Quinoa is an edible grain-like seed which comes from a plant which has been grown for thousands of years around the Andes mountains in South America.In the UK, quinoa is known as one of the standout health food trends of the 21st century.
So, is quinoa good for you? Yes - quinoa known for being super-healthy and prized by health experts for its nutrient profile.
But is quinoa keto? Is quinoa low carb? What exactly are quinoa’s credentials? Read on to find out more.
Here is a lowdown of some quinoa nutrition facts:
Of course, adding butter, oil, cheese or other accompaniments will ramp up the calories of your quinoa dish. If you’re watching your weight, try our Warm Green Vegetable Quinoa salad
What’s more, the protein in quinoa is what’s known as a ‘complete’ protein, meaning that it contains the full range of essential amino acids needed to build healthy muscle, skin and other bodily tissues.
Complete proteins are rare in plant foods, which is part of the reason why quinoa is known as a superfood.
If you’re wondering - quinoa technically isn’t part of a strict ketogenic (or ‘keto’) diet due to the carbohydrate content.
Quinoa doesn’t contain any wheat whatsoever, so is a naturally gluten-free food.
Check the label if you’re allergic to wheat as sometimes quinoa is packed in factories which also handle wheat.
People often wonder whether they’d be better off with a serving of couscous or quinoa. On the surface, the two foods seem very similar.
They’re both low in fat and make great options as part of a balanced plate. Couscous is slightly lower in both calories and fat than quinoa.
However, couscous is made from white durum wheat semolina which counts as a simple carbohydrate, whereas quinoa (remember, it’s a seed), is a rich source of complex carbohydrates.
Quinoa is higher in protein and contains more nutrients like magnesium and iron than couscous.
Quinoa is more natural, as it is harvested directly from the plant without any processing. Couscous on the other hands is made from bleached durum wheat formed into tiny balls using mechanical means.
In conclusion, quinoa comes out on top over couscous as having a mightier nutritional profile, more protein and complex rather than refined carbohydrates.
Quinoa can be used as a replacement for rice, couscous, bulgur wheat or pasta.
When cooked with stock, it can be served as a delicious savoury accompaniment to vegetables, used in a salad or even in baking.
Last updated: 11 August 2020