Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) as source of bioactive compounds: a review
Background: Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is a pseudocereal traditionally cultivated by Andean cultures which production and consumption has increased worldwide in the last decades. Quinoa was defined as “one of the grains of the 21st century” because of its resistance to extreme environmental conditions and its nutritional and functional properties. In addition to its high content in protein, lipids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and its excellent balance of essential amino acids, quinoa contains a plethora of phytochemicals including saponins, phytosterols, phytoecdysteroids, phenolic compounds, polysaccharides, and bioactive proteins and peptides. The recent investigations demonstrating the beneficial effects of these compounds on metabolic, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal health have made quinoa to gain recognition as a functional food and nutraceutical. This review summarizes the available data on the nutritional and functional role of quinoa emphasizing on the bioactive compounds mainly responsible for the health benefits attributed to this crop.
Keywords: quinoa, pseudocereal, nutritional value, bioactive compounds, health benefits
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