Canahua, Quinoa’s ‘cousin’ – check out this new whole grain…

November 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Nutrition Tips

Canahua – Quinoa’s cousin

A ‘new’ whole grain (well pseudo-grain actually) is making waves in the world of nutrition.  I say ‘new’ because Canuhua (pronounced “Kaniwa”) has been used for years as an Andean staple but the grain is just starting to go main stream here in North America.  Why now? Canahua, like its cousin quinoa, is high in many nutrients but unlike its cousin, Canahua comes without the saponin found on quinoa.

Saponin is a toxic substance resident on the outside of quinoa that temporarily makes your epithelial cells permeable.  Epithelial cells are the cells that line your insides. Saponin is the same substance that allows us to take our flu vaccine as a nasal spray just for that reason.  It also gives quinoa its bitter taste.  That’s why you need to rinse quinoa prior to cooking.  Because Canahua has been around for so long, I was able to find a really extensive list of literature on its nutrient content.  Some of the grains highlights’ are here:

1. High in antioxidant properties (unusual for a grain)

2. High in calcium (unusual for a grain)

3. High in iron (expected for a grain actually)

4. High in protein as grains go (as with quinoa)

5. And my favorite – high in ‘soluble’ fibre (the kind that keeps you fuller longer ;)

All these benefits and without the rinsing too!  My suggestion?  Get yourself down to Whole Foods and try some – it cooks just like white rice with a little less water (1 and 2/3 cups water to 1 cup grain, simmer for 15 minutes, let stand for 5, fluff and serve) – Enjoy!