Quinoa: Everything you Need to Know|Benefits for Runners

In recent years, quinoa´s properties and benefits have gotten the world´s attention and today is becoming more consumed than ever.

Having said that and remarking,  you will find below everything you need to know about the quinoa.


One of the great quinoa´s virtues is its high content of dietary fiber.

Basically, dietary fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that can be found in most food. The fibers are divided into two categories based on their water solubility:

.-Soluble fiber dissolves in water and can be metabolized by the intestinal flora.

.-Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water.

A Study analyzed 4 quinoa varieties and found out that every 100 grams of uncooked quinoa, 10 to 16 grams were fiber.

This amounts is the equivalent of 17 to 27 grams of fiber per cup, an extremely high amount (almost more than the double of most grains).

Unfortunately, quinoa requires a “treatment” for consumption that consists in leaving to soak in water for a few hours (we’ll talk more about this later) and there a good amount of fiber is having lost.


Protein is one of the three essential macro-nutrients in a runner´s diet, as well as fats and carbohydrates.

Proteins are the building blocks of life. Every cell in the human body contains protein. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids.

When a food contains proteins (such as beef or chicken), contains different amino acids types and proteins amounts.

While all proteins are made ​​of amino acids, not all dietary proteins contain the same combination of amino acids.

Some amino acids can be produced by the body and therefore are called “non-essential”; they can be ingested when eating, but in normal conditions your body can produce them.

However, there are amino acids that are necessary for your health and performance, but that can not be produced by the body and therefore must be incorporated through diet; these are called “essential amino acids”.

If a food contains all the essential amino acids, it is considered as a “complete” protein. However,  the problem is that often many plant foods are deficient in certain essential amino acids such as lysine.

Nevertheless, the quinoa is an exception to this rule, being particularly high in all the essential amino acids. For this reason, quinoa is an excellent protein source.

8 grams of high quality protein per cup of cooked quinoa (or 4.5 grams per 100 grams), this grain is an excellent source of vegetable protein for runners.

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Magnesium is an essential mineral (and electrolyte) for runners because of it´s multiple functions. It is vital for the muscles´contraction and relaxation and also helps in with energy transportation through the body.

It also assists in maintaining nerve function, keep bones strong, maintains a healthy immune system and normal blood pressure.

Although many runners are unaware, magnesium deficiency is very common and is one of the reasons why your performance may not be as good as it could.

A magnesium deficiency can lead to:

– Muscle cramps;

– Excessive pain;

– Altered recovery;

– Sleeping issues;

– Immune system depression.

Fortunately, quinoa provides a good amount of magnesium (one cup provides about 30% of the recommended daily dose).

However, the problem is that quinoa contains phytic acid, a substance that reduces the absorption of this mineral.

Keep in mind that through the soaking in water before cooking the quinoa, it is possible to reduce the phytic acid quantity and improves the absorption.


Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals and it is believed that helps anti aging and many diseases.

The theory says that high volume and high intensity training (which is typical in runners), plus the everyday stress could develop disaster in your body because of the free radicals.

Fortunately, quinoa is rich in antioxidants and can thus help fight cellular aging (which is not unimportant).

One Study examined the antioxidants in a total of 10 foods (cereals, legumes and pseudocereals). The researchers found out that quinoa had the highest antioxidant content.

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If you are a person who wants to lose weight , keep in mind quinoa ´s properties.

As we said, quinoa provides great protein and fiber amounts, which helps making you feel satisfied for a longer time term and consuming fewer calories throughout the day.

Moreover, quinoa has a low glycemic index , another factor to consider when it comes to losing weight.



In order to consume quinoa it is recommended to leave it in water for a few hours (preferably 4 to 6 hours) and then proceed to pre-wash the seeds (under water without using hands). If you do not have time to let them soak, another alternative is to wash it and rinse it under water with your hands.

After soaking, boil the quinoa, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the seed is opened. Strain it and it is ready you to use it.

There are many recipes and we can garantee that you can prepare very tasty and nutritious dishes. If you are a runner, you have to try the quinoa for sure.


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Willd.) As a source of dietary fiber and other functional components http://www.scielo.br/pdf/cta/v31n1/35.pdf

Evaluation of indigenous grains from the Peruvian Andean region antidiabetes and antihypertension potential for using in vitro methods.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19735168

flickr photo by Luca Nebuloni http://flickr.com/photos/nebulux/14156958542 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license