Health Benefits of Quinoa

By now, you already know that quinoa is rich in protein—so much so that it can be used to
replace meat in your diet—but there’s more good news on that front!
As it turns out, quinoa is a complete protein, a designation that indicates that it contains all
nine essential amino acids, including lysine, which is critical for tissue growth and repair. For
vegans who may be at a loss as to how they can sufficiently replace their protein intake, there
is no more perfect substitute. In addition to these amino acids, quinoa also is a rich source of
calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, zinc and dietary fiber.
Let’s talk about some of these!
With respect to diabetes, quinoa is a robust source of magnesium, a mineral which
contributes as a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes, including those that regulate the body’s
production of glucose and insulin. Research suggests that the regular consumption of whole
grains such as quinoa may contribute to a reduced risk for Type 2 diabetes by assisting the
body in properly regulating glucose.
Do you have a history of migraines? If you do, you’ve probably done some research and
discovered that migraines may be caused by constriction of blood vessels. Quinoa, as an
excellent source of magnesium, may help alleviate migraines, as magnesium helps to relax
blood vessels, reducing the frequency of migraines. In fact, quinoa may help to increase
overall cardiovascular health, since magnesium deficiencies have been traced to hypertension,
ischemic heart disease and heart arrhythmias. Additionally, quinoa is rich in riboflavin, which
has been shown to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by regulating and improving energy
production within brain and muscle cells.
In its natural state, quinoa contains nearly every component that you’ve read about with
respect to protecting yourself from increased cancer risk, heart disease and even diabetes. For
one thing, quinoa is considered a whole grain, which, combined with increased fiber intake,
has been established as the cornerstone of diets that protect against breast cancer in premenopausal women. Similar whole-grain focused diets have been used in studies which have
shown positive effects on childhood asthma and gallstones.
Lastly, quinoa is also a source of powerful antioxidants that work in multiple ways to
prevent disease, as recent studies into whole grains have shown. While clinical trials that have
focused only on fiber (in the form of supplements) have had inconsistent results, studies that
examine populations with diets rich in high-fiber whole grains show a consistently lowered
risk for colon cancer.