Is quinoa rich in protein?

Quinoa is a great dietary source of high-quality plant-based protein. It’s a complete protein, with a similar bioavailability to casein!

Nutrition data of quinoa

Quinoa is a pseudocereal. It’s a great dietary source of 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 facts of cooked quinoa.[1]

Is quinoa rich in protein?

Quinoa is a healthy alternative to rice and other cereals. Although it’s high in protein, quinoa is mainly carbs. It has 17.6 g of carbs, and only 4.4 g of protein per 100g. Most carbs are fiber and starch. Quinoa is poor in sugar.

A cup (185 g) of cooked quinoa contains 8.1 g of protein, while a serving of quinoa provides 6 g of protein.

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. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, barley, amaranth, spirulina, or buckwheat are the most common 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 many foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids. Especially the BCAAs! Quinoa has a great amino acid profile.[3]

The amino profile of quinoa may defer greatly, though. It depends on the quinoa variety, growing methods, soil, processing methods etc. There are quinoa varieties that have less leucine, lysine, and tryptophan.

% proteingrams
per 100g
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 acid profile of cooked quinoa.

The protein quality of quinoa is compared to that of casein. Casein is a milk protein. It’s among the best sources of protein. Especially for building muscle mass, as it’s easily digestible. Furthermore, casein protein and quinoa protein have almost the same biological value and digestibility.[4]

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

Protein in quinoa supports weight loss

Last, but not least, quinoa is good for weight loss. First, quinoa is low in calories. Moreover, as quinoa is high in protein and fiber, it promotes satiety. Therefore, it helps us consume fewer calories in a day!

People who follow a hypocaloric diet for weight loss should increase their protein intake. Protein keeps us full. Most noteworthy, protein helps maintain muscle mass while dieting.