Several doubts exist about the ways to prevent cancer, particularly dietary prevention. Based on research, several types of food are reported to cause or prevent cancer. One food item that has been found to prevent certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer, is Quinoa. It is a grain seed that is widely consumed in various countries. Due to its nutrient content and chemical properties, it helps prevent cancer and other diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
All you need to know about Quinoa
Belonging to the amaranth family, Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a grain crop that contains edible seeds. It was originally cultivated in South America and later became popular all over the world. Its seed is rich in nutrients like protein, vitamin B, fiber, and in minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. It contains fewer carbohydrates than other grains like rice and wheat, thus becoming a healthier option for many people.
Apart from being nutritious and low-calorie, Quinoa possesses antioxidant properties that prevent various health problems like inflammation, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis. Its role in preventing various types of cancer, mainly prostate cancer, and other diseases like heart disease and diabetes, is being widely researched, with several positive findings. Due to it’s immense health benefit, the UN declared 2013 as “The International Year of the Quinoa”.
Benefits of Quinoa regarding cancer and other ailments
Various studies have indicated that consuming Quinoa can help prevent cancer as well as aid in cancer treatment. It is often recommended as an essential constituent of plant-based diets for cancer prevention and survival. Several studies, such as a US study titled “The Men’s Eating and Living (MEAL) Study”, have indicated that a plant-based diet may not only prevent but also help slow down the progression of Prostate Cancer. Quinoa is a gluten-free, whole grain food and is recommended by many experts as a part of plant-based diets for these purposes.
The most important aspect of Quinoa in this context is its antioxidant nature. Several constituents of it, such as saponins, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and betacyanins, are effective antioxidants, with darker Quinoa seeds having a higher antioxidant content. The antioxidant properties help in the following ways:
- They counter the free radicals in the body and prevent their negative impacts, including cancer growth.
- They counter inflammation, which is associated with several health problems, such as cancer, type-2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and neural degeneration. Antioxidant compounds like saponins can slow down or break the inflammatory pathways that are associated with cancer, including Prostate Cancer symptoms. They inhibit the release of inflammatory cytokines in the body.
Besides the antioxidants like saponins and phenolic acids, Quinoa has other properties that go a long way in preventing cancer and other ailments. Based on various research findings, they can be summarized as follows:
- Quinoa consumption may improve one’s metabolic health by reducing cholesterol level.
- It prevents the accumulation of excess fat in the body, as it is gluten-free. This helps significantly in preventing several ailments, such as cancer, type-2 diabetes, and heart diseases.
- It contains several compounds that may help regulate blood sugar levels. According to a study, Quinoa contains phytoecdysteroids, which help to lower the blood sugar level in the case of hyperglycemia6.
- Its overall nutrient value is very high in terms of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and proteins, which have a holistic impact on one’s health and may prevent cancer and other ailments in the long run.
Things to remember while consuming Quinoa
While multiple research projects have indicated the health benefits of Quinoa, the following points are worth remembering.
- The full extent of Quinoa’s effectiveness in preventing and treating cancer is a subject of further research. It is very beneficial in itself, but consuming it as a part of a larger plant-based diet is recommended.
- Quinoa seeds can be cooked and prepared for consumption, just like any other cereal. You can boil it in water like rice, and eat it along with vegetables and other food items.
- To know whether Quinoa is suitable for you or someone, consult a dietician or, in case of cancer, the cancer care provider and onco nutritionist.
Health benefits of consuming Quinoa are plenty and holistic. Several studies have established Quinoa’s effectiveness against lifestyle diseases like diabetes and heart ailments along with other diseases. It also has the potential of being useful in integrative cancer treatment plans due to its antioxidant properties. With so many health benefits, there is no wonder about Quinoa’s status as a superfood and as an all-rounder for nutritional benefits.