Cooking, especially with pressure, had greater effects than the other processes, and potentiated the functional properties of quinoa grains. – Nickel, J. et al., Food Chemistry
It’s already known that quinoa is an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids but now there’s evidence that pressure cooking makes quinoa even more nutritious.
An upcoming issue of the Journal of Food Chemistry includes a paper that measured how much of “the good stuff” raw quinoa kept after five different preparation methods.
Researchers measured the antioxidant capacity and phenolic compounds of raw dried quinoa, rinsed quinoa, and quinoa that had been both rinsed and then either heated, cooked, pressure cooked, or toasted.
Their findings show that not only did the pressure cooked quinoa retain these important compounds, but pressure cooking increased them. The study’s data show that antioxidant capacity in pressure cooked quinoa increased by 33% over uncooked and 18% over conventionally cooked quinoa. Phenolic compounds in pressure cooked quinoa increased by 31% over uncooked and 15% over conventionally cooked quinoa. Interestingly, the researchers also found that toasting quinoa decreased these nutrients compared to all other preparations including raw quinoa (20% fewer antioxidants and 40% fewer phenolic compounds).
hip info: bioactive compound refresher
antioxidants – Any substance that can donate electrons and counteract free radicals has antioxidant properties which can prevent or slow cell damage – there are many, but the most well-known examples include Vitamin C and E.
phenolic compounds – A collection of materials found in herbs and plants that are helpful in cancer prevention and treatment- for example phenolic acids, flavonoids, tannins, stilbenes, curcuminoids, coumarins, lignans, quinones.
The study’s authors theorize that pressure cooked quinoa’s shorter cooking time retains these nutrients. They also think that the high cooking temperature caused the disruption of complex structures which facilitate the release of individual compounds – as shown in previous studies referenced in the paper.
Here’s how to squeeze the most bioactive compounds out of your next quinoa recipe, according to the study’s authors:
- rinse quinoa well
- don’t toast it
- cook quinoa using pressure and for a short time
- consume the cooking liquid
If you’ve already been pressure cooking your quinoa, keep doing it. If you haven’t, yet, there’s no better time to start than right now.
quinoa pressure cooker recipes
Leave a comment with your favorite quinoa recipe and read more about the study, here :
Nickel, J., Spanier, L.P., Botelho, F.T., Gularte, M.A., Helbig, E., Effect of different types of processing on the total phenolic compound content, antioxidant capacity, and saponin content of Chenopodium quinoa Willd grains, Food Chemistry (2016),
- Visit the new Pressure Cooker Nutrition section of this website, where we report on the latest research!
Thank you for sharing this, Laura. Who knew? So useful for those of us striving to be healthy cooks.
I noticed you started a new section on PC Nutrition. Will look forward to more terrific articles like this one.