The Health Benefits of Quinoa over Rice
Many people assume that quinoa is a grain, but it’s actually similar to spinach, chard, or beets. When you boil it in water or prepare it in a rice cooker, however, it takes on a texture much like white rice or couscous, says medical doctor, James Beckerman.
Carly Schuna, a food, cooking, and nutrition writer, mentioned that:
“Both brown rice and quinoa are nutritious, natural foods that are simple to prepare and offer a host of potential health benefits. Although brown rice is the more ubiquitous choice, most major health and natural food stores offer quinoa in both packaged and bulk varieties as well. If you’re trying to make a choice between the two, it’s helpful to look at how they stack up against each other nutritionally and in taste and texture.”
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Teri Coles of the Huffington Post also explained that:
“Brown rice has long been associated with hippies. Its chewiness and nutty texture are great when the grain is cooked properly, but very much not great when done wrong.
However, brown rice has a new rival for the title of healthiest grain — and it's technically a seed. Quinoa (pronounced like KEEN-wa) has been a staple food in Central America for centuries, and its seeds have been eaten for 6,000 years. Now quinoa has been quickly becoming more popular in Canada and the United States over the past few years. The seeds of the plant are treated as a grain, it's actually a pseudocereal, meaning it's not a grass plant.
Quinoa has quickly become popular for its versatility, its ability to take on the flavors it's cooked with, and its impressive health profile. Impressive enough to replace brown rice in your diet? Let's do a comparison. All of the nutritional information given is based on one cup (185 grams for quinoa, 195 grams for brown rice) of cooked grains.”
One cup of cooked quinoa has about 40 fewer calories than the same amount of white rice, but the real benefit is in the carbohydrates. White rice has almost 15 times more grams of carbohydrates, and quinoa provides 5 more grams of fiber and double the protein. The bottom line is that quinoa will not only help you cut calories, but it’ll also fill you so that you end up eating less. For some fast results, try substituting quinoa everywhere you would normally use rice, says Dr. Beckham.
According to the USDA, 1 cup of cooked brown rice has about 215 calories, 5 grams of protein, 1.75 grams of fat, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of natural sugar. A cup of cooked quinoa has 220 calories, 8 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, 39.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 5 grams of fiber. Although quinoa is slightly higher in fat, it edges out brown rice both in protein and dietary fiber amounts per serving. As a seed rather than a whole grain, The New York Times notes that quinoa contains all the essential amino acids, whereas whole grain brown rice does not make up a complete protein on its own.
Kitchen Tips on Potatoes
The website Recipe Tips shared that that potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place. They will keep at room temperature for up to two weeks and longer when stored in cool temperatures. If potatoes are purchased in a plastic bag, remove them from the bag and place in a basket or other such type of a container so that they will have proper air circulation.
A paper sack would be better than plastic because the plastic will trap moisture. Do not store in the refrigerator because the cold temperatures will convert the starches into sugar and the potato will become sweet and turn a dark color when cooked. Do not store with onions, as the gas given off by onions accelerate the decay of potatoes.
Added to that, Linnea Covington of the Food Republic explained that, unlike that plucked carrot or bunch of dead grapes, a potato is still living when you harvest it, albeit in a dormant state. Warmth and moisture can cause the spuds to start sprouting, which is why you are supposed to keep them cool and dry. “Seed potatoes are cones of the original,” says Alison LaCourse, owner of The Maine Potato Lady seed purveyor. “So yes, that is how you do it: plant a potato and it sprouts.” Just keep in mind this won’t happen with many commercial potatoes since it’s a common practice to coat them with sprout killer, which snuffs out the spud’s life for good.
Things You Need to Know About Sweet Potatoes
The sweet potato is a tropical plant native throughout the Americas. Tribes in North America were cultivating them by the time Columbus arrived, and he has been credited with introducing them to Europe.
As trade routes became more prevalent throughout the world, the sweet potato’s popularity continued to grow. With its pleasing taste, nutritional value, and ease of agricultural production, it quickly became established as one of the most popular vegetable crops in the world, second only to the common white potato.
Because they thrive in warmer climates, most sweet potatoes in the United States are grown in Southeastern states, most notably in North Carolina. The state has established the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission, which provides education, support, and updates regarding the industry, as discussed by Nikki Cervone in her article, “Everything You Need to Know about Sweet Potato.”
Megan Ware RDN LD reported that sweet potatoes pack a powerful nutritional punch. One medium spud contains more than 400 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement, plus loads of fiber and potassium. They have more grams of natural sugars than regular potatoes but more overall nutrients, with fewer calories.
She also listed the possible health benefits of this root crop:
Diabetes – Sweet potatoes are considered low on the glycemic index scale, and recent research suggests they may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes.
The fiber in sweet potatoes is important too. Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels. And people with type 2 diabetes have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One medium sweet potato (skin on) provides about 6 grams of fiber.
Blood pressure – Maintaining a low sodium intake helps maintain healthy blood pressure; however, increasing potassium intake may be just as important. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2 percent of American adults are meeting the daily 4,700-milligram recommendation for potassium. One medium sweet potato provides about 542 milligrams.
Also of note, high potassium intake is associated with a 20 percent decreased risk of dying from all causes.
Cancer – According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition, among younger men, diets rich in beta-carotene may help protect against prostate cancer. Beta-carotene may also protect against colon cancer, according to a Japanese study.
Digestion and regularity – Because of its high fiber content, sweet potatoes help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
Fertility – For women of childbearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources appears to promote fertility, according to Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes (consumed as beta-carotene then converted to vitamin A in the body) is also essential for hormone synthesis during pregnancy and lactation.
Immunity – Plant foods like sweet potatoes that are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients.
Inflammation – Choline, present in sweet potatoes, is a very important and versatile nutrient; it helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat, and reduces chronic inflammation.
In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, purple sweet potato extract was found to have anti-inflammatory effects as well as mopping up free radicals.
Vision – Vitamin A deficiency can damage vision; the cornea can become dry, leading to clouding of the front of the eye. It also prevents essential pigments from being produced. Correcting vitamin A deficiencies with foods high in beta-carotene can restore vision.
Also of note, the antioxidant vitamins C and E in sweet potatoes have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.
A higher intake of all fruits (3 or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease the risk and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
One Pot Quinoa and Sweet Potato Gratin½ cup quinoa
½ cup vegetable stock
350g sweet potatoes, medium-sized
3 medium yellow potatoes, large
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 scoop Momental Mind Nootropic
1 ½ cups heavy cream, 2%
1 sprig rosemary
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease a large baking dish or pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a saucepan, bring quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil. Cover it for 20 minutes and allow the quinoa to absorb all the water until quinoa is fluffy. Set aside.
- Wash all the potatoes, especially the skins. Slice thinly.
- In the prepared baking dish or pan, line all the potatoes, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Repeat until it reaches six layers.
- Mix a scoop of nootropic meal replacement to the heavy cream and pour on top of the mixture, spread cooked quinoa on top and sprinkle more cheese on top.
- Bake for 30–40 minutes or until quinoa is golden brown on top.