Quinoa vs. Rice: The Health Benefits of Each Grain

Quinoa vs. Rice: The Health Benefits of Each Grain

There was a time rice was the only grain in town. Not anymore.

Quinoa has emerged as a healthy alternative. It has already taken rice’s place in many recipes.

But if you love rice, the news isn’t all bad. Both grains have health benefits.

What is quinoa?
You could argue that comparing quinoa with rice isn’t fair, because quinoa isn’t actually a grain. It’s the seed of the goosefoot plant and a relative of beets and spinach.

But quinoa is known as a pseudocereal because it’s cooked and eaten like a grain and has a similar nutritional profile.

The benefits of quinoa
It’s a complete protein.
It’s high in fiber.
It’s high in minerals.
What are the health benefits of quinoa?
Quinoa is nutrient-rich and has significant health benefits, including:

It’s a complete protein
For such a tiny seed, quinoa has a lot of protein: One cup cooked has 8 grams. Quinoa is one of the few plant sources of complete protein. This means it contains all nine of the essential amino acids your body needs. Even so, quinoa is higher in calories than other protein sources.

It’s gluten-free
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free. Keep in mind that some brands may become cross-contaminated with other grains such as wheat during processing. If you have celiac disease or you’re sensitive to gluten, only use brands that are certified gluten-free.

It’s high in fiber
One cup of quinoa contains 5 grams of dietary fiber, which is more than white or brown rice. Fiber helps prevent constipation, helps control blood sugar levels, and may help lower cholesterol. Fiber also helps you maintain a healthy weight by making you feel fuller longer, so you’re less likely to overeat.

It’s high in minerals
Quinoa is a great source of:

iron
magnesium
phosphorus
manganese
zinc
It also contains calcium, potassium, and selenium.

It may be good for your gut
Quinoa may help protect your gastrointestinal tract. According to a 2012 study, polysaccharides in the cell wall of quinoa showed gastroprotective activity against acute gastric lesions in rats. More study is needed on humans, but the study strengthens the theory that quinoa has anti-inflammatory abilities and is good for your gut.

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