Quinoa: Nutrition for the Warrior in You

October 9, 2011 | Elaine Marie Conrad

Must See Nutrition Videos

Looking for a food that provides a little extra boost in the fourth quarter? Look no further than the ancient Incas for inspiration.

To the Incas, a South American civilization that thrived from the 13th to the 16th Century, quinoa was such an important crop that it was held sacred. The Incas called it the "mother grain," and they grew it for its edible seeds, which provided warriors with stamina and quick recovery.

The Incas knew that quinoa gave them energy, but they didn't know why. Today, we understand that quinoa provides all the essential nutrients for muscle recovery. One cup of quinoa delivers minerals, fiber, antioxidants, enzymes, all nine essential amino acids and nine grams of protein, making it one of the most complete foods in nature.

One essential amino acid in quinoa that is particularly relevant for athletes is lysine. For off-season athletes working on strength, lysine can help repair and grow muscle tissue faster.

Another quinoa nutrient of great value to athletes is iron. Iron helps the body produce energy and helps the blood deliver oxygen to muscles. It is especially critical for female and endurance athletes. Many female athletes are iron-deficient, which can hinder their athletic performance. For endurance runners, the iron in quinoa can help prevent fading in those last few miles.

Good news for athletes who want to incorporate more quinoa in their diets: the super grain can be included in any meal. For breakfast, sprinkle quinoa on your cereal or cook it with maple syrup and nuts. For lunch, put it in your salad. Have quinoa with your dinner by stuffing it in vegetables or creating a veggie burger.

Add the Incas' mother grain to your diet and unleash the warrior within.

Try quinoa for yourself and post your results to our Facebook wall or tweet us at @STACKMedia.

Topics: PROTEIN | NEWS
Must See
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 6,211,842
RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 25,475,477
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 4,901,621

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 69,070
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 9,456
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 133,452
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,880
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,300
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,676
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,782
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,942

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Why You Should Always Say No to Diet Foods

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

The Boston Cannons'

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Case for Red Meat

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap