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Why Rinse Quinoa? 3 Adverse Effects of Saponins

Spencer Cailas

why rinse quinoa

As it turns out, plants don’t like to be eaten, they produce toxic compounds that act as a defense system against insects, and other animals.

When you’re learning how to cook quinoa, the very first thing you’ll see being talked about are saponins. Quinoa is loaded with one of them, a naturally occurring outer coating called saponin.

Why Rinse Quinoa, at all?

There’s a few reasons for rinsing quinoa, but it all involves saponins in the end, and not directly related to soggy quinoa as many believe.

When you’re cooking quinoa by following along a recipe you will often be instructed to wash the quinoa you are about to eat, for a couple of minutes, and that’s mostly because of the bitter taste from the saponins.

The bitterness is what keeps animals and other organisms from feeding off the plant.

While some say it’s necessary, going as far as buying quinoa that’s pre-rinsed, other’s recommend eating or cooking it without rinsing.

It’s common to see people say they can’t quite tolerate quinoa, and report gastrointestinal symptoms, especially those with gluten related conditions.

Saponins is one of many compounds, that when mixed with water it produces a soapy like foam. It tastes bitter, and it’s what keeps other lifeforms from eating the plant.

The bitter, earthy flavoring

Taste always is a personal preference. There are plenty of people who like the earthy, grassy flavor when eating quinoa. Of course that’s because most people don’t have any intestinal issues from eating quinoa.

However people with gluten related and other intestinal disorders where the intestines are irritated or inflamed, even small amounts of saponins can end up further aggravating the root problem.

Adverse effects of eating saponin-rich foods

For people who have any symptoms after ingesting quinoa, or saponins in general, this compound can cause unpleasant effects or stomach irritations from any possible underlying conditions that triggered these symptoms.

Anti-nutrient effects

It’s true that saponins have anti-nutrient effects, research has shown that saponin reduces uptakes of some nutrients like glucose or cholesterol at the gut. *

Anti-nutritional factors involving saponin may exert beneficial health effects when eaten in low concentrations such as reduced blood sugar and insulin response levels when it comes to starchy foods. Reduced cancer risks have also been reported.

Reduced protein intake has also been shown, and since quinoa has a high protein value it’s best to rinse quinoa than keep your body from absorbing important, and necessary nutrients. *

Gut permeability

Research has shown that increase permeability of the small intestine cells inhibits nutrient transport, which in turn allows food molecules, bacteria and other free radicals to enter your bloodstream.

In that event, cause leaky gut and other autoimmune diseases can develop (which has been long-associated with gluten related conditions such as celiac disease) from eating too much saponin-rich foods with compounds that causes possible nutrient deficiencies due to the body not properly absorbing nutrients. *

Anticancer properties

Saponin has been found to help in treatment of cancer, it is actively being used in clinical practices today. There have been over 150 kinds of saponins that have significant anti-cancer properties, all of which induces apoptosis in tumor cells.

Apoptosis is the most preferable method of cancer treatment because the process of which the cells are eliminated is more helpful than methods using necrosis.

Apoptosis is a process of when a cell is programmed to die, often refereed to as programmed cell death. Caspases are proteins that break down cellular components by spurring DNases enzyme production and destroys a cells nucleus.

Necrosis is a method in which cells are damaged by external events like infections, poison, and other external forms which end up causing inflammation and other problems in the body, rendering necrosis method of cancer treatments a messier, and less favorable alternative. *