SUMMARY: Quinoa is a whole grain substitute that is gluten-free though it actually is a seed, commonly termed pseudograin. Most simply rinse, drain, then toss quinoa into a pot and simmer for 12 minutes calling that cooked. Though cooked, it may not be very digestible, and this method may be downright harmful to your gut. So how do you properly prepare soak quinoa? Learn here that quinoa is super easy to properly prepare although it does require, as a minimum to reduce anti-nutrients, a 12 to 24 hour acid soak prior to cooking. I’d do the quinoa soak purely for the culinary taste improvement truth be known as it removes bitterness from quinoa’s anti-nutrients in addition to making it easier on your gut!
Quinoa is a great gluten-free substitute
Obviously though, if you don’t tolerate specific food, don’t eat it, which leads me to mention… Watch for the upcoming post (in a few days) that details why you may want to reduce or eliminate gluten. Update: here is that link: LEARN FROM THE ATHLETES WHY REDUCE, ELIMINATE GLUTEN. Here’s a teaser… In summary you’ll learn that 20% of your calories now comes from wheat (that contains gluten, but wheat is also a high FODMAP food meaning many have gut symptoms eating it in excess of your unique tolerance load), you’ll learn FIVE reasons why you may want to reduce it’s intake, and why so many athletes (41% in a 910 cohort survey) eat gluten-free 50 to 100% of the time (reduced fatigue and GI distress, improved performance and nutrients — OFTEN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE INCREASED WHEN GLUTEN IS DECREASED, lower toxin loads,…). Where is gluten? In wheat, barley, rye, bulgur, couscous, farina, graham flour, kamut matzo, semolina, spelt, triticale & oats (not certified gluten-free) not to mention that gluten is renamed and hidden often in processed foods.
Should you reduce or ditch gluten? If you do, quinoa, properly prepared with acid soak, is a great substitute!
Relative to the healing diets:
Quinoa (properly prepared) is permitted for some PALEO camps, it is low FODMAP, it is not legal for SCD/GAPS, and it is not listed for UMASS IBD-AID since it has not yet been tested for tolerance acceptability. Dr. Mark Hyman’s PaleoVegan diet permits 1/2 cup quinoa/meal but for T2D and autoimmunes. For those conditions he recommends reintroduce following a month or two of elimination to ascertain tolerance. Dr. Mark Hyman’s quinoa recipes do not require the overnight soak. Soaking is what this post teaches; Soaking would increase digestibility, and the next level of prep to neutralize even more toxins would be soak then ferment. — See details at the bottom of the post.
Anti-nutrients are in most all plant foods including grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes
Without proper preparation to reduce them, they can bind to and inhibit nutrient absorption (calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc.) which interferes in the function of certain organs. One example of anti-nutrients in action… Anyone with a kidney stone? The anti-nutrient oxalate is behind some of those stones! Check with your doctor if you are on a low oxalate diet for quinoa oxalate levels as I’m not certain where it’s oxalates rank.
Soaking and fermenting will get rid of some of the lectins, phytates, saponins and protease inhibitors but not all of them. Experiment with the traditional soaking and fermenting methods; see if they work for you.
Quinoa is a great gluten-free substitute, but How Does Quinoa Impact the Microbiome?
We know many diseases are associated with microbiome dysbiosis. Information on how whole grains impact human gut microbiome composition and host metabolism is lacking. An article discussing the health benefits associated with whole grains (that are tolerated by the consumer) and the probable microbiome benefits, is, Whole Grains: Dietary Angel or Demon, by Dr. Gerry Mullin, MD, a board-certified internist, gastroenterologist, nutritionist, associate professor of medicine and director of Integrative GI Nutrition Services at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Generally, if you tolerate quinoa, consuming such would increase whole (pseudo) grain diversity in your diet which should benefit your microbiome by increasing food substrate diversity. Note though: I failed to find specific literature on ‘human gut microbiome plus quinoa’. No doubt, that science is still too new. Some otherwise relevant studies are:
- Is quinoa safe for celiacs? This 2014 study evaluated quinoa for 19 celiac patients since in-vitro data suggested that quinoa prolamins can stimulate innate and adaptive immune responses in celiac patients. Daily consumption of 50 g of quinoa for 6 weeks in adult celiac patients (they chose their own cooking method) was found to be safely tolerated but long term consumption needed further study. There was a positive trend toward improved histological and serological parameters, particularly a mild hypocholesterolemic effect.
- How about barley(contains gluten) and/or rice intake? The study, Gut microbiome composition is linked to whole grain-induced immunological improvements, was a short-term randomized crossover trial over 17 weeks that found that intake of whole grains in 28 healthy humans, induced compositional alterations of the gut microbiota that coincided with improvements in host physiological measures related to metabolic dysfunctions in humans. Participants consumed a daily dose of 60 g of whole-grain barley, brown rice, or an equal mixture of the two; the impact on fecal microbial ecology and blood markers of inflammation, glucose and lipid metabolism was characterized.
- The Mullin article also noted that only about 5% of Americans get the recommended minimum amount of whole grains. This Washington Post article explains a person consuming 2,000 calories per day should have at least 48 grams of whole grains (or three servings) and an equal amount of refined grains. You can get about 16 grams of whole grains from any one of the following: a one-ounce slice of bread, one ounce of pasta or rice (uncooked), a six-inch tortilla, or about one cup of cereal. Interestingly, the studies I cited are close to the 49 gram whole grain limit but it is not known what was the refined grain limit.
Quinoa’s nutrient punch
A wheat/gluten -free alternative is quinoa. Quinoa benefits are: Protective Against Cardiovascular Disease, Controls Blood Sugar, Reduces Cancer Risk, and Inhibits Inflammation. See Nutritive value of pseudocereals and their increasing use as functional gluten-free ingredients, and this #LifeExtension article which explains:
- Functional properties include strong active compounds like minerals, vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants: Riboflavin (vitamin B2),6 quercetin,7 tocopherols,8 polyphenols,3,8 saponins,8 phytosterols,3 minerals,3 vitamins,3 free-radical fighting molecules,7,9fiber,10 and highly potent compounds like hydroxybenzoic acids and arabineans.9 (references are listed below my signature)
- May inhibit inflammation,9 reduce cholesterol,8,9 quench free radicals,7 improve glucose levels,7-10 promote cellular energy production,10 support weight loss,10 act as a prebiotic,11,12 and potentially help prevent cancer and heart disease.13 (references are listed below my signature)
Looking at protein, quinoa bests legumes and wheat. The study, Physicochemical and functional properties of quinoa protein isolate, 2015, notes:
- Quinoa Protein is relatively less than legume seeds, but higher than other cereal grains like rice, wheat and barley... the high protein content (about 15%) has an excellant essential amino acid balance because of a wider amino acid spectrum than cereals and legumes (Ruales and Nair, 1992), with higher lysine (5.1–6.4%) and methionine (0.4–1.0%) contents (Bhargava et al., 2003). Quinoa contains lysine, methionine and cysteine higher than common cereals and legumes making it complementary to these crops. In contrast to quinoa, most grains are low in essential amino acid lysine, while most legumes and quinoa are low in sulfuric amino acids methionine and cysteine (Koziol, 1992).
- Quinoa Protein in vitro digestibility was consistent with earlier studies that showed the in vitro digestibility of protein of four quinoa varieties was between 75.3% and 84% ( Repo-Carrasco-Valencia and Serna, 2011 and Zia-Ur-Rehman and Shah, 2001). This is higher than wheat at: 47% ( Booth and Moran, 1946), 54.87% (Căpriţă et al., 2012) and 59% (Chick et al., 1947). The high digestibility of quinoa protein (78.37 ± 1.08%) is supporting its easy digest in the human stomach and consequently its health benefits for the human. Quinoa protein isolate showed a high solubility at alkaline pH values (10) and digestibility higher than other grains like wheat and rice.
- Quinoa seeds have high protein content. The nutritional value of quinoa is superior compared with traditional cereals. Its essential amino acid composition is considered next to the ideal, and its quality matches that of milk proteins. Quinoa proteins have an excellent amino acid composition with many essential amino acids. In vitro digestibility evaluation indicated that heat-treated samples showed a more complete digestion than the native state samples. -The importance of heat against antinutritional factors from Chenopodium quinoa seeds
For those consuming commercial cereal bars containing quinoa: The 2012 study, Use of cereal bars with quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa W.) to reduce risk factors related to cardiovascular diseases, fed 22 students, aged 18 to 45-years, two cereal bars containing quinoa and rice daily for 30 days. [Note: the quinoa was not acid soaked to remove anti-nutrients as is taught in this post]. The total quinoa concentration was 39%; participants consumed in total 19.5 g of quinoa (9.75 g of quinoa/bar). Each bar also had a whooping 46% sugar load. Blood samples were collected before and after 30 days of treatment to determine glycemic and biochemical profile of the group. The results indicated that:
- Quinoa had beneficial effects on part of the population studied since the levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL-c showed reduction. The authors suggested that the study demonstrated that this pseudocereal positively influenced the various risk factors for the development of diabetes and vascular diseases, which are the most frequent diseases today. Note: The problem with this study is that it is not a randomized control study with placebo; we don’t know what else the cohort ate in the month. Bar preparation included: The dry ingredients were constantly stirred into wet ingredients at 203F until completely homogenized, then cooled to 48F for 10 min. This technique seems to use quinoa foaming actions to aid manufacture though nutrient impact due to anti-nutrients is not yet well studied.
- The authors noted: Quinoa contains considerably high vitamin E, iron, zinc and magnesium contents (RUALES; NAIR, 1992), as well as saponins and phytosteroids (KULJANABHAGAVAD et al., 2008; INSTITUTO , 1997). These substances have shown hypocholesterolemic effects and increased postprandial sensitivity and release of plasma insulin (KWON et al., 2008; YIN; ZHANG; YE, 2008; CICERO et al., 2007). Abugoch James (2009) found antioxidants capacity compounds such as polyphenols, phytosterols, and flavonoids in grains of quinoa. These substances may be related with the effects of reduction in plasma lipids and glucose levels in the individuals tested. Matsuo (2005) demonstrated that the use of this grain can also be beneficial for increasing the production of liver antioxidant enzymes. The increase of these enzymes is related with the reduction of harmful effects caused by free radicals on the human body, which it leads to a reduced endothelial alterations (endothelial dysfunction) and decreased oxidation of LDL-c molecules, and hence, reduces the risks for vascular diseases (ADLER et al., 2010; NERI et al., 2010; KUSIRISIN et al., 2009; GHIBU et al., 2008; JI et al., 2008).
Now for the dark side to quinoa unless you Properly Prepare SOAK Quinoa in acid to reduce anti-nutrients
Anti-nutrients 101. Anti-nutrients are in most all plant foods. Anti-nutrients are highly biologically active substances that decreases the absorption of nutrients and micronutrients which interferes with the function of certain organs; recall anti-nutrient oxalate and kidney stone formation. Anti-nutrients are many differing ‘secondary metabolites’ present in many plants and occur in virtually all seeds, nuts, grains, legumes. See here for the nut soak and dehydrate recipe to neutralize nut anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are designed to protect the plant from being consumed. They do this by causing digestive irritation to the consumer. But the damage these little compounds can create goes beyond… their names (along with adverse impact) from, Antinutritional factors in plant foods: Potential health benefits and adverse effects, include:
- phytate [inhibits minerals zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and copper — in areas of the world where cereal proteins are a major and predominant dietary factor, the associated phytate intake is a cause for concern, study 2014 and The contents of minerals in which absorption or utilization is affected by anti-nutrients, were analysed for 36 products… the fortification of a number of products did not meet the declared levels of iron, zinc and calcium. Phytate content ranged from 68 to 1536 mg/100 g, confirming a persistent problem of high levels of phytate in processed cereal- and legume-based products -See Screening for anti-nutritional compounds in complementary foods and food aid products for infants and young children, 2013]
- oxalates [binds to calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium],
- polyphenols [iron inhibitor],
- cyanogenic glycosides [The body detoxes cyanide and a byproduct, thiocyanate, is similar in size to the iodine molecule and interferes with iodine uptake by the thyroid, effectively increasing the dietary requirement for iodine. Additionally, enzymatic degradation produces hydrogen cyanide which can result in acute cyanide poisoning. –See here],
- protease inhibitors [inhibits protein digestive enzymes such as trypsin and chymotrypsin, thus preventing protein digestion],
- lectins — There are 119 known lectins many occurring in seeds like cereals, beans, in tubers like potatoes, legumes, and some oil seeds (including soybean). Lectins can strongly interact with the proteins in gut cell membranes increasing intestinal permeability and then pass through the “leaky gut” into the bloodstream. This contributes to systemic inflammation and increases the risk of autoimmune illness. While many foods contain lectins, those that are heat-stable (like the ones found in grains, pseudograins and legumes) appear to have the most harmful effects. Lectins also combine with carbohydrate membrane receptors and directly binds to the intestinal muscosa, interacting with the enterocytes and interfering with the absorption and transportation of carbohydrates during digestion and causing epithelial lesions within the intestine. When consumed in excess they can cause 3 primary physiological reactions, 2014 study:
- Severe intestinal damage disrupting digestion and causing nutrient deficiencies;
- They can provoke IgG and IgM antibodies causing food allergies and other immune responses; and
- They can bind to erythrocytes, simultaneously with immune factors, causing hemagglutination and anemia.
- tannins [inhibit the activities of digestive enzymes trypsin, chemotrypsin, amylase and lipase, decrease the protein quality of foods and interfere with dietary iron absorption],
- alkaloids [impacts nervous system by disrupting or inappropriately augmenting electrochemical transmission causing rapid heartbeat, paralysis, staggering gate, and disrupts cell membrane in the gastrointestinal tract] and
- saponnins [inhibits protein digestive enzymes such as trypsin and chymotrypsin, thus preventing protein digestion].
MANY anti-nutrients and preparation techniques to neutralize such, are not well studied and conflict.
- TOLERANCE LIMITS FOR ANTI-NUTRIENTS ARE NOT KNOWN.
- Some anti-nutrients may possess beneficial health effects if present in small amounts.
- Some anti-nutrients, like oxalates, are well studied. Anyone having a kidney stone knows this pain though most probably do not know the anti-nutrient connection:
Oxalate is a salt formed from oxalic acid. Strong bonds form between oxalic acid and other minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium. Many plants contain calcium oxalate. Calcium oxalate salts are insoluble whereas some oxalate salts, such as sodium and potassium, are soluble. The insoluble calcium oxalate has the tendency to precipitate (or solidify) in the kidneys or in the urinary tract, and forms sharp-edged calcium oxalate crystals when the levels of calcium oxalate are high enough. These crystals play a role to the formation of kidney stones in the kidney and urinary tract when the acid is excreted in the urine . -Antinutritional factors in plant foods: Potential health benefits and adverse effects. Actually, Litholink Corporation kidney stone prevention program measures many dietary factors associated with stone risk; here is one example showing years of #litholink testing for a Division 1 elite athlete to ensure low risk of stone formation. Note the medication reduction resulting from dietary management which included oxalate restrictions.
- What is known is that proper preparation of food having anti-nutrients does reduce the anti-nutrients for better human digestion and reduces harm to certain organs caused by the anti-nutrients inherent in the food.
This is why real fermented wheat (aka real sourdough) is better tolerated by non-celiac gluten sensitive folks compared to conventionally prepared bread. This is further explained by the celiac and FODMAP experts Drs. Fasano and Gibson in the below YouTube, Gluten: A Gut Feeling, and why you are learning in this post How-To properly prepare quinoa, a gluten-free substitute and low FODMAP food. Some anti-nutrient slides showing gut impact are:
- To dive into more anti-nutrient research and the chemistry, read the section Why typical claims about anti-nutrients are wrong and the section The real story behind Pseudo grains like Quinoa in Chris Kresser’s RHR: What Science Really Says About the Paleo Diet – With Mat Lalonde. In summary, you’d learn that for lectins in legumes , cooking (heat) almost completely inactivates the lectins (except for peanuts which is why they are so allergenic), and polypenols are “pro-oxidants” that cause mild oxidative stress which up-regulates our body’s natural defense systems. This Kresser article further discusses legume lectins.
What is known about anti-nutrients in quinoa?
Quinoa contains saponins, phytic acid, tannins and protease inhibitors, which can have a negative effect on performance and survival of monogastric animals when it is used as the primary dietary energy source. [Humans are monogastic having a single-chambered stomach whereas ruminant animals, like a cow, goat, or sheep, have a four-chambered complex stomach. An easy way of understanding the significance of this is that the bacterial actions in the four stomachs and intestine of ruminant animals allows digestion of food substrate that differs from that which occurs in the human one stomach and intestinal tract.] Nutrition facts and functional potential of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd.), an ancient Andean grain: a review. J Sci Food Agric and PubMed here.
Incredibly, proper preparation instructions that neutralize quinoa anti-nutrients won’t be found on your bag of quinoa. Actually, there is not much good information about how much preparation is required for quinoa anti-nutrient neutralization.
Add to that, commercial cereal bars seem to skip this step entirely, not that that is the best thing for your gut.
This KIND bar contains: Whole grain blend (oats, brown rice, millet, oat flour, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa), tapioca syrup, dried cane syrup, honey, canola oil, coconut, chocolate liquor, sugar, brown rice syrup, molasses, gum acacia, sea salt, vanilla extract, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, Vitamin E (to maintain freshness).
When I label read, I see the colored ingredients as improperly prepared grains including rice with arsenic, the net sugar load, and emulsifier gum ingredients now shown to adversely alter gut microbiome (see Dr. Andrew Gerwirtz March 2016 Emulsifier presentation here,
#GMFH2016 )… #kindbar seems like a gut nightmare. Even the FDA called out Kind bars for mislabeling but their reasons were that in labeling the bars “healthy”, some @ failed to meet the FDA’s “healthy claims definition” pertaining to saturated fat: The FDA says a food can make a “healthy” claim only if it has 1 gram or less of saturated fat per serving and gets no more than 15 percent of its calories from saturated fat. Not much bite in that FDA healthy claims labeling definition. Then again, not many commercially prepared bars are what I’d term healthy, meaning truly gut friendly. Even the That’s It bars (only ingredients are an apple with fruit) throws at you non-organic apples and berries, both which are on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list. At least the phytonutrients you’d get in these bars, which most are deficient in, may help offset the toxin loads. Seems too that many eating the healing diets seem to tolerate the @ bars, #ThatItFruit.
In general, there is little scientific study on anti-nutrient impact due to preparation for quinoa (ditto though for many other anti-nutrients and other pseudograins and grains).Soaking and fermenting will get rid of some of the lectins, phytates, saponins and protease inhibitors but not all of them.
Experiment with traditional soaking and fermenting methods; see if they work for you.
ANY RECIPE CAN BE MODIFIED TO ADD IN THE QUINOA SOAK TECHNIQUE.
Dr. Mark Hyman’s PaleoVegan diet permits 1/2 cup quinoa/meal but for T2D and autoimmunes. For those conditions he recommends reintroduce following a month or two of elimination to ascertain tolerance. Dr. Mark Hyman’s quinoa recipes do not do the soak but you now know how to modify the recipe to include it. Soaking is what this post teaches, but the next level of prep to neutralize even more toxins would be soak then ferment.
See above for details on quinoa’s anti-nutrients and the following additional saponin and protease inhibitor anti-nutrient information from US Wellness meats, The Wellness Blog The Health-Harming Trifecta in “Paleo-Friendly” Foods unless otherwise noted:
- Saponins. This Purdue document notes that quinoa seed coats (pericarp) are usually covered with bitter saponin compounds that must be removed before human consumption. Saponins may also be toxic to fish. Deresination (removal of the pericarp and the saponins by mechanical or chemical means) does not affect the mineral content of the seed (Johnson and Croissant, 1990).
- Saponins. Saponins also have a molecular structure similar to detergents. These compounds can interact and combine with cholesterol molecules in the cell membranes. Quinoa’s fiber, saponins or squalene, has cholesterol-lowering effects as they bind to cholesterol and bile acids in the digestive tract and assist in their elimination from the body. This process also creates micro-tears in the gut, allowing a variety of harmful substances to leak into the bloodstream. Saponins can also damage the membrane of red blood cells, causing these cells to break down. What’s more, they act as adjuvants – triggers that can cause a cascading inflammatory and immune response. Small doses of saponins are found in fruits and vegetables and may actually be beneficial, helping to enhance nutrient absorption. However, the large doses found in pseudograins have been shown to compromise the integrity of the human gut.
- Protease inhibitors are compounds found in pseudograins (as well as grains and legumes) which inhibit the digestion of proteins. But the protease inhibitors don’t just prevent proteins in the seed from being degraded – they also prevent your body from breaking down other proteins consumed at that time. In response, the pancreas secretes more digestive enzymes to facilitate protein digestion. However, because the protein-dissolving enzyme, protease, is being inhibited, the result is an excess of trypsin. While trypsin is essential, an excess in the small intestine can weaken the connections between gut cells. This too can create a leaky gut and set the stage for inflammation and autoimmune illness. Trypsin inhibitor activity is low in quinoa.
Paul Jaminet in this post on The Perfect Health Diet blog concluded quinoa in moderation is safer than other grains and since “the dose makes the poison” it can probably be eaten in moderation as a way to diversify the diet. Jaminet considers “safe starches” having safety well attested as: rice, sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes, taro, tapioca, sago. Chris Kresser on September 20, 2010 at 8:22 pm noted on Jaminet’s post:
See also the section titled: The real story behind Pseudo grains like Quinoa of Chris Kresser’s RHR: What Science Really Says About the Paleo Diet – With Mat Lalonde, which explains that proper soak preparation reduces anti-nutrients; adding a fermentation step would reduce the most anti-nutrients.
While I have never added ferment liquid to the quinoa, some recipes do so to even further increase digestibility. One example is this Quinoa & Cilantro Salad with Lemon & Garlic Recipe. The process is to first rinse the quinoa in warm water to remove the bitter natural coating of saponin (this is the bitter taste which repels insects and birds), and then: Place rinsed quinoa in bowl and let soak for 12 – 24 hours at room temperature. Adding several tablespoons of kefir (here young coconut) to soaking water “pre-digests” the quinoa making it even more digestible.
Studies showing various processing release of anti-nutrients:
Looking at just phytate reduction: FIGURE 3: QUINOA PHYTATE REDUCTION, Food Phytates by N. Rukma Reddy, Shridhar K. Sathe. Also see more at: WAPF, Living With Phytic Acid by Ramiel Nagel.
|PROCESS||% PHYTATE REDUCTION|
|Cooked for 25 minutes at 212 degrees F||15-20|
|Soaked for 12-14 hours at 68 degrees F, then cooked||60-77|
|Fermented with whey 16-18 hours at 86 degrees F, then cooked||82-88|
|Soaked 12-14 hours, germinated 30 hours, lacto-fermented 16-18 hours, then cooked at 212 degrees F for 25 minutes||97-98|
How does quinoa fit into the healing diets?
Maybe it is the fruits and vegetables you increase eating when reducing or eliminating gluten that is the benefit!
This survey showed that athletes eating gluten-free actually increased consciousness of nutrition intake which increased micronutrients from fruits and vegetables as well as gluten-free whole grains [such as quinoa] and decreased processed food consumption.
What trumps? They all are significant as Dr Fasano explains in the below YouTube, Gluten: A Gut Feeling. He says to go “natural” gluten-free using whole foods such as fresh fruits, vegetable, meat, fish, nuts… this will be nutritionally sufficient and you will lose weight coming off the Standard American Diet. But eat gluten-free pasta, cookies, cakes, and beer… and you will gain weight since these foods are a lot of fat and sugar. He’s seen it time and again in clinic.
Often it is what you are NOT eating that effects health benefit
Healing diets generally eliminate gluten, unfermented dairy, and processed foods and instead include whole foods that increase plant based vegetables and fruits along with some (albeit properly prepared and quality sourced) nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, eggs, meat, fish, and healthy fats. But it is much more complicated since moving to a healing diet arguably increases nutrient sufficiency since awareness of nutrient sourcing increases (see it happen here for athletes).
Additionally, some foods eliminated actually contain other substrates that cause gut dysfunction (casein, lactose, FODMAPs, nightshades, glutamates, oxalates, salicylates, amines...) which the healing diets elliminate.
Eating SCD/GAPS, PALEO, or low FODMAP?
- SCD/GAPS: Quinoa is not legal.
- PALEO: Some camps say, “Yes,” to quinoa providing it is properly prepared which this post teaches! Dr. Mark Hyman’s PaleoVegan diet permits 1/2 cup quinoa/meal but for T2D and autoimmunes. For those conditions he recommends reintroduce following a month or two of elimination to ascertain tolerance. Dr. Mark Hyman’s quinoa recipes do not require the overnight. Soaking is what this post teaches. Soaking would increase digestibility, and the next level of prep to neutralize even more toxins would be soak then ferment.
- FODMAPs: Quinoa is a low FODMAP food. FODMAPs are those pesky indigestible food substrates that our microbiome noshes on producing metabolites and emitting gas. FODMAPS however aren’t bad; infact, many are rich in prebiotics and actually promote good gut bacteria. That is one reason why the
#LowFODMAPdiet is NOT for life and why so many are trying to increase consumption of FODMAPs understanding their critical role as they are fuel for our microbiome blooming beneficial bacteria… According to this blogger the Monash University App lists one low FODMAP serving of quinoa as 50g which is about 1 cup of cooked quinoa. I suppose we’re notching up quinoa tolerance by teaching proper preparation as the #LowFODMAPdiet book, The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet: A Revolutionary Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders, by Sue Shepherd and Dr. Peter Gibson does not include proper quinoa preparation in the low FODMAP recipes.
Eating UMass IBD-AID for management of IBD?
I recently spoke with UMass IBD-AID researchers about why quinoa is not listed on the UMass IBD-AID food list. I learned that quinoa is not listed as they have not yet evaluated quinoa for IBD tolerance. Thus, it may be a tolerable food for IBD, but the studies aren’t there yet. What this means practically is to consider N=1 to test guinoa sensitivity using the gold standard of elimination followed by a week of washout, followed by inclusion to ascertain your unique symptom impact. Definitely properly prepare guinoa if you are going to introduce it! On a side note: The length of time for cooking quinoa may need increased. I mention this only because the researcher stressed that the gluten-free oats permitted on this diet are cooked twice as long as the package directs for easier digestibility.
Watch the 26 minute YouTube, Gluten: A Gut Feeling, for the latest on gluten, celiac, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, FODMAPs & PALEO
Mandatory gluten elimination is necessary for celiac, but improvements realized on the other diets may be due to carbohydrate restrictions which eliminate many FODMAPs. Quinoa is low FODMAP. The YouTube includes:
- Interviews by Drs. Fasano and Gibson, celiac & FODMAP experts.
- Bread preparation: bread fermented overnight has sufficient enzyme degradation of the “toxic” gluten whereas bread today is quick rise lacking sufficient degradation of the gluten protein.
- Or maybe it is the added chemicals used in wheat grain milling.
- Lastly, it is great to know if you lack the genes for celiac since that means you may be able to be a bit lax on total gluten elimination.
- Is the surge in popularity of the gluten-free diet just a fad? Gluten is the new dietary enemy. Millions of people around the world are giving up gluten in pursuit of better health. With celebrity endorsements and best selling books there is ground swell of support for gluten-free diet.
- The believers say it can cure a wide range of diseases like arthritis, depression, even autism. But is this unprecedented uptake of the diet justified? Many doctors say that if you don’t have coeliac disease, you don’t need to avoid gluten. But emerging evidence is challenging this belief.
- In this special investigation, Dr Maryanne Demasi cuts through the hype of the gluten free diet. Should we all get on board or is it just another fad? #ABCcatalyst
Regardless of what diet you are following, if any at all, I’d recommend proper preparation of quinoa ALWAYS not just for culinary taste but to be kind to your gut too.
Last updated: February 9, 2017 at 10:43 am
REFERENCES from #LifeExtension article, Life Extension Magazine July 2015 SUPERFOODS, Quinoa A Complete, Gluten-Free Protein, By Michael Downey:
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- Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/juliewilcox/2012/06/26/7-benefits-of-quinoa-the-supergrain-of-the-future/. Accessed August 4, 2014.
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- Gawlik-Dziki U, wieca M, Sułkowski M, Dziki D, Baraniak B, Czy J. Antioxidant and anticancer activities of Chenopodium quinoa leaves extracts – in vitro study. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Jul;57:154-60.
Cumulative food toxin load UC Davis study (currently the EPA looks only at individual toxin risk):
The study, Cancer and non-cancer health effects from food contaminant exposures for children and adults in California: a risk assessment also discussed in this article, Kids may risk cancer from toxins in food looked at cumulative toxin load in children for 11 food based toxins in 44 foods and found that all of the 364 children exceeded cancer benchmark levels for arsenic, dieldrin, DDE (a DDT metabolite), and dioxins. Over 95% of preschool aged children 2-4 years exceeded levels for acrylamide (a cooking byproduct found in processed foods like potato, tortilla chip and processed grains) and 10% exceeded mercury levels. The preschool age group also had significantly higher estimated intakes of 6 of 11 compounds compared to school-age children age 5-7. Even relatively low exposures can greatly increase the risk of cancer or neurological impairment. Pesticide exposure was particularly high in tomatoes, peaches, apples, peppers, grapes, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, spinach, dairy, pears, green beans, and celery. The results of this study demonstrate a need to prevent exposure to multiple toxins in young children to lower their cancer risk. The 11 toxin compounds looked at were: metals, arsenic, lead, and mercury; pesticides chlorpyrifos, permethrin, and endosulfan; persistent organic pollutants dioxin, DDT, dieldrin, and chlordane; and the food processing byproduct acrylamide. The cohort was 207 preschool-age children (2–4 years), 157 school-age children (5–7 years), parents of young children (n=446), and older adults (n=149). young children.
To mitigate the toxins load, the researchers recommend: Vary diet to help protect us from accumulating too much of any one toxin since different toxins are applied to different fruit and vegetables. Also reduce consumption of animal meat and fats, which may contain high levels of pesticide DDE and other persistent organic pollutants, and switch to organic milk. Despite the DDT ban 40 years ago, the study showed significant persistence and risk of legacy DDE exposure. While mercury is most often found in fish, accumulation varies greatly by species. Smaller fish, lower on the food chain, generally have lower mercury levels. In addition, acrylamides are relatively easy to remove from the diet. They form in chips and processed grains.