Fonio and quinoa are gluten-free grains that have become increasingly popular recently. They are both high in protein and fibre, and they offer a variety of health benefits. Although quinoa has been the superstar of superfoods, the ancient grain fonio has made it to the mainstream market and is a competitor.
In this article, we will compare fonio and quinoa as we learn about their benefits, similarities, differences, and their environmental impacts.
Learn about fonio, the ancient grain of the future.
Meet The Ancient African Grain – Fonio
Fonio is a grain indigenous to West Africa and cultivated for thousands of years. This small round grain is high in fibre, iron and protein and fed many families in sub-Saharan Africa. Its versatility makes it an excellent canvas for sweet or savoury dishes. Cultivated through the sub-Saharan region of Africa, fonio has fed families for centuries and is now dubbed “the new quinoa”. With farmers and sellers bringing it into the mainstream, superfood fans are excited about consuming this versatile grain.
Cooked fonio has a mild, nutty flavour and a light, fluffy texture. Like other edible grains, fonio is steamed for a few minutes and pairs well with any dish.
A brief history of Quinoa
This small, seed-like grain is native to the Andes Mountains and originated around the areas surrounding Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia. Quinoa was used and eaten during the pre-Columbian era and was replaced by cereals upon the arrival of the Spanish.
This ancient grain rose to popularity in the early 2000s when restaurants began featuring it on their menus as a healthy option. It quickly won over tastebuds and became a household name. Quinoa is synonymous with healthy eating today and has become a popular food among the pioneers of gluten-free diets.
This grain is a good source of protein, fibre, and iron. It has a slightly bitter flavour and a chewy texture. Quinoa can be cooked like rice or couscous, and it can be used in a variety of dishes.
Now that we have explored the history of both grains and how they found their way into mainstream cultures.
The Impacts of Farming: Fonio vs Quinoa
Fonio has little environmental footprint compared to its counterpart, quinoa. The best part? This low-maintenance crop doesn’t need much water or fertilisers to grow happy and healthy, making it a fantastic choice for eco-friendly agriculture.
Although Quinoa has its perks, such as enriching the soil with nitrogen, farming it does have a downside. Quinoa farming demands continuous freshwater resources, which can cause trouble for local water systems and ecosystems. Fonio boasts an impressive quality that sets it apart from many other crops – its exceptional drought resistance.
With the ability to thrive even in arid and water-scarce regions, fonio showcases its resilience by enduring prolonged periods of limited rainfall. This drought-resistant nature makes Fonio an ideal choice for farmers and communities facing challenging environmental conditions. Despite the lack of water, fonio stands tall, ensuring a reliable source of sustenance and income and demonstrating its vital role in promoting food security and sustainability in the face of climate change.
While both grains are nutrient powerhouses, fonio brings a unique punch to the table with its complete protein profile and essential amino acids, like methionine and cysteine. When compared, fonio has a higher percentage of protein (10%), iron (0.85%), and thiamine (0.4%) and scores the lowest on the glycemic index at 57, while quinoa scores 65. The health benefits of fonio are relatively higher than quinoa, making it the preferred choice for anyone with a health goal or special diet.
You can purchase Fonio easily here at Malobi’s Foods. Our fonio comes in 500g and 1kg pouches, respectively. We offer wholesale deals and retail options. For more information about purchasing fonio click here.