past few years, quinoa has increased in popularity as a protein-filled, gluten-free ancient grain. But unlike grains such as wheat and barley, quinoa plants grow edible seeds, which boast an impressive nutritional profile. They not only contain a fair amount of protein and fiber, but also important micronutrients, like magnesium, phosphorus, folate, iron, zinc, potassium, and selenium, among others. It’s no wonder people want to learn more quinoa benefits.

Quinoa Benefits

1. Aids in Weight Loss

Yes, really! Because quinoa contains both protein and fiber, it helps you feel full sooner. And those feelings of satiety aid in weight loss. Quinoa benefits cholesterol levels, too. In fact, eating quinoa on a regular basis is associated with weight loss and improved cholesterol levels. A 2014 study found that quinoa consumption led to higher energy expenditure, better glucose processing, and less dietary fat absorption. (1)

2. Is Gluten-Free

Almost all baked goods use wheat and added gluten. Quinoa, on the other hand, provides the body with gluten-free nutrients. In a 2009 study, patients with celic disease often followed a gluten-free diet that relied heavily on rice as the primary grain source, which was not nutritionally adequate. By changing their primary grain source to quinoa, the patients were able to meet their nutritional needs of protein, iron, calcium, and fiber. In the same way, quinoa also benefits those who are non-celiac gluten sensitive. (2)

3. May Help Fight Cancer

Studies suggest that quinoa benefits may include the ability to help fight cancer. Quinoa is packed with disease-fighting antioxidants that may help treat and prevent cancer, including controversial saponins. On occasion or with sensitive groups, saponins may negatively impact the lining of the intestines and contribute to leaky gut syndrome. However, saponins also show promising results for their ability to cause cell death in cancer cells. (3)

4. Supports Heart Health

As you may have guessed, quinoa benefits a healthy heart. Why? For one, it contains about four grams of fat per cup, made up of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. Quinoa also contains potassium, which naturally lowers blood pressure and helps reduce the risk of stroke. (4)

Quinoa Benefits

5. Provides the Body with Antioxidants

Thanks to the powerful antioxidants it contains, quinoa benefits include protection against cardiovascular disease, as well as cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes. The antioxidants in quinoa help fight inflammation to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Have you head of the ORAC score? Well, quinoa is in line with fresh blueberries, if you can believe it. Of course, that’s uncooked quinoa, but there are still a lot of beneficial nutrients left after cooking. (5)

6. Improves Gut Health

Quinoa benefits include the ability to improve gut health. Stay with me here. So a 2016 study looked at quinoa and amaranth for their function as prebiotics, which fuel the beneficial bacteria living in the gut. Your gut bacteria (microbiome) feed on prebiotics and produce butyrate. Quinoa has the fiber that your microbiome likes to eat. Therefore, eating quinoa helps to produce butyrate. And butyrate helps lower inflammation levels, which can help reduce the risk of IBS, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. (6)

7. Supports Bone Health

Quinoa benefits include the ability to support bone health, but your bones need more than calcium to be strong. While quinoa does boast some calcium, it also contains a healthy dose of manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, all of which play a role in maintaining healthy bones. In fact, the nutrients in quinoa can help prevent osteoporosis. and protect against certain postmenopausal symptoms (7)

8. Reduces the Risk of Diabetes

Even though it’s called a pseudo-grain, quinoa benefits include a reduced risk of diabetes. The manganese it contains helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels while fighting insulin resistance. Quinoa can also help fight a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium sufficiency is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Just one cup of quinoa contains about one-third of your daily magnesium needs. (8)

Try this delicious breakfast bowl tomorrow morning!  :)