In the past few years, quinoa has taken the health food world by storm. From sushi-style quinoa rolls to drinkable (yes, drinkable) quinoa the grain is everywhere, and it seems like everyone is eating it. But, why exactly is quinoa so popular?
HuffPost Taste Executive Editor Kristen Aiken sat down with HuffPost Live to break down the reason behind the recent quinoa craze.
According to Aiken, quinoa has three dietary trends to thank for its popularity boost. First, quinoa is a great gluten-free option that’s riding the recent gluten-free diet trend. Second, it is also considered a “superfood” from a marketing standpoint because it is nutritionally dense. And third, its status as a complete protein (because it has all nine of essential amino acids) caters to the ever-growing population of vegetarians and vegans, as well as those who are just trying to eat less meat. Since the grain shares the properties of all three of these health food trends at once, quinoa could be here to stay.
And food lovers rejoice, there are many more healthy foods that could be just as nutritious as quinoa. Other ancient grains that have been touted as “superfoods,” like teff, amaranth and fonio have also been shortlisted as the next grains to watch out for.
But Camilla Toulmin, director of International Institute for Environment Development, also cautioned that there could be a negative side to these food trends.
“I think there’s a bit of a problem you’ve got where hugely powerful consumers in one part of the world pulling resources into their part of the world at the expense of the people that actually live in that locality,” Toulmin told host Ricky Camilleri. “And I think there’s a real risk of that imbalance of power ending up badly for the people whose crop it’s traditionally been.”