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Kañiwa, a New Superfood
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Kañiwa, a New Superfood

There's a new superfood on the block that is sweeping the nation and its name is kañiwa – pronounced kan-yee-wa.

Kañiwa is a close relative of quinoa. Not only does it look like a miniature version of quinoa, it’s also a seed that shares similar flavor, texture, and nutritional benefits.

Originally a staple in the indigenous Peruvian diet, this ancient super-grain is resurfacing in many popular meals.

Not too long ago, we saw quinoa quickly become the must-have super-grain. For a while, it could only be found in certain specialty shops because of its rarity to North America.

But slowly and surely, consumers discovered the delicious taste, abundant nutritional benefits, and ease of preparation. Now, quinoa can be found in nearly every grocery store, and in a variety of meals – from sweet to savory.

With all the recent hype of a newcomer, kañiwa is expected to receive the same fanfare as quinoa and become the next gluten-free pantry essential in homes across America. Although kañiwa isn't as readily available now, many specialty stores and natural food stores carry it.

So the next time you're at the supermarket, and you're deciding which to buy, why should you reach for the kañiwa?

Kañiwa may be smaller than quinoa, but it is packed with even MORE nutrients than quinoa – a SUPER super-food, if you will.

It's loaded with iron, Vitamins B1 and B2, protein, fiber, and phosphorus.

  1. Iron is essential to your body's function since it is needed to make your body's blood cells.
  2. Vitamin B1 works with other B vitamins in order to break down food properly and convert it into useful energy.
  3. Vitamin B2 also helps break down food into energy, but also focuses on maintaining a healthy nervous system and healthy skin and eyes.
  4. Protein helps your body repair and make new cells. It's even more crucial for us when our bodies are growing and developing.
  5. Fiber helps maintain proper digestion and lower cholesterol to a healthy level.
  6. Phosphorus is a key player for healthy teeth and bones. It also promotes healthy kidney function.

All of these essential nutrients are extremely important for our everyday health and are normally found in many separate food sources. You get the same servings of iron from 20 mussels or 21 ounces of beef and the same serving of protein from two eggs. But with kañiwa, you get them in just one serving.

So, how can you incorporate more kañiwa into your diet?

Since kañiwa has a nutty flavor, like quinoa, it is the perfect complement to fall meals. You can have it for breakfast with cinnamon and berries, or for dinner with squash and pumpkin. It can even be the perfect building block for your family’s favorite chicken salad!

Also, kañiwa doesn't carry saponins, the protective coating on quinoa that gives it a bitter flavor. This means that you don't need to wash it before cooking – making preparation a breeze.

In order to cook it, mix 1 cup of kañiwa with 2 cups of water and simmer over a low heat for 15-20 minutes. Once the water has completely cooked into the seeds, it's ready!

For an even more nutritious and filling meal, replace quinoa with kañiwa in your favorite Beyond Diet recipes.