Quinoa flour is one of those foods that people don’t think about when they go gluten-free or vegan because it isn’t wheat, but it can cause some serious side effects.
You need to be careful if you have sensitive stomachs since quinoa flour could make you sick. Read more below to find out what these side effects are and how they happen.
Quinoa flour can make you sick, particularly if you are prone to food allergies and are sensitive to saponins. You may experience allergy symptoms such as itchy skin, stomach upsets and nausea. The chief culprit of these symptoms is the saponin coating on quinoa seeds.
Can Quinoa Make You Sick?
Although full of essential nutrients, quinoa can make you sick if not properly prepared. However, a little background on this wonder food will help you discover why and how it can make you sick.
Quinoa is a plant in the family Chenopodiaceae, along with beets, spinach and tumbleweeds. Humans have cultivated quinoa for over 5,000 years.
The Incas are credited with cultivating quinoa as they migrated through Bolivia on their way to Peru. They considered it sacred and referred to it as chisaya mama or mother of all grains.
Quinoa is used in various ways, including as flour, thrown into soups and salads, and served as a breakfast cereal by itself or with milk and honey. The quinoa plant produces edible seeds that come in three colors: white, yellow and red.
There are different varieties with different colors of seeds and leaves. In addition to a wide range of nutrients, the quinoa seed is rich in protein.
That said, quinoa can make you sick. A new study finds that quinoa seeds contain saponins, which could cause vomiting and diarrhea when ingested by humans.
The toxin is removed in commercial processing but can be released during cooking. You may have noticed the cooking directions on quinoa packages are to wash the seeds thoroughly before cooking to rinse away saponins.
Saponins are substances that may affect your body if you eat them in large amounts. If your intestines are healthy, they get rid of them as waste.
However, if you have a compromised intestinal lining from Crohn’s disease or some other problem, these toxins may cause problems.
Anyone with a compromised immune system should not eat quinoa because saponins can trigger an inflammatory response and worsen symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
The saponins in quinoa may also affect the entire body, not just in the digestive tract. Other parts of the quinoa plant that can make you sick are the leaves, bark, and stems. The saponins in the seeds are poisonous to humans but are used as a pesticide by quinoa plants.
What Are Quinoa’s Side Effects?
Quinoa may be a delicious meal, but some people experience nasty side effects when they eat it.
Here are the most common quinoa side effects that you need to know about.
Some people experience an allergic reaction to quinoa. If you have a true allergy to quinoa, your body’s immune system will react with the protein found in this food source.
You may experience some of these symptoms:
- A rash on your face or neck
- Itchy skin
- Swelling in your throat
- Hives or raised red itchy patches on your skin
- A fast heartbeat and difficulty in breathing
Not everyone who is allergic to another substance will react to quinoa. An allergist can test you for all food allergies by placing different foods under your skin to see if there is a reaction.
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
If you don’t eat enough food after eating quinoa, this may cause hypoglycemia due to a drop in blood sugar levels. This condition causes weakness, fatigue and dizziness.
You may also experience:
- Tingling in your hands and feet
- Weak and rapid pulse
- Acute confusion or difficulty thinking
- Cold, clammy skin
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Quinoa has not been well-studied for its effect on people with IBS and other digestive issues. Many quinoa side effects are anecdotal reports from people who eat this food source.
Here are some of the reported symptoms of IBS that may be caused by quinoa:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
If you have been diagnosed with IBS, quinoa may not be the best food for you. Please consider this when choosing what foods to eat.
Inflammation of Bowel Disease (IBD)
People with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can have a severe reaction to quinoa.
These inflammatory bowel diseases cause inflammation of the small intestine and colon in response to an infection caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites.
Quinoa side effects may include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, bleeding, fever and weight loss. You should only use quinoa if your physician says it is OK for you to consume this food source.
Quinoa side effects have been reported by people who formed kidney stones after eating this food source. It may be due to the oxalate levels in quinoa that are higher than other grains. If you have a history of kidney stones, talk to your doctor before adding quinoa to your diet.
Quinoa is considered a “weight friendly” food because it has less effect on blood sugar than other carbohydrates do. Still, if you consume more calories than needed for the amount of exercise you do, quinoa weight gain can occur.
The sugar in quinoa is released into your blood slowly, so you don’t feel hungry as quickly after eating this food source. However, if you are healthy and eat large portions of quinoa, it can cause the same level of blood sugar spikes that other carbohydrates do. Make sure to watch your portion sizes when eating this food.
Does Quinoa Flour Make You Poop?
Quinoa flour helps you poop. It is high in fiber which helps with bowel movements. It also has many vitamins and minerals in it, such as Vitamin E and calcium.
These are all important to have a bowel movement. By adding this into your diet, you will be getting relief from constipation almost right away.
Does Quinoa Flour Make You Gassy?
After ingestion, the high protein and fiber content in quinoa may cause your tummy to feel bloated. This is usually accompanied by stomach pain. Taking too many foods made from quinoa flour results in bloating and flatulence.
Does Quinoa Flour Upset Your Stomach?
Quinoa flour can upset your stomach if you are not used to it and often don’t eat foods containing quinoa flour. You may be wondering why you may have stomach issues, yet it is a superfood.
Well, it may be due to the high fiber content present in it. Additionally, some people may experience gastrointestinal distress after eating food made from quinoa flour. This is because this flour contains traces of saponins.
These may cause a bit of irritation on the digestive system and may also trigger allergic reactions in some people.If you have experienced these symptoms after eating foods made from quinoa flour, you need not worry.
It does not mean that this is what would be happening all the time. You may react to it because of some other reason or due to your food habits.
What you need to do is slowly introduce quinoa flour foods into your diet. This way, the symptoms would not appear often and may also reduce.
You might consider cooking with quinoa flour in case you are worried about it upsetting your stomach. This way, it would not be a problem for you to consume food made from quinoa flour.
It is usually recommended that people suffering from bowel disorders should cook with water instead of milk when they are using quinoa flour in the recipe. This would help reduce the content of saponins in the food.
Does Quinoa Flour Make You Fat?
When eaten in moderation, foods made from quinoa flour don’t make you fat. So, go ahead and enjoy your quinoa meals. Nonetheless, too much of something is poisonous, and that applies to quinoa flour as well.
Your eating habits will determine whether or not you will get fat on the quinoa diet. Too much quinoa will cause you to gain weight and consequently get fat.
Can Quinoa Flour Make You Gain Weight?
Quinoa flour can make you gain weight, and here is how.
First of all, quinoa is an up-and-coming food ingredient, and thus it makes sense that lots of people are thinking of new recipes for it.
However, before you get carried away with plans for cooking things with this ingredient in them, remember that it may cause you to gain weight.
Quinoa flour is a low-calorie substance. It has about 180 calories in each 100g serving. This is significantly lower when compared with wheat flour which contains about 350 calories per 100g serving.
However, what makes it a weight gainer on an empty stomach if you consume large amounts of it is the high carbohydrate content.
Its total carbohydrate count is not that high – 32g, but still, it has a higher level than most grains. It also has a low fiber content of just 1g per 100g serving. So the net carb intake will be much higher if you consume quinoa flour in large quantities.
Another thing that makes this substance a potential weight gainer if consumed in large quantities is the presence of a high glycemic index (GI). It has a GI value of 77, which is relatively high.
A low GI food means that the release of glucose into the bloodstream takes place slowly. This means that you end up feeling fuller for longer and thus have fewer chances of overeating on empty stomachs.
On the other hand, high glycemic index food releases glucose into the bloodstream quickly, which can lead to sudden energy spikes and ultimately cause you to feel hungry.The high glycemic index of quinoa qualifies it as a weight gainer.
Another thing that makes quinoa a potential weight gainer is its high protein content of about 20g per 100g serving. A lot of the energy in this food comes from the protein it contains.
This means that if you consume large quantities of this product, your body may not get all the nutrients it requires for efficient metabolism. You may start storing the excess carbs as fat, and thus you will gain weight.
If you add quinoa to your diet, make sure that it is in moderation. Do not go overboard with its consumption because you add many calories to your diet while getting fewer nutrients than what should be present in this product. This may result in weight gain.
Can Quinoa Flour Cause Constipation?
You already know that quinoa is a good source of fiber that aids in relieving symptoms of constipation. However, quinoa has almost double the amount of fiber of most grains.
This may be to your disadvantage as too much fiber in the body may lead to constipation. Furthermore, be careful not to overuse quinoa flour as you may consume too much fiber in one go which may be detrimental to your digestive tract.
Can Quinoa Flour Cause Diarrhea?
Quinoa flour can cause diarrhea when you overeat it. The reason for diarrhea is the soluble fiber content in quinoa flour. Soluble fiber draws water from the rest of your body into the gut, softening and bulking up your stool. The result: diarrhea.
Quinoa flour contains more than 14% soluble fiber; that’s a lot. Most other foods and even raw vegetables have a soluble fiber content of less than 5%.
Does Quinoa Flour Induce Vomit?
One of the side effects of eating quinoa, especially if you are prone to food allergies, is vomiting. The quinoa contains saponins, and in some individuals, these can cause stomach upset, nausea and vomiting.
Quinoa causes vomiting when the saponins are consumed in large amounts. The saponin content of quinoa is highest when harvested at higher altitudes and lowest at lower altitudes.
Quinoa nausea is a fairly common side effect when first eating it, and the symptoms can last for up to a week, depending on how much saponin was ingested. To reduce nausea, try eating unsaponified quinoa or rinsing your grains to eliminate what little saponin is present.
Can Quinoa Flour Damage Hair?
On the contrary, quinoa flour does not damage your hair. It contains all of the essential amino acids, and it’s a great source of protein for your hair. Besides being a popular choice for dishes, quinoa flour is a common ingredient in homemade shampoos.
Quinoa flour is an ingredient in most hair products, especially because both people and animals can absorb the nutrients found in quinoa. Here are some ways you can use quinoa flour to nourish your hair:
- Quinoa prevents hair breakage
It is a rich source of B vitamin folates, which help strengthen and thicken your hair, preventing it from breaking. Quinoa also contains silicon that prevents breakage by coating the shaft’s cuticles, thus maintaining its strength and ability to retain moisture.
- Quinoa prevents dandruff
It is naturally antifungal and antibacterial, thus preventing dandruff. Add a few tablespoons of quinoa flour to your conditioner or shampoo, and it will help keep the scalp free of dandruff-causing bacteria.
Side Effect of Eating Quinoa and Quinoa Flour
The following table shows a summary of a poll done on a group of respondents.
Table 1:Poll summary of quinoa side-effects
|Side effects of eating quinoa||Number of Males||Number of females|
Quinoa contains raffinose, a complex sugar that cannot be digested by the human body and is often implicated in giving people gas.
People with sensitive tummies have reported intolerance to raffinose, meaning that their digestive systems cannot digest and process this sugar properly.
When it’s unprocessed and not absorbed into the bloodstream, it travels through your colon, where bacteria eat it and release gas as a result.
There are many reasons why quinoa might cause bloating. Here are a few reasons why.
The seeds may have been harvested too late in the season to allow for complete drying before storage. If moisture is present, the seeds will ferment and produce excess gas as they age.
The grains are dehydrated, so they might be a bit harder to digest than other grains. Bloating is often related to the action of bacteria on undigested food in your digestive system.
Quinoa is high in fiber, which could give you the sensation of bloating. It contains a chemical called saponin that can cause gas and might be irritating to the large intestine.
Quinoa is hard to digest because it has tiny round seeds, which are very different from the large oval-shaped grains in wheat, oats and barley.
The small round shape of quinoa causes it to stick to the sides of your stomach as it passes through, making it difficult for your digestive system to break down.
In addition, the indigestibility of quinoa is compounded by the fact that it contains a saponin coating that builds up on your intestinal walls. These two characteristics make quinoa hard to digest.
Like many other foods that are not grains, quinoa can cause stomach upset in people with gastritis or ulcers. Your stomach may hurt after eating quinoa because it is difficult to digest.
Quinoa’s hard outer layer doesn’t dissolve until it reaches your small intestine. And when it gets there, the seed coat splits open where tiny hook-like proteins grab onto the intestinal wall like little claws and hang on.
These proteins are thought to trigger the inflammation that causes gastritis, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
This means that your body did not fully digest the quinoa you ate. You don’t have to worry if you see some parts of the quinoa rain in your poop since it may be insoluble/indigestible fiber which, is usually not digested.
As is with most food, you will only reap the benefits of quinoa if you eat it in moderation. Stuffing yourself with huge portions of this superfood will only result in the side effects mentioned above.
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