Chances are you’ve already heard of quinoa, but have you heard of kaniwa? The two are closely related and should not be confused. Kaniwa is a seed from the flowering plant referred to as goosefoot and it originates from Bolivia and Peru in South America. It has been a staple food for the people of Andes for generations. This super seed is naturally gluten-free, does not contain saponins and is easy-to-digest. Kaniwa has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor and is a nutritious addition to any meal.
Whole grains contain beneficial nutrients and more dietary fiber which requires less processing. There are many health benefits that you can get by incorporating kaniwa into your daily diet.
Compared to its cousin quinoa and brown rice, kaniwa contains 3% more protein and is also high in amino acids and natural fiber. Also, every serving of 160 calories gives you 7 grams of powerful protein. This is great for vegetarians, vegan and even meat eaters who want to get more proteins in a healthier way. Specifically, kaniwa is rich in lysine which is an amino acid that is present in small amounts in grain products
Kaniwa is gluten-free which means it’s effective for patients with celiac diseases as it serves as an efficient source of complex carbohydrates. The grain also has a lot of vitamins and minerals which are essential for the psychological functioning of the body. Examples of these include manganese, copper, zinc, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B, and vitamin E.
Also, kaniwa has more flavonoids than Quinoa specifically quercetin and isorhamnetin. These are flavonoids known to assist in the reduction of inflammatory diseases, helps in improvement of cardiovascular health, inhibits growth of certain bacteria and viruses, and provides anti-aging benefits for the skin.
How to prepare Kaniwa
As an addition to a healthy meal, kaniwa is easy to prepare. It can be taken as a meal or side dish, but can also be combined with other ingredients to create flavorful dishes. The grain may be cooked like any other type of whole gain where it’s simmered in water until it gets soft. A ratio of kaniwa to water of 1:2 is recommended where one cup of Kaniwa is cooked with two cups of water. Simmer the grains for 15 to 20 minutes and stir occasionally till it gets soft.
When cooked in combination with other ingredients ½ to 1 cup of cooked Kaniwa may be added to waffle batter or pancake depending on the batch size. It can be served together with maple syrup, dried and fresh fruits and nuts. Kaniwa can also be served in a savory breakfast bowl with a sprinkling of cheese shreds and little vegan butter. You can also enjoy the healthy seeds with vegetables, meats, tofu, seafood or in soufflés, soups, and casseroles. When added to baked goods, kaniwa adds texture, taste, and most importantly, nutrition. The seeds can be ground into a flour that can be used to make bread or porridge.
Click below for a recipe for Kaniwa Confetti Salad. You can find Kaniwa in many health food stores as well as grocery stores with a good health food section.
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