Health benefits of red quinoa

Health benefits of red quinoa

Current research hasn’t looked at the health benefits of red quinoa specifically. Still, various studies have evaluated the benefits of its components, as well as quinoa in general.

Rich in antioxidants
Regardless of the color, quinoa is a good source of antioxidants, which are substances that protect or reduce damage to your cells caused by free radicals.

In a study on the antioxidant properties of four colors of quinoa — white, yellow, red-violet, and black— red quinoa was found to have the highest antioxidant activity (1Trusted Source).

It’s particularly rich in flavonoids, which are plant compounds with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties (7Trusted Source).

In fact, one study observed that cooked red quinoa had significantly higher levels of total polyphenols, flavonoids, and overall antioxidant activity than cooked yellow quinoa (8).

Red quinoa is particularly high in two types of flavonoids (2Trusted Source):

Kaempferol. This antioxidant may reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, including heart disease and certain cancers (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
Quercetin. This antioxidant may protect against many conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer (11, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Additionally, red quinoa contains plant pigments with antioxidant properties, including betaxanthins (yellow) and betacyanins (violet), both of which are types of betalains (14).

Betalains have been shown to offer powerful antioxidant effects in test-tube studies, protecting DNA against oxidative damage and providing possible anticancer properties (1Trusted Source, 14).

However, human studies are needed to confirm these effects.

May protect against heart disease
The betalains in red quinoa may also play a role in heart health.

In one study in rats with diabetes, consuming 91 and 182 grams of betalain extract per pound (200 and 400 grams per kg) of body weight significantly decreased triglycerides, as well as total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, while raising HDL (good) cholesterol (14).

Though studies on beetroots, which are also high in betalains, show similar results, these effects have not yet been researched in humans (15Trusted Source).

Red quinoa may also benefit heart health because it’s considered a whole grain.

Numerous large population studies associate whole grain consumption with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, and death from all causes (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

High in fiber
Red quinoa is high in fiber, with just 1 cup (185 grams) of cooked seeds providing 24% of the DV.

Diets high in fiber have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, several types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and death from all causes (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).

Red quinoa contains both insoluble and soluble fiber, both of which offer unique benefits.

Soluble fiber absorbs water and turns into a gel-like substance during digestion. As a result, it may increase feelings of fullness. It may also improve heart health by lowering total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).

While soluble fiber tends to get more attention, insoluble fiber is important as well, as it may help maintain good bowel health and play a role in preventing type 2 diabetes (23Trusted Source).

In fact, one review found that diets high in insoluble fiber were associated with a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (21Trusted Source).

Nutrient-dense and gluten-free
As a pseudocereal, red quinoa doesn’t contain gluten, which is often found in traditional cereal grains like wheat, rye, and barley.

Therefore, it’s a good option for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

While avoiding gluten is necessary for some individuals, long-term observational studies indicate that gluten-free diets are often inadequate in fiber and certain vitamins and minerals, including folate, zinc, magnesium, and copper (24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).

Given that quinoa is a good source of fiber and these minerals, adding it to your diet may significantly improve your overall nutrient intake if you follow a gluten-free diet (26Trusted Source).

Additionally, studies indicate that a long-term gluten-free diet may raise your risk of heart disease due to increases in triglycerides, as well as total and LDL (bad) cholesterol (25Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source).

However, a study in 110,017 adults noted that gluten-free diets that are adequate in whole grains are not associated with an increased risk of heart disease (28Trusted Source).

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