There is no doubt that you have heard about quinoa. Is this South American plant just a fad, or it is here to stay?

Everything that is expensive almost inevitably becomes fashionable. Although hardly anyone knew about this plant back in the 1970s, these days the Internet is full of various quinoa recipes.

Prices for quinoa skyrocketed back at the beginning of the 21st century and remain obscenely inflated: it now costs ten times as high as wheat. However, many people find the taste of quinoa seeds unpleasantly bitter. So, are these seeds really worth buying and bothering with?

Pros

First of all, there is no doubt that quinoa is good for your health. It does not contain gluten which is known to cause allergic reactions. Quinoa is rich in dietary fiber, protein, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. These seeds are easy to digest and they won’t burden your system with excessive fat.

You don’t have to be a master chef to cook quinoa: good old boiling does the job. Quinoa goes well with numerous other foods, so it is excellent for salads. As it is low in calories, it can help you to effectively control your weight. And if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you will definitely benefit from its high-quality proteins.

Cons

Quinoa is pricey. The simple truth is that high prices for quinoa do not result from its magic beneficial qualities, but are caused by a mundane lack of supply. Quinoa is still cultivated in limited areas, so that increased demand for it cannot be fully met.

The craze for quinoa makes selling it a lucrative business: people are continually told that it is the best food ever to push demand even higher.

Alternatives

Buckwheat once lost its popularity in the US due to impossibility to notably boost its growth by use of nitrogen fertilizers. However, this grain also totally lacks gluten and is reach in protein.

Actually, buckwheat contains all eight essential amino acids which make it an excellent substitute for meat. Manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and copper are all present in buckwheat in substantial quantities.

Children like buckwheat for its slightly sweet taste. It is small wonder then that this plant is extremely popular in such countries as Russia and China.

So, if you have a limited budget, and still want to consume wholesome food, it might be reasonable to decide on buckwheat rather than quinoa. Remember: there is nothing in quinoa that can not be found in other foods, and numerous generations of Americans managed to be in good health despite never having tasted these seeds.

Good news

According to recent news reports, a group of researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia has successfully decoded the genome of quinoa.

This plant is now being modified to better tolerate heat, have higher yield and contain less saponins that give quinoa its bitter taste. It is very likely that in a while prices for quinoa will tumble down: the sooner the better.