Quinoa the pseudograin

Monday, 02 May, 2011

In her white paper, ‘Quinoa - the super seed’, Dr McMillan looks at the unique, protein-rich seed which is commonly referred to as a grain or pseudograin; its nutritional benefits; and, its emerging popularity in the Australian diet.

“Australians consume far too many processed, high-GI foods. Without regular consumption of wholegrains and seeds, the risk of weight gain and poor digestive health dramatically increases,” warns Dr McMillan.

“Quinoa - pronounced kin-wah - supersedes the nutritional value of more commonly eaten grains. This seed, which is relatively new to most Australians, is high in fibre, rich in protein, and a ‘good carbohydrate’,” she explains.

“However, with quinoa now emerging in popularity, it can be found in supermarkets, health food stores and even in products like wholegrain bread - such as Helga’s Quinoa and Flaxseed bread.”

“With bread a staple, everyday food for most Australians, adding Quinoa is a convenient way to introduce this ‘super seed’ into our diet, as it requires little preparation,” adds Dr McMillan.

Dr McMillan says whilst quinoa is the new kid on the nutritional block; it has been a staple in South America for thousands of years.

“Prized by Incas as the ‘golden grain’, quinoa has long been a treasured element of their cuisine, and even considered sacred.

“Today, we can confirm what the Incas suspected; this super seed delivers significant nutritional value in one food.”

“It is low GI, has double the protein of white rice, and is rich in vitamins and minerals. The regular consumption of low GI foods is beneficial for weight management, heart and overall health while these vitamins and minerals are essential for digestive and nervous system health,” adds Dr McMillan.

Once washed, quinoa can be consumed like rice and takes half the time to cook of brown rice. McMillan says the barrier to quinoa for most Australians is that they don’t understand how to cook it, or how to incorporate it into their everyday diet.

Quinoa is relatively low in fat and has less than 1 g per 100 g saturated fat. Most of the fat present is of the omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid family. There is no transfat present.

McMillan says quinoa stands above common grains with more dietary fibre than cous cous and pasta.

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