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Quinoa vs brown rice

Quinoa vs brown rice

Quinoa vs brown rice

Both quinoa and brown rice are nutritionally rich foods: they contain minerals, antioxidants and complex carbohydrates, they provide energy to our organism, and are digestible. But how do they differ? We review the similarities between quinoa and brown rice and their differences.

Sources of fiber and energy

In general terms, quinoa is a food low in saturated fats. It contains B vitamins (such as thiamine, riboflavin and niacin) and provides minerals such as potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. Brown rice is also a source of vitamins (especially B group), beneficial for the nervous system. It contains minerals (especially potassium and magnesium, as well as iron, calcium and sodium, to a lesser extent), and healthy fats essential for the proper functioning of the body.

Both are easily digestible and their good levels of fiber benefit the digestive system, specifically they have positive effects on the large intestine, in addition to being highly satiating. They are also naturally gluten-free, so they are suitable for all types of diets. 

Quinoa and brown rice are rich in complex carbohydrates, which provide glucose to the body quickly and constantly. Thus, they contribute to maintaining energy levels. This makes them particularly interesting for sportsmen and women.

They contain good levels of antioxidants, which help delay the signs of aging, while promoting proper blood circulation. This is especially interesting in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, in addition to keeping in balance the sugar levels present in the blood. It is known that including quinoa in the diet can reduce bad cholesterol levels, while increasing good cholesterol, strengthening the cardiovascular system, for example.

Protein value

Both quinoa and brown rice have good levels of protein. One cup of quinoa has 222 kcal, while one cup of brown rice has 216 kcal. However, quinoa is considered a complete protein grain. This is where the main difference between the two lies.

Quinoa contains the 8 essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. They are called essential because the organism cannot manufacture them by itself and, therefore, they must be obtained through food. Brown rice, on the other hand, lacks two of these amino acids (threonine and lysine), so it must be combined with other foods - vegetables or cereals, for example - to become a complete protein.

In fact, quinoa, together with soybeans, is one of the products of vegetable origin with the highest amount of essential acids, which makes it a very interesting food for people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, since it offers them a source of quality vegetable protein.