What in the World is Quinoa?

11 Apr

Have you heard of superfoods?  They are foods that pack a serious punch when it comes to providing good nutrition AND helping to prevent things such as high cholesterol, heart disease, and even cancer.  In a recent article on CNN.com, Jacque Wilson points out that superfoods can also help you lose weight.  And we know that maintaining a healthy weight is one way to lower our risk of many cancers.


So which foods are considered superfoods?  I assumed they would be somewhat exotic or hard-to-find foods, but surprisingly, they are foods that you can find in most grocery stores:
  • Blueberries (and other berries, too)
  • Salmon
  • Walnuts (as well as other nuts like almonds, pecans, and peanuts)
  • Eggs
  • Green Tea (contains ECGC which can slow the growth of cancer cells)
  • Oats
  • Turkey
  • Yogurt (low-fat or fat-free)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Quinoa (huh?)
  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Oranges
  • Spinach
  • Dark Chocolate (yes!)

The American Cancer Society recommends the following when it comes to making food selections:

  • Eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods.
  • Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help you get to and maintain healthy weight.
  • Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat.
  • Eat at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products. (Source: Summary of ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity)

If you find that fresh fruit and produce goes bad in your home before you have a chance to eat it, try the frozen varieties.  While not quite as good as fresh, you still get most of the nutritional benefits of the food without worrying about wasting food that has spoiled.

The key take-away for me from the articles I read is to limit the amount of processed food you eat and incorporate as much “real” food in your diet as you can.  I interpret this as meaning we should eat foods in their purest form whenever possible (not fried, not baked up all yummy-like in a casserole with sour cream and cheese, and not – by all means – chicken nuggets from some fast food place).

If you need a little motivation to begin eating or trying some of the foods listed above, here’s a snippet from an article by Susan Seliger on WebMD  about making healthy eating choices:

“Even people who are healthy can make a few tweaks and the impact will be amazing,” [nutritionist Elizabeth] Somer says. “I’d say that 50% to 70% of suffering could be eliminated by what people eat and how they move: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension can all be impacted.” (Source: Superfoods Everyone Needs)

Wow!  That’s significant, don’t you think?

Oh, and before I forget, quinoa is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant.  But you knew that already, didn’t you?  :)  It’s not technically a grain, but is often prepared as a grain because of the way it can be cooked.  It’s a good source of protein, calcium, and iron. I’ve never eaten it – have you?

Be sure to come back tomorrow.  We’re going to look at why these specific foods are considered superfoods and what they can do for us.

Have a wonderful Wednesday and eat something good for you today!
♥ Rachel


8 Responses to “What in the World is Quinoa?”

  1. Cancer Warrior April 11, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    Great blog Rachel! I made major changes to my diet in January, and am trying my best to incorporate lots of cancer-fighting foods, such as quinoa. In our fight against cancer, diet and exercise are our best defence.
    Oh, by the way, I didn’t get the chance to comment on your blog about getting a sun burn, but I thougth, “Hmmmm, I wonder what Tad thought of that?” (Kidding)

    • rachturner April 11, 2012 at 8:15 am #

      Ha Ha! Flo – Good thought!! Tad was not happy about my sunburn. :) I was so embarrased coming to work on Monday because I knew everyone would think I didn’t wear my BullFrog!! :)

  2. Claudia Schmidt April 11, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Hi Rachel – Quinoa is one of my absolutely favorite grains! Something I found post BC when I was trying to eat less meat and more healthy/protein packed grains. Quinoa is delicious and really, really easy to make – takes about 15 minutes. LOTS of protein in each cup and really low cal – what’s not to like! Great post, thanks for sharing. Best, Claudia

    • rachturner April 11, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      Good to know, Claudia! I’m going to have to give it a try. Do you make it on it’s own or use it in a recipe – or both?

      • Claudia Schmidt April 11, 2012 at 10:50 am #

        Both. I have one that I make from a Weight Watchers recipe with spinach. Sounds horrible :) but it’s delicious! I use it in lieu of rice in other recipes, as well. Try it, I’ll bet you’ll like it.

  3. The Savvy Sister April 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Quinoa is great! I hope you don’t mind me posting a link to my Quinoa Sloppy Joe recipe. (I call this my “carnivore converter”) Eating sloppy joes is a nice tasty way to get familiar with quinoa!

    • rachturner April 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

      Don’t mind at all! That recipe looks interesting. I like sloppy joes, but we hardly ever eat them. This could be a good way to have them without the guilt. Thanks, Susan!

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