From a celiac's point of view, perhaps the greatest value of quinoa is the fact that it is totally gluten free and easy to digest. When you add to that its wonderful nutritional qualities you can see why the Inca's prized it so highly.
Compared to other cereals such as rice and wheat, quinoa has less fat and much more protein.
In fact is is considered a complete protein as it contains all 8 essential amino acids necessary for our bodies growth and repair, including lysine.
Most grains do not contain any lysine, a protein normally only found in meat, fish and eggs, making quinoa an ideal food for gluten free vegans and vegetarians.
So what is so wonderful about lysine?
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- Lysine helps the body to produce carnitine, a substance that lowers the bad cholesterol (or LDL) in your blood. This means that eating quinoa is beneficial to those suffering from high blood pressure, anyone with cardivascular (heart) problems and postmenopausal women.
- Lysine also helps in the production of collagen, the protein needed for strong bones and cartilage. This is especially important to celiac sufferers, as eating gluten laden foods before they were diagnosed may lead to problems with osteoporosis, or brittle bones, in later life.
- Quinoa also has high levels of calcium, again beneficial to our bones, nails and teeth.
- When you are first diagnosed with celiac it is common to feel depressed and low levels of lysine can make this problem even worse. Eating quinoa can assist in building up these levels, which in turn may help alleviate asthma and chronic viral infections.
- A condition that often goes hand in hand with celiac is diabetes. To control the blood sugar levels it is important to eat foods with a low glycemic index. Quinoa has a GI value of 53 making it an ideal substitute for other grains in this situation.
- In addition quinoa is a high-fibre source of phosphorus, iron, magnesium, vitamin E and several B vitamins. Truly a superfood!