Protein Rich Grains To Include In Your Diet
Whatever your fitness objective, the hard work doesnt end when you leave the gym or walk through the front door after a run or a bike ride. If you dont back up your activity with the same level of devotion in the kitchen, youll have difficulty attaining the desired results.
One key dietary consideration for active people is their protein intake. Protein plays a vital role through carbohydrates, and healthy fats also support our overall health and wellness. Protein should be a top priority as it is crucial for several human body functions.
Proteins consist of various amino acids, and these amino acid building blocks are present in plants and animals. However, it could be a concern for those who primarily eat plant-based protein.
Harissa Lentil Quinoa Meatballs
Source: Harissa Lentil Quinoa Meatballs
This recipe is a keeper! Hearty, spicy, smoky veggie meatballs with a ton of high-quality plant protein. Each bite of these has a rich variety of flavor, from spicy Harissa to nutty tahini. Use these Harissa Lentil Quinoa Meatballs by Maya Sozer to make a hearty sub, to top a bowl of spaghetti, or add some depth to a salad.
It Contains Beneficial Plant Compounds
Quinoa is very high in beneficial plant compounds. Some examples are saponins, phenolic acids, flavonoids and betacyanins .
Many of these compounds may act as antioxidants, which means they can neutralize the free radicals that damage your body on the molecular level.
One study examined 10 types of grain from Peru. It found that quinoa had an antioxidant capacity of 86%, which was higher than all the other grains analyzed .
While all varieties of quinoa are high in antioxidants, the darkest seeds contain the highest amounts. This means black quinoa contains more antioxidants than white .
Also, sprouting the seeds can increase the antioxidant content even further .
However, a high antioxidant capacity in the lab does not necessarily translate to a higher antioxidant capacity in your body.
Nonetheless, one study found that consuming 25 grams of quinoa daily increased levels of the important antioxidant glutathione by 7% (
This shows that it really can help your body fight oxidative damage from free radicals.
Quinoa contains beneficial plant compounds. Many of them act as antioxidants and protect your body from free radicals.
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What Are The Possible Health Benefits Of Quinoa
The amount of research on quinoa has grown tremendously over the years, in part because of the 2014 hype, but in larger part due to the seeds continually recognized health benefits. The nutrient-rich pseudo-cereal is proposed to reduce the risk of a number of illnesses, and provide an ideal protein-packed substitute for gluten-free diets.
Whole grains like quinoa have been considered preventative for certain types of cancer due to their high levels of fiber. One study from The Journal of Nutrition suggests that the dietary fiber in whole grains may help lower LDL, or bad, levels of cholesterol, boost digestive health, and potentially lower the risk for some gastrointestinal cancers, such as colon cancer.
How Do You Make Quinoa A Complete Protein
Making quinoa a complete protein is easy, but you have to be careful not to overdo it. Here are some tips for making sure your quinoa is all that you need:
1) Start with a good quality quinoa. Avoid ones that are low in quality or have been treated in an unscientific way.2) Use a food processor to make the quinoa into flour. This will make it more digestible and less processed.3) Add water and mix until the dough resembles coarse crumbs. Spread the dough out on a floured surface and divide it into 12 equal parts.rolling each part out into a 1-inch thick sheet, then cutting them into squares). Make sure each square has at least 2 tablespoons of ground quinoa.4) Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and crispy on top.
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Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf
This Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf by Jeanette Chen is pretty enough to serve to company, and provides a nice healthy addition to any table. Not only can this be enjoyed as a main course by your vegan friends, but non-vegans will want a spoonful of this too.
For more high-protein vegan food check out 15 More Hearty High-Protein Quinoa Recipes, 25 Of Our Most Popular Plant-Based High-Protein Recipes from 2018 or browse through our High Protein Archives!
Is Quinoa Good For You
Quinoa is a highly nutritious whole grain. A one-cup serving of cooked quinoa provides you with 16% of your daily recommended need for protein.
Aside from the essential amino acids, the protein found in quinoa can help duel your muscles and prevent overeating.
Because of that, regularly eating quinoa can help you with weight loss and weight management.
Eating quinoa is also a great way to load up on fiber. The same serving provides 5.2 g of fiber, which is quite an impressive number.
Fiber is not only crucial for the health of your digestive system, but it can also help soak up excess stomach acid, preventing heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms.
Just like most other whole grains, quinoa is a great source of several minerals, including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.
All of these are important for various bodily functions as well as the health of your bones, heart, and cardiovascular system.
Mineral deficiencies are quite common in the age of processed foods. So, adding whole grains like quinoa to your diet can help prevent these.
Quinoa is also rich in powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory plant compounds. These help flush out free radicals from your body, preventing oxidative damage to your cells.
Because of that, youre at a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Whats more, some studies show that eating quinoa can help with blood sugar regulation and overall feeling of fullness after eating.
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Consider Protein Density And Portion Size
The only consideration Id offer is that some foods require a large serving to amount to ten grams of protein or more. And large serving sizes may or may not be appropriate, depending on a persons unique health needs.
Take nuts, for example.
A typical serving of almonds is about 1 ounce . That ounce contains six grams of protein, along with around 160 calories and about fourteen grams of fat. Youd need about an ounce and a half to amount to ten grams of protein.
This could be appropriate energy density for some people. But others might want to seek out protein sources that offer more protein with less energy density.
On the other hand, it would take about four cups of broccoli to equal ten grams of protein. Four cups of broccoli is a lot of fibermore than some people can comfortably digest.
I like tofu, tempeh, seitan, edamame, quinoa, and hemp seeds because they offer good amounts of protein within reasonable portion sizes.
Why Is Quinoa Classified As A Grain
Quinoa is classified as a grain because of its dietary provisions and similarity with grains. In addition, its method of preparation is identical to other grains.
Although not a complete grain since it is from a dicotyledonous plant, quinoa seeds are consumed as grains. Plus, their nutritional profile is almost similar to that of other grains.
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Simple Green Quinoa Salad With Roast Pumpkin
Image Source: Simple Green Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin
This Simple Green Quinoa Salad with Roast Pumpkin recipe from Tiana Haines is full of goodness and nutrients. This salad is also great for work/ school lunches. You can store in a container in the fridge and you know you have got a nutritious lunch waiting for you to enjoy!
Quinoa Contains Complete Proteins
Proteins are made of amino acids, which can either be made by your body or found in certain foods.
Nine of the amino acids are essential amino acids, meaning your body cannot produce them and you must get them from your diet.
Complete proteins contain all nine amino acids in significant amounts. While all animal sources of protein are complete, the majority of plant proteins are not. As a complete plant protein, quinoa is one of the exceptions.
This is one of its most unique qualities and makes it a very valuable source of protein, especially for someone whose diet is mostly plant-based.
While its possible to get all of the essential amino acids from a plant-based diet, it does require eating a variety of plant-based proteins.
Quinoa is especially high in lysine, methionine and cysteine, which are some of the amino acids that plant foods are frequently low in .
Quinoa is one of the few plant proteins that is a complete protein. This means it contains all of the essential amino acids you need.
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Quinoa May Boost Metabolism
A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition showed that using quinoa instead of typical gluten-free breads and pastas significantly reduced blood sugar, insulin, and triglyceride levels. And research with rats indicated that quinoa in a diet high in fructose almost completely inhibited the negative effects of the fructose.
How To Cook And Add To Diet
When you head out to your nearest health food store, chances are that quinoa will be readily available, often in bulk. In a more standard grocery store, check out the specialty grain or health food aisle.
The best part of cooking quinoa is that it generally tastes fairly plain when boiled in water. However, the lack of flavor exponentially increases the versatility of recipes you can create using quinoa.
If youre looking for a simple method for how to make quinoa taste good and some easy ways to deepen the flavor, you can try boiling it in beef, chicken or vegetable broth instead of water. You can also experiment with black quinoa, since its taste is more noticeably complex.
It makes a great substitute for other grains in quinoa recipes like pilaf, porridge, soups and stews. You can also incorporate quinoa into salads, burrito bowls, casseroles and more.
Here are a few quinoa recipe ideas to help spark your creativity and take advantage of quinoa benefits:
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May Help Fight Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is involved in a wide range of diseases, from type 2 diabetes to cancer and heart disease .
Although studies have not shown consistent results, a diet high in antioxidants is thought to help fight inflammation in the body .
Quinoa appears to be very high in antioxidants, yet may help fight inflammation in other ways as well.
Saponins are one of the plant compounds found in quinoa. They give it a bitter taste, and some people rinse or soak quinoa to try and remove this taste .
However, saponins also seem to have some positive effects. In addition to acting as antioxidants, they appear to have anti-inflammatory effects.
One study found that saponins could inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory compounds by 2590% in isolated cells (
Read this article for even more information about the health benefits of quinoa.
Quinoa appears to help lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides. It may also reduce inflammation.
Quinoa And Protein: Bottom Line
Aamina: Quinoa is a complete protein source for pregnant woman, athletes, children and adults. Apart from providing protein, it also lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Hence it can be consumed by people with diabetes and high blood pressure . In my view, quinoa is beneficial for health of every one of every age.
Kristen: As a whole grain, with good fibre and other nutrients, quinoa is a healthy food. I generally recommend that adults aim for approximately 20 grams of protein at a meal. At 8 grams of protein per cup, you would need to eat a lot of quinoa to reach this target. Quinoa also contains a lot of carbs. 2 cups of quinoa will be too many carbs for most of us. Therefore, I recommend quinoa as a healthy starch choice. But you will want to pair it with another high protein food, such as beans, lentils, nuts, or seeds to get sufficient protein.
Thank you to volunteer Aamina for her research and writing contribution to this article.
Check out plant-based recipes at www.kristenyarker.com/recipes-1
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Protein Profile Of Quinoa
Quinoa is a rich source of protein. Dry quinoa, for instance, has 16% protein. The high protein content in quinoa also makes it a great alternative to dairy products.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization , you can liken quinoas protein content to that of dried whole milk .
Quinoas protein content deserves all the praise because it also has a high digestibility score.
Proteins in raw quinoa are about 92% absorbable, while those in cooked quinoa are almost 95% absorbable.
Furthermore, quinoa is an excellent plant-based source of protein. It contains the amino acid lysine, which is absent in other plant-based proteins.
Other particular amino acids found in quinoa and lacking in other grains include histidine and methionine.
A lot of plant proteins are incomplete, lacking in one essential amino acid or another.
Nonetheless, if you are on a plant-based diet, eating quinoa will provide you with all the essential protein blocks you need.
Is Quinoa Better For You Than Rice
Quinoas nutritional profile is different from rices. Compared with quinoas nutritional stats , according to the USDA, 1 cup of cooked long-grain brown rice contains about:
So, which one is better for your health? Sharp says while its important to enjoy a wide variety of foods, she concludes that quinoa has more fiber and protein and is also a complete protein. So head to head I would choose quinoa if it was an either-or choice.
Quinoa is also considered a safe gluten-free, whole-grain choice for people living with celiac disease a condition in which your body cannot tolerate gluten. One study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found that 44 percent of people living with celiac disease chose rice as their preferred grain. When switching to naturally gluten-free grains like quinoa, the study found vast improvement in nutrients, most notably in protein levels, which skyrocketed from 11 g to 20.6 g.
Sharp also notes that quinoa isnt just great for people following a gluten-free diet. Its a complete protein, she says, making it a great option for vegetarians and vegans.
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What Protein Is Best Absorbed By The Body
There is no single answer to this question as the best protein absorption depends on the person and their body composition. However, some common factors that can affect protein absorption include activity level, gender, and muscle mass.
Protein absorption rates vary depending on a persons weight, muscle mass, and activity level. To ensure the best protein absorption possible, make sure to: eat a variety of foods high in protein drink plenty of water and engage in vigorous exercise.
May Help You Lose Weight
High in fibre and with more protein of rice or barley, quinoa may be beneficial for those looking to manage their weight. One explanation for this is the filling nature of protein and fibre which helps us manage our appetite. Quinoa also has a low glycaemic index so its slower energy release makes it less likely to trigger cravings and stimulate hunger.
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Great Source Of Fiber
Quinoa is full of fiber with 5.18 grams, or about 18% DV in one cup.
Moreover, about half of the fiber in quinoa is soluble fiber, which can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
Higher In Fiber Than Many Grains
Another important benefit of quinoa is its high fiber content.
A 1-cup serving of cooked quinoa contains 5.18 grams of fiber. Thats about 18% of the current 28-gram DV .
Quinoa contains more fiber than several other popular grains, like brown rice.
For example, a 1-cup serving of cooked brown rice contains 3.51 grams of fiber, which is 1.67 grams less than the same serving size of quinoa .
Adding fiber-rich foods like quinoa into your diet can help support your digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and fueling beneficial bacteria in your gut .
Plus, eating a high fiber diet can support a body weight thats healthy for you. Fiber helps promote feelings of fullness. Pairing high fiber foods like quinoa with high protein foods can help you feel full and may help keep your portion sizes in check .
Quinoa is high in fiber, a nutrient thats important for health. Adding more fiber-rich foods into your diet can help support gut health, body weight maintenance, and more.
Quinoa is often referred to as a complete protein. This is because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that your body cant make on its own.
However, experts argue that quinoa should not be considered a complete protein because it contains low amounts of certain amino acids, like lysine .
For this reason, experts have suggested that quinoa be considered a nearly complete protein, not a complete protein .
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