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Is Quinoa a Complete Protein?

Spencer Cailas

Spencer Cailas

Quinoa has a very high protein amount, it’s a non-GMO gluten-free seed often confused as a grain.

It’s normally organically grown, making it a beneficial food for vegetarians, vegans, and other people whose dietary requirements make it harder to obtain proper amounts of protein without supplementation.

That’s one of the reasons why quinoa is famous for being a superfood. Though not technically a grain, it’s nutritional profile is better than most common whole-grain foods.

Protein is made up of amino acids, nine amino acids which are essential as the human body cannot naturally produce them, and must be obtained through a balanced diet or proper eating habits.

The most common problem is that most plant-based foods don’t provide those nine essential amino acids, especially lysine, or they contain a very small amount

Is Quinoa a Complete Protein?

Where most common pseudocereals don’t contain lysine or other essential amino acids, quinoa provides a much greater amount of lysine and isoleucine, it’s one of the very few that’s overcome this flaw. Quinoa is a complete protein.

A complete protein or a whole protein is a source of protein that contains a sufficient amount of all nine essential amino acids that are necessary for our dietary needs, and these amino acids are:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine


Quinoa is gluten-free, as it contains all nine essential amino acids (the amino acids the body can’t produce).

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