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Whole Grain Benefits

Here’s why you’ll want to reintroduce quinoa into your diet again



Given the myriad of low-carb diets touted over the past few years, it may seem like the macronutrient is viewed as public enemy number one.

But ICYMI, carbohydrates are actually the body’s preferred source of energy, and nutritionists still recommend getting them in healthy amounts, says Mia Syn, MS, RDN, a registered nutritionist based in Charleston, South Carolina.

“We need more carbohydrates than we need protein or fat,” she explains. “It makes up 45 to 65 percent of our daily calories, so it still makes up the majority of what we put in [United States Department of Agriculture’s] Dietary Guidelines. “

One way to fill yourself up: Include quinoa in your diet. This is where you can find all the essential information about whole grains, including the health benefits of quinoa that will convince any carbohydrate skeptic to put it on their plate.

What is quinoa?

Quinoa benefits(Image credit: Westend61 / Getty Images)

Although technically a type of edible seed, quinoa (pronounced spicy-wah) is considered a whole grain native to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Peru, where locals have grown it for about 5,000 years, according to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).

There are more than 120 known types of quinoa, but grocery stores usually label them as white, red, or black. And just like farro and rice, quinoa is naturally gluten-free, which makes it an ideal whole grain for people with intolerance or celiac disease, according to HSPH.

Nutritional information about quinoa

This whole grain may be tiny (seriously, one seed is only 0.8 inches in diameter), but it contains a ton of nutrients that are good for you. In particular, quinoa is a source of complete protein, fiber, energizing B vitamins, and other vitamins that play key roles in maintaining the immune system and preventing birth defects in pregnant women, Syn says.

Before diving into the exact health benefits of quinoa, here is the nutritional profile of 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • 111 calories
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 2 grams of fat
  • 20 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • <1 gram of sugar

Health benefits of quinoa

Helps build and repair muscles

(Photo credit: Anastase Maragos / Unsplash)

Compared to other whole grains, quinoa comes out on top when it comes to protein – a macronutrient that helps build and repair muscles and tissues. In half a cup of cooked grain, you get 4 grams of protein – double an equal serving of brown rice.

This protein is also complete, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that HSPH says can only be obtained from food and that the body needs to make new protein. “Most whole grains are not whole, and that can lead to that [quinoa] attractive to vegetarians or vegans who avoid animal products, which are mainly complete sources of protein, ”says Syn.

FTR, meatless eaters don’t have to eat bowls and bowls of quinoa every day to make sure they get hold of all of these amino acids. Plant-based people can get all of the amino acids they need by consuming a variety of protein-rich plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds on a daily basis, according to HSPH.

But if you want to snap them all in one sitting, quinoa will help you get the job done – and bag 9 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein.

Supports healthy digestion

Ingest half a cup of cooked quinoa and you will get almost 3 grams of fiber, the pieces of plant-based food that your body cannot digest. Not only does the nutrient reduce constipation and normalize your number two, but it can also help lower low-density lipoprotein (also known as LDL or “bad”) cholesterol, which in turn can lower your risk of heart disease or stroke Mayo Clinic.

While this aid will only cover 9 percent of the RDA for fiber optics, it is a step in the right direction.

Supports the metabolism

(Photo credit: Andrew Heald / Unsplash)

Quinoa is a whole grain – that is, it contains 100 percent of the original kernel, including bran, germ, and endosperm – so it retains its energizing B vitamins, Syn says. A quick lesson in food science: B vitamins are mostly found in bran of a grain (the outer layer) and stored in the germ (the core of the seed), but refining or grinding the grain removes those two nutritious layers, according to the HSPH.

Because these components stay intact, half a cup of cooked quinoa provides 11 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine), which helps convert food into the energy you need to function properly. Another Quinoa Health Benefit: This half-cup provides nearly 9 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin B-6, a nutrient needed to carry out enzyme reactions that are involved in metabolism, such as breaking down proteins, carbohydrates and Greases HSPH.

Helps prevent birth defects

In half a cup of quinoa, you get nearly 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance for folate, a B vitamin that helps with DNA production and cell division. Folate also plays a key role in preventing neural tube defects, making it an important nutrient for pregnant women, Syn says.

Even people who have no plans to have a baby in the near future should still try to hit that RDA of 400 micrograms if they are able to conceive, as these defects develop in the first few weeks of pregnancy – often before anyone finds them, they await, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, a bowl of quinoa can help you get one step closer to that recommendation.

Supports a strong immune system

(Photo credit: Marku Spiske / Unsplash)

These quinoa health benefits increase your chances of keeping the cold at bay. Half a cup of whole grains contains nearly 13 percent of the recommended daily allowance for zinc, a mineral that is needed to develop and activate T cells (a type of white blood cell that protects the body from infection) and, in turn, your immune system to Fight off disease-causing bacteria and viruses, according to the NIH.

Even a slight zinc deficiency can impair your immune system’s ability to defend itself against infection. That said, you should add quinoa – along with other zinc-rich foods like chicken, pumpkin seeds, and yogurt – to your cold toolkit.

Keeps your body in top shape

From controlling muscle and nerve function to regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure, magnesium is an all-round mineral that is abundant in quinoa. In fact, half a cup of cooked grain gives you 19 percent of the recommended daily allowance for magnesium – a key health benefit of quinoa given that many people in the US get less than the recommended amount, according to the NIH.

Aside from keeping your body functioning smoothly on a daily basis, research shows that the mineral also plays a role in preventing diabetes, osteoporosis, bronchial asthma, preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), migraines, and cardiovascular disease.

Buy and eat quinoa

When these quinoa nutritional values ​​and health benefits have convinced you to go pro-carb (or further cement your love for the macronutrient), it’s time to fill your pantry with the cereal. When choosing a quinoa, consider how you plan to use it. While all strains share a similar nutritional profile, white quinoa has a fluffy texture and mild taste that make it great for stand-alone accompaniments, Syn says.

(Photo credit: Pierre Bamin / Unsplash)

Red and black varieties, on the other hand, are slightly nutty and retain their shape, so they might work best in cold salads, according to the Whole Grains Council. If you’re not sure which variety is best for your dish, opt for a bag of tri-colored quinoa to experience all of these unique textures and tastes. In its uncooked form, quinoa can be kept for several months in an airtight container or bag, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Before you start cooking, check the package for flush recommendations. Most packaged quinoa are already washed, but some brands suggest rinsing them again in a fine-mesh strainer to remove any remaining saponins – a bitter-tasting natural compound that coats the outside of the seed and acts as a natural pesticide, according to HSPH .

When you’re ready to snack, pour one part dry quinoa and two parts liquid, such as water or broth, into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then, according to the HSPH, reduce the heat to a low level, put a lid on the saucepan, and simmer the quinoa until it’s soft and soaked up the liquid – about 15 minutes.

Quinoa recipe ideas

(Photo credit: Sonny Mauricio / Unsplash)

While you could eat a bowl neat for all of quinoa’s health benefits, the whole grain product is easy to spice up and incorporate into your favorite dishes. Steal These Quinoa Ideas:

In the salad. After you’ve cooked a large amount of quinoa, let the grain cool, then mix it with fresh vegetables and side dishes for a hearty salad, Syn suggests.

In soup. While you’re simmering broccoli cheddar, chicken noodles, chickpeas, or soup of your choice, add a serving or two of dry quinoa to increase the protein and fiber content of the dish.

In vegetarian burgers. If you have the time and energy to prepare a serving of homemade veggie burgers, quinoa can be a great addition, says Syn. The cereal brings extra fiber into the plant-based dish and helps you get all of the essential amino acids in one meal.

As a filling. Although peppers are usually filled with rice, quinoa can do the job too. Better still, combine cooked quinoa with a protein (think: chicken or tempeh) and then use it as a filling for a baked winter squash, Syn suggests.

As a porridge. When your taste buds are fed up with the granola or oats, add some quinoa to your morning meal. “I like to use it as breakfast porridge, and like oatmeal, quinoa can be made sweet or savory,” says Syn.

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Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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