Nutritional Value and Use of the Andean Crops Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) and Kañiwa (Chenopodium pallidicaule) uri icon


  • It is also important to recognize and utilize the relatively high quantity of oil in quinoa and kaniwa. These grains can be a potential raw material for oil extraction. The highest percentage of fatty acids present in these oils is Omega 6 (linoleic acid), being 50.2% for quinoa and 42.6% for kaniwa. The fatty acid composition is similar to corn germ oil. The concentrations of gamma- and alpha-tocoferol were for quinoa 797.2 and 721.4 ppm, and for kaniwa 788.4 and 726 ppm, respectively.
  • Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) and kaniwa (Chenopodium pallidicaule Aellen) are native food plants of high nutritional value grown in the Andean region and used as food by the Incas and previous cultures. Quinoa and kaniwa served as a substitute for scarce animal proteins and are still one of the principal protein sources of the region. The importance of these proteins is based on their quality, with a balanced composition of essential amino acids similar to the composition of casein, the protein of milk. According to studies at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM), quinoa and kaniwa have a very high chemical score, and one cultivar of quinoa, Amarilla de Marangani, does not have any limiting amino acid.
  • Quinoa and kaniwa can been utilized in weaning food mixtures. Two dietary mixtures have been formulated: quinoa-kaniwa-beans and quinoa-kiwicha-beans, with high nutritional value. The mixtures had PER values close to that of casein: 2.36 and 2.59, respectively (casein 2.5). Also, elderly people and those with a need to lose weight can benefit from consumption of quinoa and kaniwa. The high content of dietary fiber has many positive health effects, for example, it can reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood and improve digestion. For this reason, consumers in developed countries may also have an interest in including quinoa into their diet.

publication date

  • 2003
  • 2003