Quinoa (/ˈkiːnwɑː/ from Quechua kinwa or kinuwa) Chenopodium quinoa is a pseudocereal, a flowering plant related to spinach and amaranth. The gluten-free seeds are rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals in amounts greater than in many grains. It originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America and was first eaten by human beings in the regions known today as Peru and Bolivia around three thousand years ago.
The United Nations (UN) declared 2013 “The International Year of Quinoa,” due to its high nutrient value and potential to contribute to food security worldwide. NASA scientists have been looking at it as a suitable crop to be grown in outer space, based on its high nutrient content, ease of use and simplicity of cultivation.
1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa contains:
- Calories: 222
- Carbohydrates: 39 grams
- Fat: 4 grams
- Protein: 8 grams.
- Fiber: 5 grams.
- Manganese: 58% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
- Folate: 19% of the RDA.
- Copper: 18% of the RDA.
- Iron: 15% of the RDA.
- Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
- Potassium 9% of the RDA.
- Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2 and B6
- Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin), vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids