eciently the popularity of the so-called “superfoods” has grown, which are foods that have a large amount of essential nutrients for our body, but are also beneficial for our health, all this without going through any chemical or industrial process that alters or modifies its qualities.
For athletes, this type of food is very advantageous, since it can help to obtain a good part of the daily requirements of our body in terms of nutrients, without an excess of fats, sugars or other elements that are contrary to the objectives that are sought.
Within this category of superfoods is quinoa, which although many think that it is a cereal, it is actually the seed of the Chenopodium Quinoa plant, which belongs to the same family as spinach. Although this food has recently risen to fame for its benefits, it traces its origins to the Inca civilization, who already used it as a fundamental part of their diet due to its high nutritional value.
Next we will review the benefits of quinoa and why this superfood is ideal for the diet of athletes.
BENEFITS OF CONSUMING QUINOA
Quinoa is a food that will provide a good amount of nutrients necessary for our diet, among them we can mention the following:
- It is a rich source of vegetable protein, with a contribution of 16.5 grams per 100 grams of quinoa. In addition to this, it contains all the essential amino acids for the absorption of proteins and the construction of muscle mass, which is why it is considered a source of quality protein with high biological value.
- It contains a high value of vitamins of the complex B, E and C; It also contains minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium and silica.
- It contains fiber, which helps to maintain our intestinal transit and to better absorb the nutrients that enter our body.
- It has healing, anti-inflammatory, digestive properties and helps cleanse the liver of toxins.
- It is invigorating and energizing, in fact the Inca warriors used it as a source of energy.
- It contains slow-absorbing carbohydrates, which means that it promotes a feeling of fullness in our stomach, avoiding the need to eat between meals and maintaining a constant supply of energy in our body.
- It has a very low fat content, of approximately 9%, where linoleic acid predominates, which belongs to the Omega 6 family and which helps the proper maintenance of the nervous system, the production of hormones and the coagulation processes.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR ATHLETES?
Although all the qualities that we have mentioned above can be used by anyone, regardless of whether they exercise or not, athletes have found quinoa a very complete food due to two main reasons: its high protein content and its low contribution of fats .
Quinoa provides more protein per 100 grams than any cereal , an important factor if you are looking for muscle gain or maintenance, but unlike animal protein that is the main source of protein for athletes, quinoa has a lower fat content, so we can achieve a cleaner muscle gain.
Another point in favor in this regard is the amount of essential ammonium acids contained in quinoa , which are not present in any cereal or plant food that contains protein and which makes the protein contained in quinoa closely resemble that found in products of animal origin.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE?
Preparing quinoa to make it part of our daily meals is very simple, you just have to follow the following steps:
- First you have to wash the quinoa very well to remove a coating similar to the resin that is on the outside and that if we consume it it could cause digestive problems as it contains a toxic substance.
- After washing the quinoa, we proceed to cook it following the same guidelines as when we cook rice, that is, for each measure of quinoa we will use two measures of water.
- The quinoa will be ready after approximately 15 to 20 minutes of cooking, this can be verified because the seeds open and expose the starch.
- If we want to achieve a different flavor in the quinoa, after cooking it we can toast it a little using a frying pan without oil; toasting will make the quinoa give off a flavor more similar to that of walnut, which can be very delicious to mix with sweet foods.
- After going through this procedure, the quinoa can be consumed in all the ways that our imagination allows us. We can mix it in salads with fruits or vegetables, combine it with rice, use it as a garnish in our meals and a long etcetera.
Although this issue is not yet fully defined, some studies reveal that a daily consumption of up to 100 grams of quinoa can have great benefits for the health of athletes. Ideally, divide this amount into two or three important meals to maintain a constant supply of nutrients in our body.
There is a myth that due to its carbohydrate content quinoa could lead us to gain weight, the truth is that the carbohydrates contained in quinoa are complex starches, which are slowly absorbed in the body and keep our supply of energy, which helps keep your metabolism regulated.
For its part, quinoa also contains a lot of fiber, which makes the feeling of satiety after eating last longer, avoiding the typical snacks.
So now you know, quinoa is an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fiber that will be of benefit to the diet of any athlete; include quinoa in your daily diet and enjoy the benefits that superfoods contain.