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Quinoa is a “pseudograin,” since the plant it comes from isn’t a type of grass. Technically, it’s a seed-like fruit and has a lot of protein, vitamins, and minerals, but its fiber content is relatively modest compared to barley or rye. Quinoa is rich in folate and vitamin E, and leads the pack on magnesium, iron, and zinc. It’s nutritious, but is it a superfood like broccoli, strawberries, and garlic?

About a cup a day of cooked quinoa for 12 weeks led to a 36 percent drop in triglycerides. That’s comparable to what one gets with triglycerides-lowering drugs or high-dose fish oil supplements. Both red and black quinoa appear to be equally antioxidant-rich, beating out the more conventional white, so opt for colorful quinoa when you can.

Consistent with recommendations from leading cancer and heart disease authorities, my Daily Dozen calls for at least three servings of whole grains a day, which includes quinoa. Eating whole grains appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and stroke. Eating more whole grains could potentially save the lives of more than a million people around the world every year. People who ate the most whole grains had significantly slower narrowing of two of the most important arteries in our body: the coronary arteries that feed the heart and the carotid arteries that feed our brain. Since atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries is our leading killer, we should not just slow down the process but actually stop or even reverse it altogether, and eating more whole grains, whole vegetables, whole fruits, whole beans, and other whole plant foods can help with that.

Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.

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