Although there is no accepted scientific definition, there is talk of superfoods internationally to refer to those that, thanks to their nutrients, vitamins and minerals, provide multiple health benefits such as promoting weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels or contributing to the elimination of toxins.
This is the case of quinoa, a seed also known as a pseudocereal that has risen to fame after being integrated as a essential food in the diet of athletes thanks to its ability to create muscle and help lose weight.
“It was NASA who catapulted this unknown grain with an exceptional composition where protein, fat and carbohydrates are balanced. Its destination was the crop for long-term space travel. Its main benefit comes from the fact that most of its calories are offered in the form of complex carbohydrates. In addition, this superfood also provides about 16 grams of protein per 100 grams, making it a very protein food,” explains Salena Sainz, pharmacist, dietitian nutritionist and director of Naturae Nutrición.
Among its many benefits, quinoa stands out for its high content of vitamins of type B, C, E that enhance brain development and offer a anti-aging result thanks to being powerful antioxidant assets. Likewise, it has a high calcium content that helps prevent decalcification of bones and teeth and prevents damage to the DNA of cells and increases collagen synthesis.
“Its rich composition in important amino acids, such as lysine, arginine and cystine, without forgetting methionine, make quinoa important for cerebrovascular development,” says the nutritionist.
Protein source that helps maintain weight and build muscle
“Rich in iron, calcium and phosphorus, Quinoa also contains high amounts of magnesium, which contributes to normal energy metabolism, protein synthesis, and nervous system function. Its low fat content stands out, which makes it the perfect choice in those guidelines where caloric control is needed, but without forgetting a contribution of healthy fatty acids such as linoleic acid,” says the expert.
As in everything, so that the benefits of food are reflected in the physical, healthy eating should be accompanied by an active lifestyle. The nutritionist adds that quinoa has become a very valuable food for athletes due to its ability to help build muscle since “it even contains twice as much protein as other cereals, its leaves have nutritional characteristics similar to spinach. In addition, They are very low in carbohydrates and oxalate, anti-nutrients that, nutritionally, are not interesting to include in the diet because they influence the absorption of other minerals”.
Studies referenced: Vega-Galvez A, Miranda M, Vergara J, Uribe E, Bridge L, Martinez EA. Nutritional facts and functional potential of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd.), an ancient Andean grain: a review. J Sci Food Agric. 2010 Dec;90(15):2541-7. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4158. PMID: 20814881.