Is Quinoa A Safe Gluten-Free Food Alternative?


Is Quinoa A Safe Gluten-Free Food Alternative?

Doctors all over the world recommend Quinoa to people seeking for a gluten-free diet. It is regarded as one of the most popular healthy foods in the world. But what exactly Quinoa is? Quinoa is a plant-based food that is not exactly a grain, but a pseudo-cereal seed. It is a popular staple crop of South America and mainly grown in the Andes. It is believed to contain a huge number of amino acids and rich in fiber, magnesium, vitamin B, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and other such vital antioxidants.

The craze for a gluten-free diet has led to a significant rise in the consumption of Quinoa over the years. But is it free of gluten?

Is Quinoa A Safe Gluten-Free Food Alternative?
Is Quinoa A Safe Gluten-Free Food Alternative?

Cross Contamination

Fresh Quinoa is entirely free of gluten. But during the processing of pseudo-grains, they come in contact with a certain amount of gluten. It is so because they are processed in the same facilities as food grains. Cross-contamination is a significant issue here.

Hard To Digest

Quinoa being a seed product, does not allow for easy digestion. The seeds contain many protein and chemical compounds similar to gluten that are known as lectins. These lectins give rise to inflammatory issues and digestion problems in human beings.
Keeping all these side effects in mind, this food is not a safe gluten-free food alternative. But on the other hand, according to some researchers, it does have a lot of health benefits. In the year 2013, the United Nations declared the whole year as “The International Year of Quinoa” because of its nutrient value in contributing towards global food security. The NASA scientists are planning to grow it in outer space, keeping in mind its health benefits and ease of developing and using it.

Is Quinoa A Safe Gluten-Free Food Alternative?
Is Quinoa A Safe Gluten-Free Food Alternative?

More Facts About Quinoa

  • Rich In Fibre- Most of the other grains contain insoluble fibers that are hard for the body to digest. But Quinoa has soluble fibers in it that help in reducing blood sugars, weight, and cholesterol levels.
  • High In Minerals – Quinoa is full of minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc. But the problem lies in the fact that it also has another substance known as phytic acid in it. The phytic acid results in the binding of all the minerals and lowers their absorption. You may avoid this condition if you soak it in water for a few hours before cooking. The oxalates content in it is also high. Because of this, it can harm the people who are prone to suffer from kidney stones.
  • Helps In Weight Loss- It has all the characteristics that contribute to digestion, boost metabolism, and reduces appetite, the critical aspects of weight loss. Since it is rich in protein, it is helpful in both reducing appetite and boosting body metabolism. The richness of fiber, on the other hand, makes one full and resists in consuming more calories.

Thus, Quinoa has both benefits and demerits. But it is you who has to decide whether to include it in your diet or not by depending upon your health requirements and other such conditions.

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