Posted on August 15, 2016
Quinoa has quickly become popular for its versatility, its ability to take on the flavors it's cooked with, and its impressive health profile. Impressive enough to replace brown rice in your diet? We think so! So let's do a quick health benefits comparison.
Calorie Count: Calorie count isn't where you'll find a difference between these two foods — quinoa and rice are virtually dead even here.
Fiber: Here is where we start to see a difference, a cup of brown rice has 14% of your recommended daily fibre intake. That's impressive, but quinoa does even better, with 21%.
Protein: People don't realize that grains are a huge source of protein, a cup of brown rice has 5 grams of protein, where quinoa contains a little less than 50% more than brown rice, with a whopping 8.1 grams per cup- not only does quinoa contain more protein, but also is a complete amino acid. Where with brown rice one would have to mix additional ingredients to their meal to make it a complete amino acid (i.e beans).
Riboflavin: Riboflavin, previously called vitamin B2, is another of the essential B vitamins. Brown rice doesn't have much, with just 3% of the recommended daily intake, but quinoa provides 12%. Riboflavin helps you produce energy and is an antioxidant that fights harmful free radicals in your body.
Folate: Folate (called folic acid when it's added to foods artificially) is particularly important for women of child-bearing age because of its role in preventing neural tube defects during fetal development. A cup of brown rice contains just a little bit of folate, with 2% of the recommended daily intake, but the same amount of quinoa has 19%.
Iron: Quinoa is a plant-based source of iron, which gives you a way to get this nutrient in your diet while consuming less or no meat; one cup provides 2.8 milligrams of iron or 15% of your recommended daily intake. Brown rice has a little bit of iron as well, with 5%.
Try eating plant-based iron sources with foods containing vitamin C to up your iron intake — just a squeeze of lemon juice on top helps — and avoid consuming them with black teas; the tannins can block iron absorption.
Zinc: Zinc is an essential trace element, meaning we don't need much of it for our health, but we do need it. Eating some quinoa will help you get it, with 13% of your recommended daily amount in each cup. Brown rice is also a source with 8% in the same amount. Zinc is particularly important for the healthy functioning of your immune system.
So, you tell us- which grain is better? QUINOA!