Black quinoa is one of the three most widely cultivated and available varieties of quinoa, the others being white and red. Black quinoa is earthier and sweeter-tasting than white quinoa and maintains its black color when cooked. As with all quinoa varieties, it's also gluten-free. Although black quinoa is typically harder to find than white or red, it contains the same general benefits as all quinoa varieties.
Packs a Protein Punch
Complete proteins are those that contain all 10 essential amino acids -- the building blocks of protein, which your body must get from food. Although complete proteins typically come from animal-based foods, quinoa is an exception, making it an excellent protein choice for people who avoid meat, poultry, dairy, eggs and fish. A 1-cup serving of black quinoa contains about 8 grams of protein, which is 16 percent of the daily value, DV, set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
Fills You Up With Fiber
Dietary fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate found only in plant foods. Although your body can't digest fiber, it's crucial for maintaining good health. Fiber helps stabilize blood sugar, lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent constipation. It's also linked to decreased risk of some types of cancer. A 1-cup serving of black quinoa contains about 5 grams of dietary fiber, 21 percent of the DV.
Folate is a member of the B-vitamin family that helps your body convert food into energy. It's essential for healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver, as well as for proper nervous system function. It's particularly important during pregnancy, infancy and adolescence, when cells and tissues are growing rapidly. A 1-cup serving of black quinoa contains about 80 micrograms of folate, which is 20 percent of the DV.
Iron is a mineral your body needs in small amounts that are essential to life. Red blood cells depend on iron to help carry oxygen to every cell in your body. When your cells get insufficient oxygen, you feel weak and become fatigued. Lack of sufficient iron can lead to anemia. A 1-cup serving of black quinoa contains almost 3 milligrams of iron, 15 percent of the daily value set by the FDA.
- Whole Grains Council: Types of Quinoa
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Quinoa, Cooked
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide
- Boston University: Sargent Choice Nutrition Center: Grain of the Month: Quinoa
- Our World: United Nations University: Quinoa Brings Riches to the Andes
- The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Dietary Fiber
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iron
- Columbia University: Go Ask Alice!: Complete and Incomplete Proteins in Grains and Vegetables
- University of Arizona: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics: The Chemistry of Amino Acids