We're all looking for the new thing to help us become just that little bit healthier this New Year and it seems we could be given a helping hand by the tiny grains of pseudo-cereal that make quinoa the food for fitness in 2013.
Natually, it's already a favourite in the super trim celebrity world including actresses Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow – hardly surprising considering it is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.
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Low in carbs yet packed with protein, containing all nine essential amino acids which contribute to cell renewal, quinoa tastes superb in a superfood salad that will be sure to leave you at your leanest.
Cooked like rice, quinoa's light and fluffy texture exudes a mild nutty flavour adding a gluten-free and goodness-loaded richness to many a meal.
Because quinoa is so rich in fibre your body reaps the full benefits of the grain's abundance in vitamins and minerals. Both protein and fibre can make you feel fuller for longer, encouraging slower eating leaving us less likely to binge on unhealthy snacks later in the day.
Dietary fibre also binds to fat and cholesterol which may also encourage gradual weight loss – so that's another New Year's resolution we can tick off the list!
In addition to its high fibre content, quinoa is loaded with magnesium, calcium, iron, folates, vitamin B6 and phosphorous – an impressive combination which could all reduce the risk of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
And who could argue with a new health kick that can be whipped up in minutes – perhaps the ultimate reason for beginning the quinoa craze…
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups cold water
Optional: 1/4 tsp salt
1. Rinse quinoa and (optional) soak the grains for roughly five minutes in your cooking pot. Soaking helps quinoa to cook evenly, and loosens up any residue of saponin which can give a bitter taste
2. Drain well in a fine mesh sieve, transfer back to the cooking pot, add 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt if desired. No salt will make quinoa softer and fluffier, whilst a little addition will make the grains firmer and it may take a couple of extra minutes to cook
3. Bring to the boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer leaving to cook for 15 minutes
Now that your quinoa is ready to be fluffed up with a fork and served, why not try one of these nutritiously delicious – and healthy – recipes:
Quinoa Porridge with Macadamia Nut Milk
Original superfoods salad
Risotto of Quinoa, with butternut squash, woodland mushrooms