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Why Quinoa is Great for Diabetes

Why Quinoa is Great for Diabetes: Quinoa 101

There's a great whole grain you can safely eat when you have Prediabetes, Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes. Wanna know what it is?  It's called quinoa (KEEN-wah). And researchers have a whole list of reasons why quinoa is great for diabetes...and for YOU!

So read on to discover some yummy quinoa recipe ideas and a game where you keep track of...well, you'll have to read on to find out!


Quinoa is your best bet when you're looking for a healthy, fibery whole grain that won’t raise your blood sugar, and will help lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.

AND if you can follow along in this blog post and guess how many reasons there are for why quinoa is great for diabetes, I'll give you something at the end of this post.

Quinoa is Special

The really cool thing about quinoa is that, compared to other grains, it's high in plant-based protein.

Quinoa is also a complex carbohydrate so you know it's still got all its fiber too!

Both the plant-based protein and the fiber help you to digest quinoa a little slower than other grains.

That means you don't get much of a blood sugar rise. Yippee!

If you're struggling with being able to eat brown rice or oats because it spikes your blood sugar...switch to quinoa.

Trying to eat healthy all on your own is too darn hard.

In the Healthy U Group we encourage each other to eat better...

And don't worry, a little later on in this blog post I'll tell you all about how to cook quinoa, what you can do with it, quinoa nutrition, and where you can buy it.

Researchers have been checking out quinoa to see if it has potential for managing early stage Diabetes!

In a study at Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil...researchers concluded that quinoa, kañiwa, and other traditional crops from the Peruvian Andes have potential in developing effective dietary strategies for managing type 2 diabetes and associated hypertension.


What Does Quinoa Look Like?

Quinoa doesn't look like a grain, but rather like a tiny seed.

And quinoa comes in many colors. The most common colors of quinoa are yellow/white, red and black.

Regardless of the color, quinoa is delicious!

Quinoa tastes a bit nutty, is a tiny bit chewy, and it's great hot or cold.

Its versatility is another great reason why quinoa is great for diabetes. Especially since we all need options so we don’t end up eating the same meals over and over!

Red and Yellow Quinoa

How to Cook Quinoa

Quinoa expands 3 times in size when you cook it.

That means if you make 1/4 cup of dry quinoa, you'll get 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa.

To make quinoa all you need is a pot, water and dry quinoa!

And it's super easy.

Just mix the quinoa and water and you're ready to go!

Cooking Time:  15 minutes (5 minutes to rolling boil, 10 minutes to cook)

Cooking Ratio:  2:1, Water:Dry Quinoa

Dry Quinoa   .


Cooked Quinoa

1/2 cup

 1 cup

1.5 cups

1 cup

2 cups

3 cups

2 cups

4 cups

6 cups

NOTE: Pick an appropriate pot since the cooked quinoa will take up a lot of room!


Add your water and quinoa to a medium-to-large sized pot.

Get the water/quinoa going to a rolling boil. Reduce your quinoa to a low-medium heat and cook for 10 minutes. Once you see little curly tails on the top of the quinoa, your quinoa is done!

(Those little curly tails are part of the seed and you eat them too!)

If you want your quinoa to be fluffy and not stick together, let your cooked quinoa sit in the pot for about five minutes then fluff it up with a fork.

Cooked Quinoa

Quinoa freezes well, so you can make lots and freeze it for later!

Since meal planning is a reality for most women with Prediabetes, quinoa's freezability is another reason why quinoa is great for diabetes!

NOTE: Traditionally you used to have to rinse your quinoa before you cooked it. This procedure removed a coating on the quinoa seed called saponin.

If you skipped the rinsing step, your quinoa would taste bitter.

But you don't have to do this anymore since all commercial quinoa is pre-rinsed.

Still, if for some reason you find your quinoa is tasting bitter, give it a rinse in a fine-mesh colander or nut-milk bag BEFORE you cook it.

Quinoa Nutrition and Serving Size

Quinoa is VERY filling, so 1/2 cup cooked is a great serving size.

Quinoa Cooked Nutrition Label

Glycemic Load of Quinoa: 13 (Whoa! That's wonderful!!! A super reason why quinoa is great for diabetes!) By the way, 'glycemic load' estimates how much a food will raise your blood sugar...quinoa won't.

Is quinoa gluten free? Yes, quinoa is the most nutritious grain you can eat if you have to eat gluten free.

Metabolic problems like high cholesterol: High cholesterol and triglycerides are often a problem for women with Prediabetes, Insulin Resistance and Diabetes. But don’t worry! Quinoa's overall ability to help with these common problems are just more reasons why quinoa is great for diabetes!

Quinoa and Cholesterol
In a quinoa-focused research study with high-fructose fed rats:

  • Quinoa seeds significantly decreased the level of total cholesterol in comparison to the control group
  • LDL levels were significantly decreased in the group fed quinoa seeds as compared with the control group
  • HDL levels dropped in the control group, but did not in the quinoa group

Quinoa and Serum Triglycerides

Quinoa looks like a promising remedy to lower serum triglycerides too!
(This study was done on humans.)

Daily consumption of 50 g quinoa, reduced serum TGs by approximately 28.1% after 6 weeks of a dietary intervention and by 36.8% after 12 weeks.

Buying Quinoa

Yellow quinoa always seems to be cheaper than red or black quinoa.

So what's the difference between the yellow, red and black quinoa?

Well, the yellow and red basically taste the same.

And the red and black are slightly firmer.

Some people prefer the darker shades of quinoa in salad because of the pretty colors and the firmer texture. Personally, I don't care either way!


Incorporating Quinoa Into Your Diet

You can use quinoa wherever you would use rice or oats or other whole grains.

AND Bonus! Quinoa works for breakfast, lunch and supper.

Any meal of the day??? Yup! So another reason why quinoa is great for diabetes!  

So, instead of white rice with your supper, now you can choose quinoa instead.

I like to use quinoa in salads when I want my salad to be my meal. Let's face it, eating a plate of lettuce and veggies will leave you starving to death in an hour.

(No surprise since you probably only ate about 5 grams of carbohydrates and less than 50 calories!)

But if you add some quinoa to your salad, you get a nice balanced meal with protein, carbohydrates, fiber and tons of yumminess.

And remember you can freeze cooked quinoa.

This means you can have some pre-cooked quinoa on hand to toss on a salad when you're making your lunches for work.

Or you can use your pre-cooked quinoa to help you whip up a very quick and very filling salad for supper.

Quinoa Salad

Wondering what to eat for breakfast? Why not quick quinoa porridge!

Quick Quinoa Porridge: Cook your quinoa in almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk. Top with cinnamon, chopped nuts and fruit.

Or why not try overnight quinoa-rather-than-oats?

Overnight Quinoa-Rather-Than-Oats: Simply take your overnight-oats creations and replace the oats with cooked quinoa...then enjoy a hearty breakfast that will keep you going for hours.

Quinoa porridge

Why Quinoa Is Great For Diabetes

So, did you follow along and find out how many reasons there are for why quinoa is great for diabetes?

If you did, here are all the reasons you'll have discovered:

  • 1
    Quinoa won’t raise your blood sugar (1/2 cup is a reasonable serving)
  • 2
    Quinoa helps lower high blood pressure
  • 3
    Quinoa helps lower high cholesterol (but keeps HDL stable)
  • 4
    Quinoa helps lower high triglycerides
  • 5
    Quinoa has a glycemix load of only 13 (this means it won't raise your blood sugar much)
  • 6
    Quinoa is very versatile and you can make it in batches and freeze it
  • 7
    Quinoa works for ALL meals - breakfast, lunch and supper
  • 8
    Quinoa is super yummy too!

If you guessed right, you get a hug from me (Joan): Click here to get your hug!

Need More Food Help?

Want more help with meals, salads and snacks so you can reverse your Prediabetes, Insulin Resistance OR even Type 2 Diabetes?

(yes, it's totally possible to eat yummy, healthy food AND reverse your blood sugar problems!)

Click below!

95-5 Wellness Solution

About the Author Joan Pasay

As a Nutrition & Lifestyle Therapist I felt compelled to start Power In The Group. Why? To guide and support women like you with Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance so you can regain and nourish your health...without all the confusion. Together we can enjoy the richest quality of life for ourselves, with our families, and within our society...wanna come along?

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