Is the protein content of quinoa enough for muscle growth?

protein in quinoa for muscle growth

Nutrition data & calories of cooked quinoa

Quinoa is a nutritious grain which is particularly high in protein, fiber, and many minerals, such as iron and zinc.

100g1 cup
calories120220
protein (g)4.48.1
fat (g)1.923.55
carbs (g)21.339.4
fiber (g)2.85.2
starch (g)17.632.6
iron (mg)1.492.76
magnesium (mg)64118
phosphorus (mg)152281
potassium (mg)172318
zinc (mg)1.12.76
Nutrition data of cooked quinoa.

Is quinoa protein or carb?

Furthermore, quinoa is a healthy alternative to rice and other cereals. Although it’s high in protein, quinoa is mainly carbs. 100g of cooked quinoa contains 17.6g of carbs, 2.8g of fiber, 4.4g of protein, and almost no sugars. Certainly, quinoa isn’t keto-friendly, as it’s high in carbs.

Moreover, quinoa is gluten-free and it has a medium glycemic load of 13-24, depending on the variety and cooking method.[1]

Quinoa protein content per 100g & cup

Certainly, quinoa is an excellent alternative to rice and other cereals. It has a higher protein content and also it’s particularly high in nutrients.

100g of cooked quinoa contains 4.4g of protein. Furthermore, 1 cup (185g) of cooked quinoa contains 8.1g of protein. On the contrary, 100g of cooked rice contains only 2.7g of protein.[2]

Is quinoa a complete protein?

Most noteworthy, quinoa is a complete protein, as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Only a few plant-based foods are complete protein. For instance, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, barley, amaranth, spirulina, or buckwheat are plant-based sources of complete protein.

Quinoa is good for building muscle mass, as it’s a complete protein. Bodybuilders and other athletes should eat lots of foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids. Especially the BCAAs! Analytically, the amino acid profile of quinoa is:[3]

Percentage
of protein
grams per 100g
of quinoa
Histidine2,660,12
Isoleucine40,18
Leucine6,250,28
Lysine5,720,25
Methionine2,170,10
Phenylalanine3,90,17
Threonine3,570,16
Tryptophan1,080,05
Valine4,780,21
Amino profile of cooked quinoa.

Although quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids, you still have to consume it along with other foods high in protein. The amino profile of quinoa may defer greatly, depending on the quinoa variety, growing methods, soil, processing methods etc. There are quinoa varieties that have less leucine, lysine, and tryptophan.

The human body can’t synthesize the essential amino acids. We have to take them from food. All of them. Being deficient in just one essential amino acid will inhibit muscle growth!

Therefore, bodybuilders and all other athletes should consume lots of different types of foods high in protein, in order, to build muscle mass.

Can the protein content of a cup of quinoa help you build muscle mass?

Firstly, a cup of cooked quinoa contains 8.1g of complete protein. Secondly, quinoa protein has superior protein quality. The protein quality of quinoa is compared to that of casein. Casein is a milk protein that is considered an excellent source of protein. Especially for building muscle mass, as it’s easily digestible.[3]

Furthermore, casein protein and quinoa protein have almost the same biological value and digestibility. Both are considered to be high-quality proteins.[4]

Even saponins of quinoa don’t inhibit protein absorption! Saponins are phytochemicals in many plant-based foods. They protect plants from microbes and fungi. Also, they may have antiviral properties.[5]

If you want to build muscle mass fast, you should combine recipes with quinoa along with beans, nuts, or seeds. You’ll consume more protein per meal and also, you’ll provide your body with a superior protein content. Combining foods with different amino profiles is good for muscle growth.

For instance, you could add to your quinoa recipes chia seeds, hemp seeds, or even pumpkin seeds. These high-in-protein foods contain all 9 essential amino acids. Combine them to provide your muscles with a high-quality protein, helping you build muscle mass faster.

Quinoa can help you maintain fat-free body mass while dieting

Last, but not least, quinoa is good for you, if you want to lose belly fat fast.

A cup of cooked quinoa has approximately 220 calories. Above all, quinoa can keep you full for a long time and maintain your lean body mass!

Firstly, quinoa is a filling food, as a cup has 8.1g of protein, 5.2g of fiber, and 130g water. Moreover, most calories come from starches, not sugars. Therefore, eating quinoa can help you consume fewer calories throughout the day. Hence, lose weight faster.

Additionally, protein in quinoa will help you maintain lean body mass. Above all, you have to protect your muscle mass while dieting. So, eating lots of foods high in complete protein, such as quinoa is vital.