December 17, 2015

Amazing Skin, Hair and Health Benefits of Quinoa


Love for Quinoa, the gluten-free and nutrient dense alternative for wheat, has grown many folds in the recent past.

Quinoa (say keen-wah), was deemed as the super crop and marked the year 2013 as the “International Year of Quinoa” due to high protein content and other health benefits.

Though it has got the supercrop recognition only lately, it has been considered as the sacred food by Incans for centuries and was consumed especially by warriors for strength and nutrition.


It is available in India, though not grown widely yet. The versatile, quick-cooking and slightly nutty flavored crop is often misunderstood to be a grain when it is actually a seed and a pseudo-grain. It has the same nutrient profile as amaranth, both are gluten-free and pseudo grains.

Nutrient Profile of Quinoa –
Here is a quick run down of the nutrition content of 100gms or half cup of cooked quinoa:
    • Protein: 4 grams.
    • Fiber: 3 grams.
    • Manganese: 32% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)
    • Magnesium: 17% of the RDA.
    • Phosphorus: 15% of the RDA.
    • Folate: 10% of the RDA.
    • Copper: 10% of the RDA.
    • Iron: 8% of the RDA.
    • Zinc: 7% of the RDA.
    • Potassium: 5% of the RDA.
    • Around 5% of the RDA for Vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
    • Small percentage of Calcium, B3 (Niacin) and Vitamin E.
This is along with a total of 120 calories, 21 gms of carbs and 2 gms of fat. It also contains Omega-3 fatty acids in small amount.

Health Benefits

Offers Complete Protein providing all the essential amino acids
Quinoa is one of the rare plant-based foods offering complete protein. It supplies the body with all the required amino acids that it is unable to produce on it own and has to depend on food we eat to supplement it.

This impressive profile of quinoa makes it a preferred choice for vegetarians and vegans, for protein intake as a cup of cooked quinoa contains approx 8 gms of protein.

Gluten-free for individuals with gluten intolerance
People suffering from Celiac disease, extreme gluten intolerance, are often suggested gluten-free diets by nutritionists which includes corn and potato flour products, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa.

Quinoa has become a healthy choice for gluten-free diet seekers as it is rich in nutrients like protein and polyphenols.

Rich in flavonoids
Quinoa contains flavonoids, mainly Quercetin and Kaempferol, which are a type of anti-oxidants. They have higher percentage of anti-oxidants when compared to other whole grains commonly consumed.

These flavonoids are helpful in removing toxins, anti-inflammatory and aids preventing diseases like cancer, heart diseases and arthritis, to name a few.

Loaded with fiber
A cup of uncooked quinoa supplies approx 25% of the recommended daily intake of fiber, which is nearly twice as much as wheat or rice 

Fiber gets it reputation for promoting gut health. It’s also helpful in reducing the risk of cardio vascular diseases by reducing high blood pressure. Fiber lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and aids in healthy weight loss by reducing hunger prangs.

Supports weight loss
Quinoa has properties that are helpful in losing weight. Some of the well known ones are, boosts metabolism due to high protein, reduces appetite resulting from high fiber content and low glycemic index. It is also a low fat option compared to most grains.

Beauty Benefits for Skin and Hair

Anti-aging
The nutritional powerhouse is loaded with anti-oxidants. They are responsible for flushing out toxins and harmful free radicals from the body that can cause several diseases and reduce signs of aging. You can enhance the nutrition by sprouting the seed to increased benefits.

You can prepare a quick quinoa face-pack to reduce sun damage and rejuvenate the skin.

Makes skin supple
Abundant collagen found in quinoa revives your skin and reduces the fine lines and wrinkles. Your skin results in being soft, smooth and looking younger. Vitamin content in quinoa also reduces spots and pigmentation

Fights acne
Quinoa is a natural way to prevents acne which works by reducing the secretion of sebum. Low glycemic index of quinoa is also a factor responsible for preventing acne.

Nourishes hair follicles
A rich source of protein, quinoa is an excellent way to treat your hair problems. Since hair are mostly made of protein, a diet packed with protein will strengthen the roots, reduce thinning and make them healthier.

Treats dandruff
Vitamin E found in quinoa, balances the generation of natural oils, so your scalp and strands stay perfectly moisturized and reduce chances of dandruff. Other nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and iron are also important for moisturizing the scalp.

Prevents Split Ends
The hydrolyzed protein extract from quinoa penetrates through hair cortex and reduces split end creation. It is also responsible for repairing hair and promoting healthy hair growth.

Restores original color of hair
An amino acid known as “tyrosine” is responsible for producing melanin, which is found in abundance in quinoa. Melanin is the pigment that renders hair and skin its color. Since quinoa supplies ample tyrosine it is helpful in restoring the true color of your hair.

Don’t underestimate the power of these tiny super-grains and try it to find it for yourself!


Author Bio: Namrata Kothari is software engineer by education and a food and fitness blogger by passion. She is a lover of yoga and satire and has always been fascinated about nutrition and healthy living. However, the real journey of research and writing started after giving birth to two kids. She currently lives in Bangalore and is also a contributing health writer for http://www.superfoodliving.com. Read more of her articles here http://www.superfoodliving.com/author/namrata-kothari"


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