Quinoa: Superfood for Athletes

November 18, 2022

Healthy eating and the intake of foods with beneficial properties for our bodies have become a big trend in the last two decades. It is a 100% healthy fashion that allows us to have a balanced diet and help our organism to perform all its functions more efficiently. For this reason, certain plants and natural foods have gained great importance, and a clear example of this is the use of quinoa in our food recipes.

What is quinoa, and where does it come from?

Quinoa is a plant, growing annually in the Bolivian, Ecuadorian, Chilean, Colombian, and Peruvian Andes for over 5,000 years.

The plant itself is up to 10 feet tall. Its leaves are wide and different from each other and its flowers have no petals. Thus quinoa is a rather curious plant aesthetically speaking, and it is also very special in its level of properties. Thanks to its health benefits, people who live near the areas where this plant grows consider it a sacred plant due to its nutritional characteristics.

Quinoa properties

First of all, it is worth mentioning that the quinoa seed contains eight essential amino acids for our organism, which makes this plant one of the most beneficial foods for humans. Quinoa is commonly used to make flour, pasta, soups, and beer or is even eaten as a dry fruit by simply cooking it.

To give you an idea of its composition, for every 100 grams of quinoa, we get 16 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, 6 grams of fats (mostly unsaturated, such as Omega-6 or Omega-3 acids), and calories in the form of complex carbohydrates. Therefore, we can say that quinoa contains more protein than any normal cereal but also has a lower amount of carbohydrates.

In addition, the composition of quinoa includes potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin E. More micronutrients united in a single food is impossible.

Quinoa benefits

The composition of quinoa makes it a unique food for anyone but, having such a high content of micronutrients, it is indeed the ideal food for an athlete.

In addition to its composition, quinoa does not contain gluten, so it is perfectly suitable for people with celiac disease. If we add to that that this pseudocereal has a low glycemic index, we can affirm that it is also recommended for people with diabetes or affected by obesity.

Is there more? Of course, there is. Quinoa is effective in cholesterol control thanks to its fiber content and unsaturated fats. In addition, it is perfect for combating constipation.

Finally, it should be noted that this food is excellent for vegetarian diets because it provides loads of protein and iron. 

It is also great for athletes and runners, thanks to the minerals, proteins, and complex carbohydrates it contains.

In short, the benefits of quinoa are the following:

  • It helps in any slimming diet thanks to its high fiber content and low glycemic index.

  • It prevents high cholesterol levels. This function of quinoa is one of the most important since the control of fats in the blood is essential to avoid possible future cardiovascular problems.

  • It is the perfect food for athletes since it is a cereal with more proteins per 100 grams and with more integrated amino acids. Thus, muscle building and recovery after a hard workout are positively affected by the consumption of quinoa.

  • It is a powerful antioxidant thanks to its content of popular flavonoids such as quercetin and kaempferol.

  • It is a cereal suitable for celiac disease patients. It does not contain gluten, so it is much healthier than other synthetic foods sold as suitable for people with celiac disease.

  • It strengthens and provides softness to the hair. Quinoa can be used to make a natural mask using boiled seeds mixed with olive oil.

  • Prevents cellulite and stretch marks.

  • Moisturizes the skin. To keep your skin hydrated with the help of quinoa, you should make a mask by combining milk with a few grains of quinoa. Let it boil for 15 minutes and cool. Then, spread it on your face and leave it on for 30 minutes.

  • Reduces migraine and severe headaches. This is achieved thanks to the high level of magnesium, a mineral that serves to relax the walls of blood vessels.

  • Reduces stress. This effect is achieved through infusions made from quinoa grains. It is recommended to take it before going to sleep to exert its relaxing effect during the night.

As you can see, the benefits of quinoa consumption are multiple and not only in terms of health but also in terms of beauty. Of course, for all skin-related issues, it is always best to consult a dermatologist beforehand since not all skins are the same and do not tolerate the same mask in the same way.

So, where to buy quinoa?

Now that we have made clear what the benefits of quinoa are, it is time to start thinking about where to buy this pseudocereal so appropriate for our health. Well, getting quinoa is very easy since it is available in any supermarket or herbalist.

However, keep in mind that the consumption of quinoa is not miraculous and should be combined with the practice of daily physical exercise and a healthy and balanced diet free of fats.

Quinoa recipes: tasty and healthy

Preparing quinoa for cooking

Before starting to mention popular recipes with quinoa, we must clarify that it is a pseudocereal that must be prepared previously. Therefore, it is essential to wash the seeds thoroughly by rubbing them underwater. Thus, we will discard the layer of saponins that covers most seeds and eliminate the bitter taste that nobody wants to incorporate into their dishes.

Do not confuse washing with soaking, they are not lentils or beans.

Subsequently, it will be necessary to boil the seeds for 20 minutes. 

Now, our quinoa is ready to make all kinds of dishes, from cakes to salads or hamburgers. And if you don't feel like cooking, you can always use it as if it were oatmeal and include it in your breakfast with a nice bowl of milk.

Quinoa recipes

Well, some of the recipes with quinoa that we propose are:

  • Chicken with quinoa

  • Quinoa with parmesan and spinach

  • Avocados stuffed with quinoa

  • Quinoa burgers

  • Quinoa and chickpea salad

  • Quinoa salad

They sound good, don't they? We recommend you look up the recipes because these healthy dishes will help you start eating quinoa now, and you will see how you can help improve your athletic performance!