What Are The Benefits Of Quinoa For Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. Your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it makes.

The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. If this malfunctions, you may have diabetes.

Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs. But educating yourself about diabetes and taking steps to prevent or manage it can help you protect your health.

Types Of Diabetes

There are a few different types of diabetes:

  • Type 1: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. It’s unclear what causes this attack.
  • Type 2: Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in your blood. It’s the most common type—about 90% to 95% of people living with diabetes have type 2.
  • Type 1.5: Type 1.5 diabetes is also known as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). It occurs during adulthood and sets in gradually like type 2 diabetes. LADA is an autoimmune disease that cannot be treated by diet or lifestyle.


Prediabetes is the term that’s used when your blood sugar is higher than expected, but it’s not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. It occurs when the cells in your body don’t respond to insulin the way they should. This can lead to type 2 diabetes down the road.

Experts suggest that more than 1 in 3 AmAmericansave prediabetes, but over 80% of people with prediabetes don’t even know it.

Symptoms Of Diabetes

Diabetes symptoms are caused by rising blood sugar.

General Symptoms

The symptoms of type 1, type 2, and type 1.5 (LADA) are the same, but they occur in a shorter period than types 2 and 1.5. In type 2, the onset tends to be slower. Tingling nerves and slow-healing sores are more common in type 2.

Left untreated, type 1, in particular, can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. This is when there is a dangerous level of ketones in the body. It’s less common in other types of diabetes, but still possible.

The General Symptoms Of Diabetes Include:

  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sores that don’t heal

Symptoms In Men

In addition to the general symptoms of diabetes, men with diabetes may have:

  • A decreased sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Poor muscle strength

Symptoms In Women

Women with diabetes can have symptoms such as:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Yeast infections
  • Dry, itchy skin

Gestational Diabetes

Most people who develop gestational diabetes don’t have any symptoms. Healthcare professionals often detect the condition during a routine blood sugar test or oral glucose tolerance test, which is usually performed between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.

In rare cases, a person with gestational diabetes will also experience increased thirst or urination.

What Is Quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is the seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant. Botanically speaking, it’s not a grain. However, it’s often called a pseudo-grain” because it’s similar in nutrients and eaten the same way as cereal grains.

Types Of Quinoa

There are over 3,000 varieties of quinoa. However, the most widely grown types are red, black,k, and white. There is also a tricolor variety, which is a mixture of all three. Quinoa can also be rolled into flakes or ground into flour, which can then be used for cooking and baking.

White quinoa is the most commonly consumed variety and is what you’ll usually find at the store. Interestingly, the different types also have varying nutrient contents. A study examining red, black, and,white quinoa found that while black quinoa has the lowest fat content, it has the highest omega-3 fatty acid and carotenoid contents.

Red and black quinoa

Red and black quinoa also have nearly twice the vitamin E content of white quinoa. The same study analyzed the antioxidant content of each type and found that the darker the color, the higher the antioxidant capacity.

Quinoa Is Loaded With Nutrients

This grain is also popular because it’s very nutritious. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals and contains more protein, fiber,r and healthy fats than other grains.

Just one cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa is a great source of the following nutrients (4):

  • Manganese: 58% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
  • Phosphorous: 28% of the RDI.
  • Folate: 19% of the RDI.
  • Copper: 18% of the RDI.
  • Iron: 15% of the RDI.
  • Zinc: 13% of the RDI.
  • Thiamin: 13% of the RDI.
  • Riboflavin: 12% of the RDI

The same cup provides only 220 calories, in addition to 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, and, at least 5 grams of fiber. Adding quinoa to your diet is a great way to increase your daily intake of important vitamins, minerals, and, fiber.

Can Quinoa Help You Manage Your Blood Sugar?

Part of living with diabetes is managing your diet to help control your blood sugar. Foods that are high on the glycemic index are associated with causing blood sugar spikes. Healthy meal plans for people with diabetes often focus on choosing foods rated at medium to the low glycemic index. A glycemic index of 55 or below is considered low.

Quinoa has a glycemic index of around 53, meaning it won’t cause as dramatic a spike in blood sugar. This is because it contains fiber and protein, both of which slow the digestion process. Most grains don’t have all the amino acids needed to make a protein. However, quinoa contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.


The dietary fiber content in quinoa is also higher than the content of many other grains. This means that quinoa can be particularly beneficial for people with diabetes since fiber and protein are considered important for keeping blood sugar under control. Managing total carbohydrate intake per meal is very important for blood sugar regulation. One cup (189 grams) of cooked quinoa contains about 40 grams of carbohydrates.

One study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed the potential for a diet of Peruvian Andean grains, including quinoa, to help manage type 2 diabetes and the high blood pressure associated with it.

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