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Quinoa is one of the foods that has started to be talked about in the last decade, as if it did not exist before. In fact, it has become one of the "trend" foods in recent years, achieving "superfood" status for its potential health benefits. However, despite all the benefits it has, it also has some drawbacks, that is the good and the bad of quinoa in children's diet.
Quinoa is the edible part of the seed of a plant, which, curiously, and although its appearance may be similar to that of cereals, is closely related to spinach, both plants being from the same family.
Among the health benefits that the inclusion of this seed in the usual diet of children can include:
- Its composition is rich in minerals and vitamins. Vitamins A, C and E stand out, for which it has a high antioxidant power, and among minerals, magnesium and calcium, of great importance for growth. In addition, it is a good source of non-heme iron, which, being accompanied by vitamin C, is absorbed in a better proportion.
- It is rich in protein and potassium, so it helps keep the muscles working properly. In addition, this protein contains up to 8 essential amino acids, that is, those that the body itself cannot synthesize, making it of good quality. Among them, histidine stands out, an essential amino acid for growth and development in childhood, which ceases to be essential in adulthood.
- It is an excellent source of fiber, necessary to regulate the gastrointestinal tract.
- The carbohydrates it provides are low glycemic, which makes them release and absorb slowly, something ideal for children, and also does not contain gluten, making it suitable for celiacs.
- Its main advantage over cereals is precisely the contribution of slow-absorbing carbohydrates accompanied by proteins of good biological value, since the protein of cereals is very poor.
However, quinoa also has drawbacks that must be taken into account, mainly the stomach irritation that can result from its consumption on a regular basis. These side effects are caused specifically by saponins, a toxic substance that is part of the natural coating of the seed. Because of this, it is necessary to thoroughly wash the seeds before consumption, to ensure the elimination of saponins. Even if the quinoa is already washed, it does not hurt to rinse well under the tap in a colander and rub well with your hands before cooking.
Quinoa can be introduced into the baby's diet at any time after the introduction of complementary feeding, although, since it can cause digestive discomfort, it may be advisable, as a precaution, to wait until the baby is older and more used to digesting other foods than milk.
You can read more articles similar to The good and the bad of quinoa in children's diet, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.