Last updated: August 19, 2021

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The most popular trend nowadays is to eat healthily, and quinoa has earned an important place in our diet. The great variety of presentations and brands of quinoa is so wide that you may have many doubts or simply not make a decision when making your purchase because you don't know which one is right for you.

You can find white, red or black quinoa and each one has unique characteristics and properties. This is where your knowledge of this seed will help you choose the right one. So throughout the article we will explain what it is, the important factors, where to get it and even its value. We hope you find it useful.




Summary

  • Quinoa is a seed with unique properties. Each seed provides nutrients, proteins, healthy fats such as Omega 6 and 3, fibre, as well as potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. On the other hand, it helps to control cholesterol levels, constipation, as well as being a high source of energy.
  • You can find it in 3 different types: white, red and black, and each one offers important health benefits to those who consume it. It is therefore necessary to pay attention to what each one offers. Depending on your needs, it is the type of quinoa and presentation that you require for an optimal result.
  • It is essential to consider the most important factors so that when you make your purchase, your choice is the right one. These are: presentation, grammage per package, reliable brand, ecological product, ingredients. Buying quinoa that is not what you have in mind may result in your dish not being the best for you.

The Best Quinoas: Our Picks

Buying Guide

If you are one of those people who are constantly concerned about your diet and are also looking for a way out of the dishes you usually prepare, quinoa and everything to do with this valuable seed should undoubtedly be among your options. You need to consider the most important criteria for your decision to be successful.

Quinoa is a very healthy seed. (Photo: Josep M� Suria/ 123rf.com)

What is quinoa and what are its advantages?

Quinoa is a seed that has beneficial properties for the human body. A single seed provides protein, healthy fats such as Omega 6 and 3, nutrients and fibre. It also provides potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Additionally, it helps control cholesterol, fights constipation, and is a high source of energy.

It is a very complete seed with characteristics that you cannot find in any other product, providing nutrients, vitamins and minerals that improve the quality of life of those who consume it. Here are its advantages and disadvantages, summarised in the following table:

Advantages
  • It is a high source of energy
  • It has many nutrients and proteins
  • It is rich in fibre
  • It helps with metabolism, cholesterol and constipation
  • It has a high level of antioxidants.
Disadvantages
  • It is a gourmet product and therefore expensive
  • It contains soponins that can cause inflammation of the intestine
  • The dishes to be prepared are limited
  • It has lectins that can cause difficult digestion.

White, red or black quinoa - what to look out for?

Among the great variety of quinoa, it is essential to know the properties and characteristics of white, red or black quinoa in order to obtain the expected results when consuming it. As well as offering health benefits, there are also benefits for the brain. So you need to understand what each one offers you.

White Quinoa: It is the best known and most consumed by seed lovers. It has a very subtle and pleasant taste. Its calorie content is the lowest of the 3 types with only 160 calories per quarter cup, and it has twice as much fibre as red quinoa, so it stimulates the health of the digestive system.

This type of quinoa is high in protein, generating a natural fat burning and providing a feeling of satiety. It contains a large amount of vitamins and minerals, as just a quarter cup of white quinoa provides 15% of the recommended intake of iron, 2% of calcium and 4% of vitamin A, among others.

Red Quinoa: This type of quinoa, very similar to white quinoa, is low in calories, high in protein and highly nutritious. Its main advantage is that it has less fat and contains the highest amount of carbohydrates, making it the ideal food for sportsmen and women due to its high energy, strength and endurance.

Compared to white, it provides the same amount of protein and more fibre. As for its preparation, it needs longer cooking time than white quinoa and when it reaches the right point, its flavour is intensified. A quarter cup of red quinoa is only 180 calories. It is ideal for combating constipation.

Black Quinoa: Considered as the new species of quinoa, as it is a hybrid between quinoa seeds and spinach. It has the same amount of protein as the two previous ones, with 38 grams in only 100 grams of these seeds. It is different in that it has lysine which stimulates brain cells, helping with stress and reducing depression.

Another of its properties is that it helps healing and is anti-inflammatory, which is why it is highly appreciated in natural medicine as a tranquiliser. As for its production, it needs the longest cooking time and its flavour is not so intense, however, it is earthy and retains the peculiar sound of the grain when it is chewed.

White Quinoa Red Quinoa Black Quinoa.
Benefits It has twice as much fibre as red Quinoa It has the least fat It has lysine, helps with stress and reduces depression.
Flavour Light Intense Not so intense, but it is earthy.
Cooking Cooking time is shortest Cooking time is medium Cooking time is longest.
Characteristic dish Substitute for rice and in salads Nut salads In oatmeal and cereal dishes.

Widely used in diets for its high source of fibre. (Photo: foodandmoree/ 123rf.com)

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different types of quinoa

If you are one of those who always, no matter where you eat, think about healthy food, quinoa is extremely important and indispensable in your eating habits. So here are the most important factors to consider when purchasing such a valuable product. These are:

Presentation

You can find in the market a great variety of food, where the predominant ingredient is quinoa, the ones that are generally consumed are quinoa flour, quinoa paste, quinoa biscuits and the ones that are pre-cooked. Here are their most important benefits and what they are used for.

Quinoa flour: It is used to make gluten-free Hot Cakes or Waffles without a high calorie content.

Quinoa paste: It is ideal for making any kind of pasta, when low carbohydrate intake is required, it is widely used in diets.

Quinoa crackers: It is always important to think about snacks that complement your eating habits properly, so quinoa biscuits are ideal.

Pre-cooked quinoa: It is generally used for salads and as a substitute for rice because of its high energy and protein content.

Grammage per package

You should not only be guided by the price, as many consumers think about what it will cost them and not about the amount of product that comes in each package. The most popular packs are 100 g, 500 g and 1 kg. It is important to think about the dish to be made in order to buy the right amount.

100 gr: We recommend this grammage for use in dishes with oatmeal or fruit and for individual use.

500 gr: It is ideal for salads and for families with few members.

1kg: It is recommended for use as a substitute for rice and for large events.

Reliable brand

Whenever you are looking for a product, you are indirectly thinking about the brand of your preference. When you consider buying a product that you do not know, you usually go for those that have good references about their products, as well as quality and price. The reliability of the quinoa brand is governed by:

Quality. Undoubtedly the best brands are backed by high quality. This parameter is given not only in the ingredients and raw material, but also in the presentation and packaging, so we recommend you to investigate the product, both in the same packaging and on the internet, that you are about to choose.

Elaboration process. As far as quinoa is concerned, it is necessary to consider the manufacturing process, as it is the result of the final product. By having a meticulous and select process, a gourmet quinoa is obtained.

Organic farming. As quinoa agriculture is focused on the care of the environment, it results in a reliable product, free of possible contaminants. That is why we recommend you to analyse the agriculture of the different types of quinoa before making a decision.

Cost-benefit ratio. Any consumer always thinks about having the greatest benefit at the lowest possible cost, so we recommend you to analyse the product from this parameter to be satisfied with what you pay, if the result is as expected.

Organic product

As far as quinoa is concerned, there are more and more companies that not only think about making an organic product, but also look after the environment. It is therefore important to know who thinks about the final consumer not only for having organic products, but also for having ecological processes. The most important to consider are:

Agriculture: The manufacturer always has in mind the care of the environment, so this process is free of pesticides, contaminated water and any other product that can damage not only the quinoa, but the soil where they work.

Production: Having absolutely all production processes controlled under organic requirements ensures both the quality of the quinoa and the compliance with organic company requirements in terms of certifications.

Organic certification: It is to ensure that a company is 100% organic from any point of view and evaluated by external auditors. Organic certification seeks to inspect aspects such as: production, processing and marketing processes, to ensure compliance with this regulation.

Packaging: It is important to analyse which companies distribute quinoa in contamination-free packaging. The most commonly used are biodegradable, so we recommend that you look for organic quinoa in this type of packaging.

More and more producers are trying to offer certified organic products. (Photo: Brent Hofacker / 123rf.com)

Ingredients

Quinoa is a food that is becoming more and more popular every day, so it is important to know which ingredients are most commonly used to accompany this valuable food. These are:

Vegetables: They usually come in combination with pre-cooked white quinoa, it is recommended to use it in salads or as a substitute for rice.

Brown rice: It is an ideal combination for those who want to avoid excessive carbohydrate intake and as a high source of energy and protein. It is recommended for those who practice high-performance sports. It is accompanied with red or black quinoa.

Granola: Widely used as a cereal for its sweet taste and high fibre content, it is ideal with white quinoa. It is recommended for use in diets and for those who eat a light breakfast.

With spices: It is highly appreciated by consumers for its pleasant taste and smell. It is ideal for use with white quinoa and sometimes with red quinoa. It is recommended as a rice substitute and as a garnish for any red meat dish.

(Featured image photo: Elena Schweitzer/ 123rf.com)

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