A recent article in The Age explored the top ten superfoods. Over the next couple of weeks I’m examining each of the claims and adding a few of my own. Which ones will live up to the hype?
The claim: “A good source of…iron, calcium and protein”.
The evidence: For a plant food, quinoa is one of the best sources of protein and contains a small amount of iron. But one cup of cooked quinoa struggles to provide 3% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium in an adult woman. Most nuts would provide more calcium.
Value for money: Quinoa is expensive but versatile. It’s great for breakfast, as an alternative to rice or couscous and can even be whipped up into a dessert. If finances are tight, choosing whole rolled oats, raw seeds, nuts and brown rice might be friendlier to the budget.
The verdict: I like quinoa but some of the claims made in the article don’t match up to the science. It fails the superfood test for me but still worth including in your diet once a week. It’s gluten-free and can add variety to a wholefood diet.
Caveat: Wash your quinoa well. As the plant produces a natural insecticide, you really need to rub the grains under running water to remove it. Otherwise quinoa tastes bitter and can cause digestive upsets. It doesn’t suit everyone.