We all know that at sometime in your life, you will be sitting at the traffic lights waiting for the green and start to think to yourself, 'Can I add quinoa into my smoothies?'
Well it's our aim to answer this question about smoothies for you and also try to answer any others we can about the potential benefits of quinoa and its preparation.
Think back to the late 2000s and early 2010s when quinoa was all the rage in health food shops and fitness circles.
In fact, quinoa’s rise to ‘superfood’ status led to a tripling in the price of quinoa between 2006 and 2013.
Quinoa has a long traditional use in south American cultures, being known as ‘chisiya’ which translates to mother grain.
Interestingly enough, despite having many characteristics of grains, quinoa is in fact a seed, in the same family as amaranth and spinach.
In fact, the young leaves of the quinoa plant can be prepared and eaten like spinach.
For the Coeliacs and gluten-foregoers among us, fear not, quinoa doesn’t contain any gluten like some other grains.
Perhaps the most common type of quinoa we see in supermarkets these days is the white variety, but there are also red, black and many more, each with slight variations in nutrient profiles and taste.
Quinoa is known as a complete protein, meaning that it contains all 10 of the essential amino acids.
Now, whilst it is a complete protein, quinoa wouldn’t typically be considered a high-protein food, it is a much richer source of carbs.
As you would expect, it also contains some fibre.
Beyond the macronutrients, quinoa also contains a wide array and decent amount of some nutrients.
In fact, one cooked cup of white quinoa contains all of this below for you:
- More than half your daily manganese
- Over a quarter of your magnesium and phosphorous
- Just shy of 15% of your copper, iron and zinc
- Some potassium and selenium
- Almost 20% of your folate
- Over 10% of Vitamins B1, B2 and B6
- Some Vitamin E
Quinoa contains butyrate, and this along with its fibre, make it a prebiotic, a food that gives fuel to the beneficial bacteria in our gut.
Improving the health of our gut bacteria, known as our microbiome, lowers inflammation, improves immune function and digestive function.
Like other seeds and grains, quinoa contains some antinutrients.
Antinutrients are present in foods and they make it harder for humans to digest certain nutrients and may even cause digestive irritations.
Quinoa’s antinutrients are saponins and the very common phytic acid.
The good news is that it’s easy enough to deal with these substances.
Simply soak quinoa for many hours and then drain and rinse until you no longer see the foam coming from it (that’s the saponins being washed out).
How can you add quinoa to your smoothies?
Perhaps your excited about including this wonder food to your diet now, so here are some ways you can add quinoa in easily.
- Cook the quinoa, blend it in with your smoothie cubes, or keep it whole and add it on top after blending
- Sprout your quinoa, and do the same as above
- Buy some quinoa flakes and add them to a smoothie bowl to enjoy like some morning cereal.
Will you be using quinoa?
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to put a new spin on an ancient food, you should definitely try adding some quinoa to your daily smoothies.
It's really as easy as buying some quinoa and adding it to your smoothie recipes throughout the week.
If you’ve already used quinoa, let us know how you used it and if whether or not you liked it!
We'd be happy to hear from you!