Often used as a substitute for rice, this super versatile food can be made into flour, flakes, pasta, breads and so much more.
This is an ancient seed that has been rediscovered in recent years and now it has earned its own day – National Quinoa Day!
History of National Quinoa Day
Pronounced “keen-waa”, the background of quinoa can be traced back thousands of years when it was a local staple food in the Central and South American areas of the world, in countries that are now modern day Chile, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru.
In some cultures during ancient times, quinoa was considered to be a ‘magical’ food and it even garnered worship from Emperors as well as many other people. The fact that this food was so revered caused some problems in the 1500s, however, when the Spanish made their way into the area. This led to the destruction of the plants and the banning of growing quinoa for many generations.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that quinoa was brought into the modern era when it was introduced into North America and it grew in popularity from there. When two American students of a Bolivian philosopher and teacher were introduced to the seed as a beneficial food, they brought the plant to the United States. They even started a company producing and selling quinoa.
Although it might not truly be magical like the ancients thought, quinoa is considered by many to be a ‘superfood’, meaning that it is chock full of nutrients as well as being rich in vitamins and protein. In fact, the United Nations even declared 2013 to be the International Year of Quinoa, which celebrated and recognized the Andean people who preserved this food in its natural state all throughout history.
As an added benefit that makes it great for just about any family, quinoa functions like a grain but is not in the grain family. It is actually a seed from the plant called Chenopodium quinoa, which is related to other plants like beets, spinach and chard. The fact that it is not a grain means that it can safely be eaten by those who have gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
With all of its nutritional value and delicious taste, now is the perfect time to enjoy and celebrate National Quinoa Day!
National Quinoa Day Timeline
Quinoa is used in the Americas
Archaeological discoveries show that quinoa is placed in tombs during this time.
Spanish armies order quinoa destruction
Europeans recognize the power of this grain for the Inca population and they criminalize this “magical” grain.
Quinoa is reintroduced in the modern world
Oscar Ichazo, a Bolivian mystic and philosopher, encourages his American students to eat quinoa – and two of them start a quinoa company.
NorQuin company begins
One of the largest quinoa companies in North America, NorQuin company gets its start this year.
International Year of the Quinoa
The United Nations declares quinoa to be a superfood and celebrates it this year.
How to Celebrate National Quinoa Day
Get on board with this delicious and beneficial food by celebrating National Quinoa Day. Enjoy the day with some of these ideas:
Learn More About Quinoa Health Benefits
As a superfood, quinoa is incredibly healthy and chock full of nutrition. Take a look at some of these amazing reasons that it’s a good idea to start including more quinoa into your daily diet:
Full of Fiber
Quinoa has the ability to lower the cholesterol and aid in digestion, possibly even helping with weight loss and promoting heart health.
Packed with Protein
It’s one of the only plants that provides a complete protein, including the essential amino acids that the body is unable to produce on its own.
Chronic inflammation can lead to a number of different problems and diseases, but quinoa has some anti-inflammatory properties from phenolic acids, cell wall polysaccharides and vitamin E-family nutrients like gamma-tocopherol.
Promote Heart Health
Eating quinoa can be beneficial for the heart, not only due to its high fiber, but also mono-unsaturated fat and dietary flavonoids. Plus, quinoa may be able to lower free fatty-acid levels and triglycerides.
Eat Some Delicious Quinoa
Quinoa can be eaten and enjoyed in a variety of ways, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It can be added to salads, made into porridge for breakfast, used in burger patties or simply eaten as a side dish substitute for rice. Head over to a health food grocery store or restaurant and pick up a serving of quinoa in celebration of National Quinoa Day!
Share Some Fun Facts About Quinoa
Have tons of fun on National Quinoa Day and raise awareness for the day by encouraging friends and family members to get excited about celebrating! Get started by sharing some of these bits of trivia about quinoa with those you come across today:
Quinoa has a long shelf life
Uncooked quinoa can be stored for up to six months. Its life can be extended longer when in an airtight container and in the refrigerator.
Peru is the world’s largest producer of quinoa
As the global market for quinoa continues to emerge, Peru stands as the world’s highest producer at around 57% and Bolivia comes in second at 40%. Most of the quinoa eaten in the United States is imported from South America.
Quinoa grows in different color varieties
In addition to the standard beige quinoa, there are also options for black quinoa and red quinoa.
Quinoa plants can grow almost anywhere
This plant is very resilient and adaptable to many environments, including mountainous areas, extreme temperatures and high altitudes.
Try Some New Quinoa Recipe Ideas
Give that healthy diet a boost by adding quinoa to a variety of different meals that the family eats on a regular basis. On National Quinoa Day, get some inspiration from some of these unique ideas for quinoa recipes:
- Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Apples. Eaten as a main dish or a side dish, this vegetarian quinoa salad features delicious and healthy sweet potatoes.
- Quinoa Egg Bowl with Pecorino. This one is great for breakfast or at any time of the day, channeling the idea of a caesar salad by including a runny egg for the big finish.
- Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf. Turn a meatloaf into a much healthier meal by using ground turkey and supplementing with delicious and nutritious quinoa. It also includes carrots and bell peppers to add some other vitamins.
- Moroccan Quinoa Soup. Thick and hearty like a stew, this quinoa soup uses split red lentils, peppers, tomatoes, and tons of delicious spices and seasonings.
National Quinoa Day FAQs
What is quinoa?
A flowering plant in the amaranth family, quinoa is not a grain but is sometimes called a ‘pseudograin’ and is also considered a ‘superfood’.
Is quinoa good for you?
Quinoa is filled with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and very little fat.
Does quinoa have gluten?
Quinoa does not contain gluten, making it a great cereal for those with gluten allergies or sensitivities.
How to pronounce quinoa?
This food is pronounced “keen-waa”.
Is quinoa keto?
Though quinoa has a lot of protein, it also has a lot of carbs so doesn’t fit well with a keto diet.