Quinoa Glycemic Index

Quinoa is becoming popular as a health staple. There are three main types of quinoa which are quite similar and can be used interchangeably when cooking. White quinoa is the most common and has a very mild flavor that makes it suitable in a variety of recipes. Red quinoa has a crunchy texture and stronger flavor and needs a longer cooking time. Black quinoa is very crunchy when cooked and also has the strongest flavor. Quinoa glycemic index is relatively low so this food is much safer alternative for diabetics.

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Quinoa Glycemic Index

A 150g serving of cooked quinoa has received a glycemic index rating of 53 from the Glycemic Index Foundation. This scale defines foods under 10 as having a low glycemic index, 11-19 has a medium glycemic index and 20 and above have a high glycemic index. These ratings are used to help people understand the quality of carbohydrates in this food and how these carbohydrates will impact the blood sugar. However, a glycemic index rating does not necessarily reflect the health value of a food. A cup of cooked quinoa has 25g of carbohydrates with a glycemic load of 13. The quality of these carbs makes this food a high quality energy source that does not spike blood sugar levels.

The glycemic index rating for quinoa means that it offers more stable energy than items like corn or potatoes. These items break down into sugar very quickly, causing the blood sugar to spike. Foods that have a high glycemic index tend to be very starchy and contain a great deal of sugar that can cause weight gain and diabetes. If consumed regularly, foods with a high glycemic index will cause a constant state of high blood sugar which will lead to insulin resistance that may in turn cause high cholesterol and high blood sugar.

Quinoa Nutrition

Quinoa contains high amounts of iron, calcium, B vitamins and magnesium. It has soluble and insoluble fiber and a complement of amino acids that makes it an ideal food source for those that desire alternate protein sources to meat.

  • Protein. Many seek out quinoa because it is low in fat and cholesterol but has a high protein content that is ideal for vegetarian and vegan diets. Women should consume 46g of protein for day and men should consume 56g. A cup of cooked quinoa contains around 8.14g of protein which helps you work toward that goal.
  • Fat. Because quinoa is a seed it does contain a small amount of fat, around 3.4g per cup. To compare, 185g of lean ground beef that is cooked to temperature contains around 33g of fat.
  • Calories. Quinoa naturally low in calories, containing around 222 calories per cup. The amount of calories and fat in each serving will vary based on how you prepare the quinoa and any other ingredients you add to the dish.
  • Other Nutrients. Quinoa is often sought out by vegans and vegetarians because it is a non-meat source of iron and fiber. One cup of cooked quinoa can contain as much as 15 percent of your daily recommended value for iron and 21 percent of your daily recommended value for fiber. Quinoa is also high in magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium and zinc.

The content of nutrition is based on one cup of cooked quinoa or 185g.

Cooked Quinoa

Nutrition

Amount per Serving

Protein

8.14g

Fat

3.4g

Calorie

222

Magnesium

118mg

Fiber

5g

Carbohydrates

39.41mg

Calcium

31mg

Iron

2.76mg

Potassium

318mg

Sodium

13mg

Zinc

2.02mg

The figures below outline the nutritional value for a cup of uncooked quinoa or 170g.

Uncooked Quinoa

Nutrition

Amount Per Serving

Calories

626

Total Fat

  • Saturated Fat
  • Trans Fat
  • Polyunsaturated Fat
  • Monounsaturated Fat

10.3 g

  • 1.2g
  • 0g
  • 5.6g
  • 2.7g

Cholesterol

0mg

Sodium

9mg

Total Carbohydrates

  • Dietary Fiber

109.1g

  • 11.9g

Protein

24g

Calcium

8% of daily value

Iron

43% of daily value

Quinoa Benefits

  • Keep Bone Health. A serving of quinoa contains all nine of the essential amino acids that the body uses to develop metabolic enzymes and muscle tissue. It is also high in protein and calcium used to develop healthy collagen and bone tissue to support bone matrix growth.
  • Lower Cholesterol. In recent studies, rats that were bred to have high cholesterol levels were fed a quinoa diet and a high fructose diet. After these rates were exposed to quinoa the high cholesterol and fructose effects began to disappear.
  • Relieve Migraine. Quinoa contains high amounts of riboflavin that can help to transport oxygen into your cells, relieving migraines and preventing new ones from occurring.
  • Boost Cardiovascular Health. Quinoa is also high in magnesium which can help to cut down on the risk of hypertension that can put pressure on the blood vessels. Magnesium can also decrease blood pressure by impacting the production of the hormone angiotension II.
  • Prevent Gallstones. The high amount of insoluble dietary fiber in quinoa can reduce bile stagnation and lower the triglycerides to limit your risk of developing gallstones.
  • Help Lose Weight. Because quinoa is very high in protein and dietary fiber, one serving can make you feel quite full so you are less likely to binge on other foods. Quinoa is also low in calories so you can eat two or three servings and still consume fewer calories than you were to eat, say, a serving of pasta.
  • Aid in Diabetics. Quinoa is not likely to spike your blood sugar. This makes it a much safer alternative for diabetics to consume compared to most simple grains.
  • Balance Your Body PH. Quinoa is an alkaline food rather than acidic, so it can be consumed to balance out your diet to maintain an alkaline state in the body.
  • Prepare Easily. Many people are seeking out quinoa because it is very easy to cook. In years past, quinoa could only be found at specialty stores and had to be rinsed many times to remove the saponins that added a very bitter flavor to the food. Today quinoa is available pre-rinsed in many stores. It can easily be cooked in just 15 minutes. Like rolled oats, rolled quinoa can be prepared instantly for a morning meal.
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