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health 2 copyPage 1 copyLast year was declared the Year of Quinoa by health experts, and research continues to reveal that a quinoa-rich diet has more than just a few health benefits.

Referred to as the ‘mother of all grains’, quinoa has arrived in Pakistan. Its white, red and black varieties line shelves at supermarkets, while many restaurants have started adding quinoa based entrees (including quinoa and vegetable stuffed peppers and quinoa stuffed chicken) to their menus.

For vegans and people suffering from celiac disease, quinoa is an ideal substitute for wheat and yeast (which contain gluten, while quinoa does not) to make bread, puddings, cakes.
and pasta.

Quinoa offers a host of health benefits:

Reduces inflammation. Rich in phytonutrients, quinoa reduces inflammation, repairs tissues, aids cell regeneration and prevents infections. With high levels of manganese, quinoa protects the body’s healthy cells from radical damage and flushes out toxins.

Improves heart health. Quinoa contains lignans which protect the heart by removing plaque from arterial walls. High levels of magnesium regulate blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels, and prevent blood vessel contraction, thereby reducing the incidence of cardiac disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Maintains a strong nervous system. Quinoa promotes haemoglobin formation due to the presence of iron which results in a higher volume of oxygen reaching the nervous system, thereby strengthening it. High riboflavin content promotes blood vessel expansion in the brain and reduces the frequency and intensity of migraines.

Promotes a healthy digestive system. A high-carb grain, quinoa-based foods lower the risk of developing haemorrhoids, relieve constipation and promote optimal digestion. Furthermore, quinoa based foods are filling and low in calories and keep hunger pangs at bay. This makes it ideal for people who want to lose weight.

– Saba Gul Hasan
The writer is a dietician.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 27, 2014.