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Is Quinoa a Complete Protein?

Spencer Cailas

is quinoa a complete protein

Quinoa has a very high protein amount, it’s a non-GMO gluten-free seed that’s often confused as a grain, so what is quinoa?

It’s a pseudo-cereal that’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.

It’s one of the reasons why it’s famous and known as a super-food. 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.

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:

1. Histidine

Mostly used as medicine (with a wide range of metabolic processes) targeting anemia due to kidney dialysis/failure, ulcers, allergic diseases and rheumatoid arthritis (possibly ineffective) and other conditions.

2. Isoleucine

It’s one of 3 branched chain amino acid that has a variety of functions in the human body.

There are many foods with isoleucine that can be found in both animal, and plant based diets though most foods low in isoleucine are vegetables, and fruits.

3. Leucine

4. Lysine

5. Methionine

6. Phenylalanine

7. Threonine

8. Tryptophan

9. Valine


Quinoa is a complete protein, gluten-free, and contains all 9 essential amino acids that the amino acids the body can’t naturally produce.