Superfoods. They’re called that simply because they’re super, foods. And one of the super-est superfoods in the world (and in Shakeology®) is Quinoa. Pronounced: KEEN-wah.
What’s in a name?
Yes, we love loading up Shakeology with superfoods. And no, we didn’t pick the ones that are the most difficult to pronounce on purpose. (Really, we didn’t!) Quinoa has been nicknamed many things over the years. The Incas referred to it as “the Mother of all Grains,” but other names that made the rounds were “Mother Grain of the Andes” and “Incan Gold.”
And while most think that quinoa is a grain (hence its nicknames) it’s not a grain at all. It’s actually the seed of a leafy green plant and a not-so-distant cousin to spinach, chard, and beets. It grows best in mountainous regions, at 10,000 feet or more above sea level, thriving in the kind of extreme weather, thin air, and sandy alkaline soil that would be terrible for cultivating most crops.
Incredible source of protein!
The protein content of quinoa ranges from 10% to 18%, making it a world-class source of vegetarian protein. Plus it’s a COMPLETE protein source, which means it contains ALL 9 essential amino acids—something exceptionally rare among plant-based foods. The World Health Organization has even rated the quality of protein in quinoa to be equivalent, or superior, to the protein found in milk products.
Loaded with lysine.
Quinoa also contains the amino acid—lysine—which is vital for bone development because it helps the body absorb calcium. Lysine balances nitrogen in the body and is necessary to produce antibodies, enzymes, hormones, and collagen. It also helps lower cholesterol as well as helps the body repair tissue damage.
Loaded with lots of things your body needs.
Quinoa is an excellent source of phosphorous, iron, and the B vitamins—including niacin, thiamin, and B6. It contains high levels of potassium and riboflavin and is also a good source of zinc, copper, manganese, and magnesium. And if that weren’t enough, quinoa also contains folic acid and vitamin E.
Quinoa has a low glycemic index.
Compared to other whole grains, quinoa has a very low glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index for food is a measure of how much that particular food will make your blood sugar rise. Foods with a GI of 55 and under are considered to be low-glycemic-index foods. The GI for quinoa ranges from 35 to 53, depending on how it is prepared. Cooking and reheating food always raises its glycemic index.
Benefits of low GI foods.
Keeping your blood sugar steady and balanced can help you maintain your weight as well help keep your cholesterol levels healthy. And that’s why whole, unprocessed foods that are low in sugar and high in fiber (like quinoa) are great for you.
So there you have it, the ins and outs and the ups and downs of this magical non-grain. And since quinoa is able to grow in such extreme conditions, while offering such incredible nutritional value, it may be the perfect “super grain” to feed the world. Or at least feed those who feast on Shakeology.