Quinoa is often compared to rice because of the similar texture and consistency of the two foods. They’re also often used for the same recipes. But quinoa and rice are very different. Firstly, quinoa is not a grain, which rice is. They also offer a very different nutritional constitution. Let’s have a look at what quinoa and rice are, as well as the benefits and disadvantages of eating both of these foods before we decide which one is better for us.
What is Quinoa?
Humans have eaten quinoa for almost 4,000 years. Before becoming a staple food for many in South America – where it’s native to – quinoa was used to feed livestock. It is part of the amaranth family, which makes it a flowering plant. Although it originated in the Andes region, it has been cultivated in lots of other places around the world, which is because of the huge increase in popularity that it’s gained over the last decade.
This increased popularity – especially in Western Europe, North America, and Australasia – has meant that the price of quinoa crops has skyrocketed. Current estimates suggest that the price of quinoa tripled between the years 2006 and 2013. This means that the food – which has long been a staple of the South American diet – has become too expensive for many people in the region to afford. Quinoa comes in three different variations; red quinoa, black quinoa, and white quinoa.
Benefits of Eating Quinoa
Quinoa is a very nutritious food. This is partly because it’s a protein, which is very rare for plant-based food.
One of quinoa’s most famous benefits is that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that we need, as humans.
+ The body itself cannot produce these amino acids, so we need to get them from the foods we eat. Quinoa contains all of them in abundance. This is why quinoa is so popular with vegans and vegetarians, as it’s one of the few plant-based foods that offer such a substantial amount of protein.
+ Quinoa is entirely free of gluten, so it can be eaten by celiacs or people who have an intolerance to gluten. This makes it a good substitute for grains in many recipes.
+ It can help you control your blood sugar, as it has a low glycaemic index.
+ It is full of fantastic minerals, like iron and magnesium, which are necessary for our bodies to function to their best.
+ Because quinoa is loaded with antioxidants, it can help fight the effects of aging.
+ Quinoa is known to boost your metabolism levels, helping you to lose weight quicker and more effectively.
It’s, quite simply, a very nutritious food. It contains protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, folate, copper, iron, zinc, potassium, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, and Vitamin B6, as well as trace amounts of Vitamin E, calcium, and Vitamin B3. There is even a small amount of Omega 3 in quinoa.
Disadvantages of Eating Quinoa
– Eating quinoa is known to cause bloating for some people.
– It’s not recommended that pregnant women eat quinoa. This is because there are some fears that it can cause detrimental issues for the unborn child.
– Eating quinoa contributes to the price rise of the crop in South America. As a result, it means that people who have eaten quinoa for thousands of years are no longer able to, meaning that people are left with foods that aren’t as nutritious as quinoa for their diet. Always make sure that you purchase Fair Trade quinoa.
What is Rice?
Rice is a cereal grain. People around the world eat it as a staple part of their diet. Although it is not certain, we believe that rice was first domesticated between 8,000 and 12,000 years ago. It’s believed that rice makes up 20% of the world’s energy source.
Benefits of Eating Rice
+ There are a few different variations of rice, so we will look at the most commonly consumed rice, which is white rice.
+ White rice is very low in saturated fat, making it healthy to eat, especially in comparison with pasta.
+ Rice is gluten-free, which means it can be eaten by anyone who has celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten.
+ There are lots of great minerals and vitamins inside rice that have hugely beneficial effects upon the human body.
+ These include iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, copper, manganese, and selenium. Rice has also got niacin,pantothenic acid, and thiamine inside it.
+ Rice is very low in cholesterol.
+ Rice is an important part of a healthy diet, and it provides many vitamins and minerals, all for a very low price.
Disadvantages of Eating Rice
– Rice is a simple carbohydrate. This means that much of it is converted into sugar when it is eaten. Unless you’re burning off that energy, then it will contribute to weight gain, as your body will store it as fat.
– White rice has often gone through an extensive processing procedure. This means that it’s often full of empty calories, which can then contribute to weight gain.
– Rice doesn’t contain a lot of fiber. This can contribute to digestive issues. Many people who regularly eat rice complain of irritable bowel syndrome, an upset stomach, and other negative problems to do with digestion. The lack of fiber can mean that it can contribute to heart disease too.
Which is Better for You?
Neither quinoa or rice can be described as being bad for you. Both of these foods have distinct advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to being a cleaner, healthier food, however, then it must be said that quinoa is better for you than rice.
This is because it contains all the amino acids that the body needs, is full of minerals, and can contribute to lowering your blood sugar, as well as lowering your weight thanks to its metabolism-boosting properties. Rice contains many empty calories, and it’s also a simple carbohydrate.
These features can both contribute to weight gain, which is why areas where rice is heavily consumed, are often home to people with obesity. Rice is a staple food of a lot of people’s diet, though. Brown rice is generally thought of as being a healthier variety than the overly processed white rice version. Of course, one of the big issues with eating quinoa is the impact that it has upon the Andes and the people who live there.
95% of all quinoa is cultivated in this region. It’s also the place where the food has been a staple of the diet for thousands of years. When you buy quinoa, make sure that it has the Fair Trade logo on it. Then you can be sure that the quinoa you’re purchasing has been cultivated safely, with the growers receiving fair pay for their work.