As much as a personal trainer can help you with exercise, your exercise regime will benefit you more if you also fuel your body with the proper nutrients. While there are lots of diet fads at any given moment, there are some “superfoods” out there that really do provide significant benefits. Included in this group is quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).
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Quinoa is an ancient seed (it’s actually not a grain) that was cultivated by the Incas over 5000 years ago. It is related to leafy green vegetables, such as chard and spinach.
Quinoa is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients. When compared with wheat, barley and corn, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and zinc. Because of its nutrients, quinoa is said to protect cardiovascular health, prevent migraines, and help with diabetes.
Quinoa is gluten-free, and does not feed fungal or bacterial infections. Quinoa is high in protein. In fact, the protein in quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. It is an especially good source of lysine, which is necessary for tissue growth and repair.
Quinoa is quick and easy to cook:
1. Always make sure you rinse the seeds well as something called “saponin” coats them, and can make them taste bitter when cooked.
2. Using a ratio of 1:2, quinoa to water, bring to boil in a saucepan, with a pinch of salt.
3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).
A quick search on the internet can produce lots of yummy quinoa recipes – one of my favorites is quinoa tabouli.
To make it, you need the following ingredients:
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tomatoes, diced (and seeded if you want)
1 cucumber, diced (and seeded if you want)
2 bunches green onions, diced
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Cook the quinoa, and let cool; then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Eat as a stand-alone dish, or serve with hummus and pita bread, and maybe some grilled chicken.
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Have it ready in the fridge to chomp on after your next workout!