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    I started eating quinoa for weight loss and ended up with a messed up digestive system

    By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 20, 2023

    Eating a healthy diet is crucial, especially during challenging times like the Covid-19 pandemic. In my quest for nutritious options, I discovered quinoa, a versatile and well-regarded grain substitute. However, my journey with quinoa didn’t quite go as planned.

    A Surprising Encounter with Quinoa

    A trip to the supermarket turned unexpectedly life-changing when a box of quinoa fell into my shopping cart from a high shelf. It felt like destiny, as if the Universe wanted me to try this superfood for weight loss and overall health. Excited by the potential benefits, I eagerly incorporated quinoa into my diet.

    The Promising Start

    Preparing quinoa was simple enough – I soaked it, cooked it with vegetables and spices, and eagerly awaited my porridge-like dish. To my delight, the appearance and taste resembled the porridge I was accustomed to, albeit with a slight bitterness. This flaw seemed acceptable considering the promised high protein and fiber content, as well as its ability to keep me feeling full and satisfied.

    Unexpected Digestive Issues

    However, my confidence quickly turned to dismay. Soon after consuming quinoa, my digestive system rebelled. I experienced loose stools, discomfort, and bloating. Initially, I attributed these symptoms to other factors, but it became clear that quinoa was the culprit behind my digestive distress.

    Understanding the Quinoa Dilemma

    To shed light on this issue, I consulted Dr. Neha Pathania, a renowned nutritionist at Paras Hospital in Gurgaon. Her explanation provided valuable insight into the problem.

    According to Dr. Pathania, quinoa contains a natural coating called saponin, which repels microbes during the seed’s growth stage. However, when consumed without proper washing, saponins can cause acidity, bloating, and gas. They can also give quinoa a bitter and soapy taste. This sheds light on why many people, including myself, experience digestive discomfort after consuming quinoa.

    Should You Include Quinoa in Your Diet?

    While my experience with quinoa was far from pleasant, it’s important to note that everyone’s response to this grain substitute can vary. If you’re considering adding quinoa to your diet, keep these pointers from Dr. Pathania in mind:

    1. Thoroughly rinse quinoa before cooking to remove any residual saponins and reduce the risk of digestive issues.
    2. Consume quinoa during the day, preferably for breakfast or lunch when your metabolism is most active. This ensures better digestion of the high-fiber content.
    3. Avoid overeating quinoa. Moderation is key, and one bowl a day should suffice.
    4. If you’re a first-time quinoa eater, start with a small quantity and gradually increase it to assess your tolerance.
    5. Consider other sources of fiber such as milk, oats, and whole grains like dalia and ragi, which offer both soluble and insoluble fibers beneficial for gut health.

    In conclusion, not all “superfoods” work the same way for everyone. Be mindful of your unique dietary needs and listen to your body’s response. While quinoa may have caused digestive issues for me, it may still be a viable option for you if you follow these recommendations.

    Remember, finding the right balance and choosing foods that work well with your body is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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