Ever felt afraid of cooking with unfamiliar ingredients, like quinoa? Well fear no more because we’re diving into the health and nutrition benefits of this versatile grain, and showing you several cooking techniques and recipes so it can become a healthy staple in your kitchen in no time.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a small, whole grain substitute that’s completely gluten-free. It takes on a rice-like texture when cooked and comes in a variety of colors – including red, gray, green and white – depending on where it’s grown. It’s been speculated that quinoa has been around for nearly 5,000 years and was first cultivated in the Andes throughout Peru, Bolivia and Chile. And although it’s commonly thought of as a grain, the individual beads are actually the plant’s tiny seeds.
Quinoa is extremely healthy. It’s low in sodium and high in calcium, and a high-quality protein containing all nine essential amino acids. It’s also rich in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and zinc. And it’s widely praised as a great option for those trying to consume less meat without missing out on protein.
One cup of cooked quinoa contains roughly 220 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein.
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Obesity rates and other related statistics are rolled out every year, sometimes even more frequently, with each seeming worse than the last. The U.S. is on a fast train that’s heading towards a brick wall, unless something can be done to put on the brakes, and better yet, put it in reverse!
The overriding question that has to be on everyone’s mind is how did we get here and why does it seem we are helpless when it comes to making better food and lifestyle choices?
There is no doubt that a major component to our growing obesity problem is that we are less active than ever before. We live in a technology-based world where more and more of us sit in front of computers and televisions (remember when you didn’t have 300 channels and the entire world’s information at your fingertips?). Even careers in manual labor fields that provide some form of physical exercise have become more automated.
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Ever had an important decision to make and been told to “sleep on it”? I bet you’ve never been told to “eat on it”, but after reading about this new research, you just might consider it.
The graph below illustrates the likelihood of a favorable decision from a judge based on when he or she takes a break to eat. At the start of each session, Israeli prisoners were likely to be granted parole 65% of the time, but that certainly was not true right before the judge decided to take a break.
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We often look for better living through chemistry. There are plenty of instances when we need to medicate ourselves to remedy health issues. But, we often overlook the fact that food is a pretty darn good medicine in and of itself. The obvious remedies are of course preventing heart disease, diabetes, and any other number of obesity-related ailments. But now researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine are finding that eating an Atkins-like diet can help people with epilepsy control their seizures. It’s still a mystery as to why it works.