Nutrition

Is Quinoa Good For People With Diabetes?

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Quinoa was first grown by the Inca people thousands of years ago in South America. It is a superfood with numerous health benefits. The United Nations declared 2013 as the 'International Year of Quinoa.' 

Quinoa is a type of grain that is often seen as a substitute for rice. Quinoa has low carbohydrates and is rich in fibres and protein. One cup or 185 grams of cooked quinoa has the following nutritional values:

  • Calories: 222
  • Fats: 4 gram
  • Sodium: 13 milligrams
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fibre: 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 39 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams

The above values indicate that quinoa is a healthy alternative to rice because it contains fewer carbohydrates, protein content, and fibres. Moreover, Quinoa is also gluten-free, so people who are allergic to gluten can consume it.

Is quinoa good for diabetic patients? Keep reading to find out the various ways in which it can benefit people with diabetes.

Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa is a superfood with a high amount of protein and fibre. It is an excellent substitute for rice and wheat, as it has low carbohydrate content compared to them. But is quinoa good for people with diabetes? 

Quinoa is a pure protein grain, which means it has all the nine essential amino acids required by the human body to grow muscles, bones, and stronger immunity. Quinoa has other micronutrients like vitamins, iron, magnesium, and fibre, which make our immune system more robust and prevent diseases. Fibre is essential for good digestion, and quinoa is an excellent source of fibre. Hence, eating quinoa vastly improves the digestive system.  Wondering what else you can achieve with quinoa? Insulin resistance! Quinoa helps in reducing insulin resistance and helps in sensitisation of the pancreas for insulin secretion and proper uptake of insulin by the cells.

Benefits of Quinoa for People with Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas either produces insulin in excess or less quantity. Most cases of diabetes are where the pancreas produces less insulin than required. This results in high blood sugar. But is quinoa good for people with diabetes? The answer lies here.

Quinoa has several health benefits for people with diabetes. These are: 

1. Low Glycemic Index

The glycaemic index is the glucose quantity of food. Glycaemic index contributes the most to diabetes. Quinoa has a low glycemic index and is recommended highly to people with diabetes as a substitute for rice and wheat.

2. Slow Absorbing Food

Quinoa is classified as a portion of slow-digesting food. Other grains like rice and wheat come under fast digestive food. Hence, the glucose from those foods is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Quinoa, which takes time to digest, is not absorbed into the bloodstream.

3. Low Carbohydrate Content

Carbohydrates are digested into glucose, which increases the blood sugar level. Quinoa has less amount of carbohydrates, 39 grams per 185 grams. Hence, it is an excellent food for keeping the blood sugar level.

4. High Fibre Content

As mentioned above, quinoa has high fine content. Fibre is slow to digest and appetite-filling food. Hence, eating high fibrous foods will reduce the cravings for other high sugar food types, thus reducing blood sugar levels.

5. High Minerals and Vitamins

Quinoa has many vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, etc. This improves the body's immunity and helps fight various diseases, including diabetes.

6. Quinoa is Gluten-free

Quinoa is gluten-free. Compared to other gluten-free diets, Quinoa fortifies the antioxidant value of the diet and gives you a full meal without the adverse effects of high sugar or sodium.

7. Quinoa aids in Weight Loss

Obesity is linked with diabetes, and many people with obesity have a risk of high blood sugar levels. Quinoa is high in protein and low in carbs, thereby making it a weight loss friendly food. Thus, people with obesity and high blood sugar can enjoy this food without the fear of putting on weight. 

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How does Quinoa Help in Controlling Blood Sugar levels?

Before we look at how quinoa helps control blood sugar, let us learn about how blood sugar is created. 

  • Whenever we consume carbohydrates, it gets converted into glucose after digestion. Some glucose is used in the form of energy, and the unused is converted to blood sugar. To get rid of this excess glucose, our pancreas secretes insulin.
  • Diabetes is a condition where the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin. Thus, quinoa is good for type 2 diabetes.
  • Quinoa has low carbohydrate content. Hence, when we consume it, the amount of glucose created is less, thus keeping the blood sugar level in check. 
  • Wondering how much quinoa can a person with diabetes eat? Quinoa is a slow-digesting food that takes longer to digest. Hence, the body has ample time to create the amount of insulin required to digest the glucose made by digesting quinoa. Quinoa for diabetes type 2 is an essential food to control blood sugar and is good for type 2 diabetes. 

Different Ways to Consume Quinoa for Diabetes

There are many ways to prepare quinoa at home. Some of the tastiest and best recipes of quinoa for controlling diabetes are: 

  • Quinoa can be cooked quickly for under twenty minutes. Hence, it can be easily replaced as a food substitute for rice, wheat, and pasta.
  • Quinoa can be cooked and served as a breakfast cereal. You can also add it, along with nuts and fruits, to milk for an excellent breakfast recipe.
  • Quinoa has a nutty flavour and is a fantastic stuffing substitute for various food items like spring rolls, tacos, etc.
  • Quinoa can be used to replace wheat and used to make toast or bread.
  • You can also make burger buns and pizza bases out of quinoa.
  • Quinoa can be used in dishes like pasta, zucchini, risotto, etc.

Bottomline

Is quinoa good for diabetes? Quinoa is a superfood with numerous health benefits. It is an excellent source of protein, fibre, minerals, and vitamins. It is highly beneficial in controlling diabetes and has other health benefits like a strong immunity system, better digestive system, better recovery of muscles, and stronger bones. Quinoa is a slow digestive food grain with a very low glycaemic index, which directly contributes to blood sugar. Hence, it is an excellent substitute for rice, wheat, and other grains. Quinoa can be made in a variety of dishes. It can be used as a breakfast cereal, a healthier alternative for pizza bases and burger buns, and in various dishes like zucchini, risotto, pasta, etc. Therefore, to keep diabetes in check and enjoy your taste palette, switch to quinoa and maintain your health in prime condition.

FAQs

1. Is Quinoa Beneficial for Reducing Belly Fat?

Quinoa seeds are rich in protein, dietary fibre, B vitamins, and dietary minerals, resulting in increased metabolism. The increased metabolism aids in weight loss and thereby reduces belly fat.

2. Is  brown rice or quinoa better for people with diabetes?

Both brown rice and Quinoa are equally good for people with diabetes. Quinoa has a GI of 53, while Brown rice has 50. Both GI's are extremely close. This means that both of these options are equally good and healthy. 

3. What grains should people with diabetes avoid?

Refined grains such as white rice and white flour need to be avoided by people with diabetes. White bread, pasta or any white flour products should be avoided as they spike the blood glucose levels

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