The indigenous peoples of the Americas domesticated a variety of superfoods that took on important roles in their culture. Two of these are starting to gain worldwide recognition today as foods packed with protein and other essential nutrients: quinoa and amaranth. Both were banned by Spaniards who were scornful of their use in native religious ceremonies.
Both quinoa and amaranth are especially high-protein grains, containing eight to nine grams per one cup serving. Surprisingly, the protein they provide is nutritionally complete — meaning that it has all the essential amino acids in the ratios needed by the human body — a trait that is very rare in plant foods. Although quinoa and amaranth can be used like grains in cooking, they are not members of the grass family and are completely safe for people with gluten or corn allergies. To top it off, both also produce edible leaves. Continue reading →
Have you ever tried buckwheat pancakes? Worried that all that flour and syrup will spike your blood sugar? Well, here’s some health advice: make your pancakes from buckwheat flour and you might actually be normalizing your blood sugar rather than the opposite. Researchers have discovered that special nutrients in buckwheat may contribute to blood sugar control. Buckwheat bran is an important natural source of quercetin and isoquercetin. Quercetin and isoquercetin are both powerful “a-glucosidase inhibitors” — meaning they prevent the digestion of carbohydrates and reduce their impact on blood sugar.
A Chinese research team studied the blood-sugar-lowering effect of isoquercetin in mice with type 2 diabetes. Isoquercetin was administrated at doses of 50, 100 and 200 milligrams/kilogram (mg/kg) for 35 days. They found that fasting blood glucose concentration was decreased with the 200 mg/kg group the most efficiently compared with a diabetic control group. Continue reading →