Eating quinoa regularly may help to reduce a person's risk of cardiovascular disease, suggests a new study.
Australian researchers say they've proven that eating quinoa is good for the heart and recommend occasionally swapping a bowel of rice for the ancient grain.
A small study published in journal Current Developments in Nutrition found the consumption of 50 grams of quinoa every day for 12 weeks significantly lowered levels of triclycerides - a type of fat in the blood linked to heart disease - in a group of overweight and obese people.
"Whether quinoa is a 'superfood' is still up for debate, but we can now confidently say it does deliver health benefits," said lead author Diana Navarro-Perez at La Trobe University.
High levels of triclycerides have been extensively linked to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease because essentially their is more fat circulating through the body.
Navarro-Perez explains this fat can eventually lead to a blockage in the arteries.
"If you have lower levels of triclycerides you reduce your vascular disease risk," she told AAP.
As part of the study, participants were randomly broken up into three groups. One group was allocated to eat 25g of quinoa, another 50g and the third group stuck to their normal diet and avoided eating quinoa.
At the end of the three months, no significant differences were observed in body size or effect on total cholesterol.
However, a significant difference was noted for triglycerides.
Triglyceride levels reduced by an average 12.7 per cent among the participants who ate 50g, according to the findings.
No significant change in triglycerides were observed in the control and 25g groups.
It's still not understood why quinoa consumption resulted in a reduction of triglycerides. Previous animal studies suggest that proteins found in the grain may boosts the ability of the bile acid in the stomach to better absorb the fat.
Ms Navarro-Perez says in light of the findings more Australians should eat quinoa.
"You will get more benefits from eating quinoa than eating rice because in rice there is really no functional ingredients whereas in quinoa we know now that if you eat 50 grams of quinoa, which is four tablespoons, per day you have a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease," she said.