NATURE’S BEAUTY - QUINOA

Although quinoa (pronounced keenwah) is the new trendy superfood, in reality it’s been around for thousands of years. It was the “mother grain” of the ancient Andean civilization; the Incans considered it sacred. It has recently been revived as a new crop of global interest.

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NATURES BEAUTY - DURIAN

OK, so it’s not really beautiful, what with all its spikes (its name means “thorny fruit”) and its inside pulp with its wrinkled appearance. And it smells awful, making you question the wisdom of opening it. It’s durian, an exotic fruit from Malaysia that is slowly making inroads to the United States.

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NATURES BEAUTY - APRICOT

Remember the scene in “The Wizard of Oz,” where the Cowardly Lion, awaiting his turn before Oz the Great and Powerful, sings a song about courage and asks, “Who put the ‘ape’ in ‘apricot’?”   Well, thankfully, no one did. Who would eat it then? Instead we have a juicy fruit that has been around since ancient times and is enjoyed either fresh or dried. You can also indulge in apricot brandy or jam. The word “apricot” comes from a term meaning  “early ripening.”

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NATURES BEAUTY - QUINOA

Although quinoa (pronounced keenwah) is the new trendy superfood, in reality it’s been around for thousands of years. It was the “mother grain” of the ancient Andean civilization; the Incans considered it sacred. It has recently been revived as a new crop of global interest.


Quinoa is “not quite a grass and not quite a cereal,” says the Web site Daily Natural Remedies. It is designated as a “pseudo cereal” because it is not a grass. While it is often mistaken for a grain similar to white rice, brown rice, wheat and barley, it is actually a grain seed. There are three main types of quinoa: white, red and black.


Highly nutritious and versatile, quinoa has plenty of the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) of several beneficial minerals. One cup of quinoa provides 9 percent of your RDA of potassium, 19 percent of your RDA of folate and 58 percent of your RDA of manganese. In addition, quinoa is a good source for essential minerals such as iron, which creates red blood cells, and magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels to enhance blood flow and helps detoxify the body.


Quinoa is loaded with antioxidants, which prevent oxidizing damage in the body and also assist in the fight against a number of diseases, including cancer. Its low glycemic index of 53 makes quinoa good for people who have diabetes.  

Quinoa is low in calories (only 222 in a cup with four grams of fat), so it is a good addition to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight. It makes you feel full, reducing your appetite and helping you shed pounds. It’s easy to prepare: Bring two cups of water or stock with one cup of quinoa to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes and add any vegetables or seasonings you like. If you’re trying to add more fiber to your diet, consider quinoa. Fiber not only helps regulate bowel movements, it also reduces your risk of developing diabetes and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Quinoa is high in protein, which increases your metabolism and helps your body break down foods more efficiently. In fact, quinoa is called a “complete protein” because it provides all nine essential amino acids. If you are gluten intolerant, quinoa is gluten free. One quinoa caveat is for people who have recurring kidney stones because it is high in oxalates, which hamper the absorption of calcium and can cause problems for these individuals.


There’s great hope in the food science industry for quinoa. It may possibly be the solution to the problem of feeding the growing world population. It thrives in harsh environments and provides a more balanced source of nutrients than cereal, according to researchers. Scientists have discovered a way of manipulating the

quinoa plant, changing the way it matures and produces food to make its bitter seeds sweeter. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa. It may be a good idea to carry the celebration forward every year.

TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler