Healthy Living with Danielle: The Power of Quinoa

What Is Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) and why is everyone talking about it?

What Is Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) and why is everyone talking about it?

Although not a common item in most kitchens today, Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (high protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard.  Also, being gluten free, is a critical part of its appeal. 

Quinoa is available in your local health food stores throughout the year and can now be found in the natural food sections of most grocery stores along with quinoa pasta products. Not only is quinoa very high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids.  In addition to protein, quinoa is a good source of fiber and features a host of other health-promoting nutrients.              

If you are prone to migraines, you might try adding quinoa to your diet. Quinoa is a good source of magnesium, a mineral that helps relax blood vessels, preventing the constriction and rebound dilation characteristic of migraines. And since low dietary levels of magnesium are also associated with increased rates of hypertension, heart disease and heart arrhythmias, this ancient grain can offer yet another way to provide cardiovascular health for those concerned about atherosclerosis. 

Eating a serving of whole grains, such as quinoa, at least 6 times each
week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol,
high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Here’s a Quinoa Salad you have to try!!!

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 can of fresh artichoke hearts (chopped)
  • 1 ½ cups sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cup finely chopped spinach or kale.  Get those GREENS in!!
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic, slice off the top and roast at
         400 for 25 min. (Time Saver: buy pre roasted, or use 1 tbsp. chopped
         garlic or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of basil leaves (chopped)
  • Few shakes of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional (but so good):
  • crumbled goat cheese or feta.
  • kalamata olives (chopped)

Prepare Quinoa according to package directions. While quinoa is cooking,
place all ingredients into a large bowl with olive oil, garlic, few shakes of
red pepper flakes in mixing bowl. When quinoa is finished, add to bowl, mix
well to blend and let sit for 10-15 minutes. The longer it sits, the better the flavor. When ready to serve, add a pinch of salt if needed and goat cheese!


Danielle Brodeur is the Program Director and Health/Weight Loss Coach at Aiki Academy of Self Defense in North Branford. If you have any questions, please feel free to submit them to aikiacademy@yahoo.com.

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