Quinoa and Kale Two Nutrient Rich Superfoods YOU Should Include in Your Diet

SUPERFOODS AND HARMFUL FOODS Contribution By Mike Geary (Page 6)

Although we've been telling you that grains such as wheat and corn are the worst things in the modern western diet, Quinoa, on the otherhand, is a great alternative that is not actually a grain. It's a superfood seed that's high in 'complete protein' (unlike other grains), it's gluten-free, and also has loads of other important nutrients.

What Exactly is Quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), is actually an ancient favorite of the Incas and the Native South Americans of Chili, Peru and Bolivia. The Incas prized it so much it was considered a sacred seed. But quinoa was all but wiped out when the Spanish conquerors attempted to destroy all traces of quinoa, and forbid the cultivation of this seed, instead forcing the South Americans to grow corn.

Quinoa was revived in the U.S. when a couple of Americans began to grow and cultivate it, and since then it has started to catch on as a healthy alternative to grain. While quinoa is often called a grain, it is actually a seed and a member of the same family as beets, chard, and spinach. These little nutty tasting seeds are actually full of nutrition and rich in amino acids.

A Nutritional Superstar

Quinoa is a very good low glycemic carbohydrate source, and rich with manganese, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, vitamin E, and several B vitamins.

The protein in quinoa is superb; in fact it contains an almost perfect balance of all 8 essential amino acids needed by humans. It is also very high in the amino acids, lysine, cystine, and methionine (amino acids that are typically low in grains).

I personally recommend quinoa over anything made with wheat and corn, because quinoa doesn't contain the detrimental anti-nutrients that wheat and corn contain. Plus quinoa is nutritionally superior to most grains in terms of protein quality as well as overall nutrient content, in addition to being gluten-free.

Ideas, Recipes, Cooking and Eating Quinoa

Cooked quinoa is excellent in casseroles and soups, stews, stir-fries, pilafs, or cold in salads. The seeds can be cooked in about 15 minutes.

Quinoa can be substituted for rice (for higher protein and fiber content) in many dishes. Try dry roasting quinoa in a pan or in the oven before cooking to give it a toasted, nuttier flavor. I often cook quinoa in free-range chicken broth for added taste.

Try a cold salad with cooked quinoa, and your favorite veggies chopped up. I like to add parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, chopped tomatoes, some sweet onion, and chopped zucchini. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, some sea salt and pepper and viola! a tasty nutritious salad.

Quinoa can also be a great breakfast substitute for oatmeal. It can be cooked and mixed with fruit, nuts, stevia, cinnamon, etc to your tastes. Have a couple whole eggs on the side for additional protein and healthy fats and you now have a perfect nutritionally balanced fat-burning breakfast!

Quinoa seeds can be sprouted and eaten as raw, live food for snacks or in salads and sandwiches. To sprout the seeds, soak about 1/3 cup seeds in a jar for 2 to 4 hours, then drain and rinse the seeds twice a day for 2 to 4 days. When the sprouts are about 1 inch long, place them near a window which will give them a vibrant green color. Another fascinating way of using quinoa is to 'pop' the seeds in a dry skillet and eat them as a dry cereal.

Baking With Quinoa - The Healthier Substitution

Quinoa flour is a much more nutritionally beneficial way to bake compared to typical wheat flour that's used in almost all baked goods.

I personally like to use a blend of quinoa flour, almond flour, and coconut flour to get a lower starch content and higher protein and fiber content in my baked goods (plus to make sure the recipe is gluten-free) -- this combo of 3 flours is AMAZING in banana bread, zucchini bread, or carrot cake bread or muffins, but will work with anything if you use your creativity in baking.

Quinoa and quinoa flour are not quite yet mainstream grocery store items, but usually can be found in the health food section of your grocery store or at a health food store. If you want a healthier grain alternative that's higher in protein, high in fiber, and gluten-free (as well as delicious), give quinoa a try!

Kale... Not Just a Garnish It's a Superfood

Kale belongs to the same plant family as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and collard greens, and provides you with a rich source of vitamins and minerals.

The 10 - 15 organosulphur compounds these superfood vegetables contain have been proven to be highly effective against many cancers, including stomach cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. When these vegetables are chewed, enzymes in the liver are triggered to produce enzymes that disable cancer-causing agents in the body.

In addition to the powerful organosulphurs that help to safeguard against cancer, kale also protects the eyes with the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. These phytochemicals help protect the eyes against ultraviolet-light sun damage, prevent cataracts and reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD) - the leading cause of blindness amongst older people.

Exceptional Nutrient Richness

Kale is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, B6, manganese, calcium, copper, and potassium, and while one cup of kale only has 36 calories, it provides 192% of your daily vitamin A and 90% of your daily value of vitamin C - since this is a plant source of vitamin A, you cannot overdose on it.

Manganese is a trace mineral that is important for the synthesis of fatty acids necessary for sex hormones and the nervous system. It also helps to metabolize and utilize energy from protein and carbohydrates, making it the perfect fat-burning element.

The calcium in kale when combined with the vitamin A and the vitamin K2 in grass fed butter is highly utilized by the body and works to reverse osteoporosis and strengthen bones. It is one of the best ways to keep your bones and teeth strong and also keep your blood vessels clean.

Cholesterol Lowering Benefits

And there’s even more that kale is good for... kale contains a phytochemical called indole-3-carbinol (I3C), that actually lowers the liver’s secretion of a chemical that normally transports LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) to tissues and blood vessels. I3C has also been shown in studies to help fight the effects of xenoestrogens that make belly fat stubborn.

Kale can be chopped up raw and added to salads in small amounts or sautéed lightly with olive oil, grass fed butter and a squeeze of lemon and garlic. Or try braising chopped kale with chopped tart apples. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and serve with walnuts sprinkled on top.

Kale is a dark, bluish-green leafy vegetable with curly leaves and firm stalks. Look for kale that is not limp or wilted. For best taste, choose the kale with smaller leaves, since they have a milder taste.

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