If you’ve never heard of quinoa, now is the time to get to know it. It is an ancient plant rich in protein and considered a grain, although botanically, it is not one of them. Its seeds are similar to millet seeds, but their shape is flatter and more spiral. It tastes like delicious nuts and has a slightly smoky flavor, so it is a great way to spice up a dish.
Quinoa can be used in culinary applications in many ways and many forms: whole grain, flaked, or ground (flour). It can be added to salads, soups, or to make bread and pastries.
Now that we briefly introduced this great grain let’s talk about its acidity levels. Is quinoa acidic or alkaline?
Despite the rumors and myths floating around, quinoa is actually an alkaline food, although its pH levels are in the low acidic range. This is because the pH value doesn’t define the pH effect in the body.
So put down that pH testing kit and grab a fork because it’s time to enjoy quinoa’s delicious and nutritious benefits without the acidic anxiety.
Here are some facts about quinoa’s pH levels.
Is Quinoa Alkaline?
Quinoa has a pH value of around 6.7, which is slightly acidic. But it is a food rich in alkaline minerals, which stimulate the breakdown of acids and have an alkalizing effect on the body. This is why quinoa can be considered an alkaline food.
The pH of the actual food does not define the pH effect in the body. Quinoa’s alkaline minerals include potassium, magnesium, and calcium. They bind acids and help eliminate them from the body and make it easier for the body to maintain its pH balance.
What we eat affects the pH of our bodies. And pH affects our health. Eating quinoa makes it easier for your body to maintain its pH balance and ensure optimal well-being.
The tissues and organs of the body maintain different optimal pH values. For example, the stomach needs to be acidic to process and digest the food it eats (between 1.5 and 3.0). The skin, on the other hand, has a pH between 4 and 6.5, and the pH of the blood needs to be within a mildly alkaline range between 7.35 and 7.45. These ranges are important because they perform several functions in the body:
- protect against microbes
- affect the function of enzymes and cells
- metabolizing proteins in the body
- affect the action of hormones, etc.
Is Quinoa Highly Alkaline?
Quinoa is not highly alkaline; instead, it resides on the lower part of the alkaline scale.
Other similar foods with the same low alkaline levels are:
- Wild rice
Are Quinoa Flakes Acidic?
No, quinoa flakes are not acidic. Instead, they are an alkaline and nutritious cereal that helps maintain the health of our bodies by neutralizing excess acid.
They are a very healthy food, rich in protein and minerals; therefore, their regular consumption is highly recommended.
Quinoa flakes are high in protein and rich in vitamins (A, B, and E) and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium). And the good news for those who don’t eat gluten – Quinoa flakes are gluten-free.
These nutritious flakes are also ideal for making granola, porridge, soups, and salads.
What Happens If The Body Is Too Acidic?
The primary role of cells is to transport essential nutrients and oxygen and to excrete waste – this is directly linked to the acid-base balance inside and outside the cell. Therefore, cells are best suited to a slightly alkaline state.
When the body becomes too acidic, the electrical tension on the membrane inside the cell changes, leading to cell and organ dysfunction.
Most people are acidified because the modern diet is loaded with acids (foods high in protein, salt, processed cereals, and low in alkaline-forming foods and minerals). Our bodies are not able to process so much acid, so many people develop a condition called mild chronic metabolic acidosis, which in other words, means that the pH of the blood is still within the normal pH range but more toward the acidic end of that range.
Short-term changes in the acid-base state are, in principle, not a problem for the body, but the problem arises if the acid state becomes a constant or long-term constant.
Acidity causes the body to draw on its reserves, and the two organs most stressed by acid metabolism are the kidneys and the lungs. If there is too much acid and the kidneys and lungs cannot fully metabolize it, the acid builds up or is stored in the bones. As a result, calcium starts to dissolve to restore the correct pH.
In the long term, we know where this leads – to osteoporosis or porosity of the bones. Also, as the body ages, kidney function normally declines, which makes the body’s acid load even more of a problem for the elderly.
Other Symptoms of Acidosis
The most common symptoms of acidosis are:
- poor concentration
- poor tolerance to stressful events
- poor immunity
- muscle and joint problems
- changes in the skin
- hair and nails
- various diseases (autoimmune diseases, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.).
How can I use quinoa?
Suppose you would like to add more alkaline foods to your diet. Adding quinoa would be a good option. Let’s look at how you can use this superfood in your diet.
One of the simple ways to use quinoa is to substitute it for one of the grains – rice, for example – and make quinoa instead of a vegetable or meat risotto. In the same way, you can take the pasta out of a popular pasta stew recipe and add quinoa.
It is also great in cold salads, especially on hot summer days. Instead of other carbohydrates (rice, couscous, pasta), cook and cool down quinoa grains and enjoy a wholesome meal that is healthy and very tasty.
Before cooking the whole grain, quinoa should be rinsed in a colander under running water and covered with hot water to remove the saponins. The recommended ratio for cooking in water is 1:2.5, and the cooking time is 15-20 minutes at medium temperature.
After cooking, leave the quinoa to stand for about 5 minutes to allow it to swell. The cooked grain is transparent, boasts four times its size, and has an unusual outer ring.
This is it – the big quinoa mystery has been solved! Finally, despite all the hype and confusion, we can confirm that quinoa is alkaline and won’t turn your body into an acidic wasteland.
Whether you choose to believe in the hype or not is up to you, but there’s no denying that quinoa is a versatile and delicious addition to any diet. So go ahead, whip up a quinoa salad, or add it to your morning smoothie – your taste buds and body will thank you for it.
And if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, just smile and say, “I don’t believe in quinoa conspiracies; I believe in deliciousness.”