20 steps to a healthier you with GloHealth - Step 3: Try a Super-Seed!

Introduce some convenience into family meals without compromising on nutrition – pronounced "keen-wa" and introduced from the South American Andes, quinoa is packed with nutritional goodness and can be prepared like rice or couscous.

Quinoa’s popularity has risen because it’s so easy to prepare and provides an excellent alternative to white rice or couscous, explains Consultant Dietitian Paula Mee, well known to RTE viewers from her appearances on The Afternoon Show.

In fact this ‘super seed’ is in such huge demand that the UN designated 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa!

Quinoa is a favourite of Mee’s for several reasons, she says. According to Mee, it tastes great on its own, unlike many grains, it’s got a high protein content and a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it an unusually complete foodstuff and perfect for vegetarians and vegans.

It contains more iron, phosphorus, magnesium or calcium than wheat, is considered easy to digest, and is gluten free, meaning those with coeliac disease are able to eat it without suffering any abdominal distress.

It’s also a good source of fibre and acts as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in the gut and creating an environment that supports a healthy digestive system.

It’s becoming more popular as a high-protein breakfast food when mixed with almonds or seeds, says Mee, who also suggests mixing it into salads when you want some texture but not the calories provided by nuts.

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