Have You Tried Kaniwa? Three Reasons Why You Should
Whole grains or foods made from them contain an abundance of nutrients that may help lower the risk of many chronic diseases. The recommendation is to eat at least three servings of whole grains daily – but even one a day is more beneficial than none.
The main benefits of getting more whole grains in the diet include:
• stroke risk reduced 30-36%
• type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30%
• heart disease risk reduced 25-28%
• better weight maintenance
• reduced risk of asthma
• healthier carotid arteries
• reduction of inflammatory disease risk
• lower risk of colorectal cancer
• healthier blood pressure levels
• less gum disease and tooth loss
The term “whole grain” encompasses more than just brown rice and bran. Take a stroll through the grocery store aisles and you will see many strange looking names, including amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, spelt, and the latest to hit the US, kaniwa (pronounced “ka-nyi-wa”).
Kaniwa is an ancient grain that grows in Peru and Bolivia. Botanically speaking, kaniwa is actually a seed, but it is cooked like a grain. Ancient grains are called such because they have been around for thousands of years without changing. Wheat, corn, and rice, on the other hand, have been bred selectively to look and taste much different than their ancestor grains.
Kaniwa, as with other ancient grains, are packed with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. It is also gluten-free. Though similar to quinoa, it is smaller and reddish-brown in color.
Here are three reasons to try kaniwa:
1. Protein and iron. Kaniwa’s nutritional profile is similar to quinoas it’s a great vegetarian source of complete protein - about 7 grams in a 160-calorie serving. But it’s got significantly more iron than quinoa—about 60 percent of your RDA compared to quinoa’s 15.
2. A time saving grain. No need to rinse kaniwa before cooking! Unlike quinoa, kaniwa does not contain saponins, the possibly irritating coating that gives it a soapy flavor if you don’t rinse it thoroughly. Kaniwa also has a quick cooking time, unlike some other whole grains.