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Is Quinoa Better Than Rice?

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Apr 19, 2022

Is Quinoa Better Than Rice?

After taking the place of rice in several dishes, it is a fair question to ask why this has become a trend. Does quinoa have more health benefits compared to rice? Why has it become fashionable, so to speak, to replace traditional rice with quinoa instead?

Quinoa Benefits: Why Choose Quinoa?

Quinoa is actually as simple to cook as rice or couscous, takes only 15 minutes to prepare, and has many health benefits.

A plant species of the Chenopodiaceae family, quinoa originated in the Andean region and can adapt to different types of soil and climatic conditions. It is a pseudo grain with high nutritional value since it is rich in proteins, lipids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as an extraordinary balance of essential amino acids

Among the quinoa benefits are:

  • Quinoa helps muscles grow. This seed has all nine essential amino acids, something rare in food that isn’t meat.
  • Its high fiber content helps maintain blood sugar control, which is good for diabetics.
  • Quinoa is rich in iron, B vitamins, zinc, and calcium, meaning it is good for lactating mothers.
  • Its high iron content helps oxygen circulate throughout the body and boosts brain alertness.
  • It is rich in magnesium, helpful in fighting migraines.

Is Quinoa a Seed or a Grain?

Although technically a seed, quinoa is actually classified as a whole grain. Also called cereals, grains and whole grains are the seeds of grasses cultivated for food. Grains and whole grains come in many shapes and sizes, from large kernels of popcorn to small quinoa seeds. All types of grains are good sources of complex carbohydrates and some key vitamins and minerals.

The healthiest kinds of grain are whole grains. These are an important part of a healthy diet.

Quinoa is a whole grain naturally high in fiber, helping you feel full and satisfied — which makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Whole grains are also linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and other health problems.

Quinoa Benefits: Understanding Its Other Properties

Additionally, quinoa has some functional properties including solubility, water-holding capacity (WHC), gelation, emulsifying, and foaming that allow diversified uses.

It is also considered an oil crop, with an interesting proportion of omega-6 and a notable vitamin E content. Quinoa starch has physicochemical properties (such as viscosity, freeze stability) which give it functional properties with novel uses.

It also contains a high amount of health-beneficial phytochemicals including saponins, phytosterols, phytoecdysteroids. Quinoa has considerably positive effects on metabolic, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal health in humans.

Although quinoa can be very plain when it is prepared with water alone, adding flavor to it requires very little extra work — and the possibilities are almost endless.

While the Filipino diet has been largely based on white rice for what seems like an eternity, the option of quinoa is now present and offers its own benefits. Both rice and quinoa can be part of a healthy lifestyle. While white rice is great if you’re recovering from a stomach ailment, brown rice is the healthier choice overall, mostly because the fiber helps prevent blood sugar spikes.

In that sense, the health benefits of quinoa and brown rice are more similar because both are gluten-free, a good source of minerals and fiber, and both support healthy digestion. Both quinoa and brown rice are healthy alternatives for white rice in most recipes and Filipino dishes.

Have you ever tried adding quinoa to your diet? What positive effects did it have on your health? Let us know in the comments!

Learn more healthy eating tips, recipes, and nutrition facts here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Chris Icamen

Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Apr 19, 2022

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