Quinoa is a grain-like crop that is grown for its edible seeds. It is often mistaken for a type of cereal or grain but it is actually a member of the family that contains Swiss chard, spinach and beets. Researchers refer to quinoa as a “pseudocereal” as it is not a grass but can still be ground into flour.
Quinoa is highly nutritious. According to WH Foods, research has shown that quinoa is rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients (that help lower the risk of cancer), fiber and protein. The anti-inflammatory nutrients in quinoa has also shown to lower the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It is also a gluten-free substitute for those who are allergic to wheat products.
The United Nations declared 2013 the International Year of the Quinoa because of its nutritional attributes as well as its adaptability in growing in different agro-ecological regions. It can withstand humidity and hot and cold temperatures. It is also highly water efficient and tolerant of lack of soil moisture, yet it can still grow in high rainfall areas. Essentially, quinoa has strategic value in global food and nutritional security.
Want to cook quinoa but not sure how? Check out our quinoa salad with black bean and corn recipe.