Quinoa was the staple food of the Aztecs and Incas, where it was considered a sacred food, called "The Mother Grain". Even today, the natives of the Andes know the many medicinal properties of quinoa, which is used to cure more than twenty ailments and conditions.
In the human diet, quinoa leaves are eaten as a vegetable, the panicles as a delicacy, and the seeds are typically cooked as cereal grains.
Because quinoa is very easy ease to cultivate and because of its nutritional qualities, quinoa has been selected by FAO as one of the crops to provide food security in the next century.
Why is quinoa so nutritious?
- Quinoa is not a cereal, because it does not belong to the cereal family. . Still, it's a kernel particularly rich in carbohydrates (60%) and proteins (20%). Proteins in quinoa are of high biological value.
- It also features a large embryo (the "tail" of the grain), which gives quinoa higher values to its minerals.
The nutritional qualities of quinoa are associated with the whole grain, but particularly to the high quality of its proteins.
What does protein of high biological value mean?
It means that the proteins in quinoa have all the necessary amino acids that out body needs in the correct proportions.
That's to say, it contains all the amino acids in sufficient quantities.
A limiting amino acid in a food is one that it is not provided in the sufficient quantities to form a protein.