Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 238–249 | Cite as

Physiological Effects Associated with Quinoa Consumption and Implications for Research Involving Humans: a Review

  • Thomas George Simnadis
  • Linda C. Tapsell
  • Eleanor J. Beck
Review Article

Abstract

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain consumed as a dietary staple in South America. In recent years, consumer demand for quinoa in the developed world has grown steadily. Its perceived health benefits have been cited as a driving force behind this trend, but there are very few human studies investigating the impact of quinoa consumption. The aim of this review was to identify physiological effects of quinoa consumption with potential for human health. A critical evaluation of animal model studies was conducted. The quality of identified studies was assessed using a methodological quality assessment tool and summative conclusions were drawn to guide the direction of future human research. The majority of studies were of fair quality. Purported physiological effects of quinoa consumption included decreased weight gain, improved lipid profile and improved capacity to respond to oxidative stress. These physiological effects were attributed to the presence of saponins, protein and 20-hydroxyecdysone in the quinoa seed. The implications of these findings are that human studies should investigate the impact of quinoa consumption on weight gain and lipid levels. The role of quinoa as an antioxidant is still unclear and requires further elucidation in animal models.

Keywords

Quinoa Animal Weight gain Lipids Antioxidant effects Saponins 

Abbreviations

DPPH

2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl

FRAP

Ferric reducing antioxidant power

HDL

High-density lipoprotein

LDL

Low-density lipoprotein

MQA

Methodological quality assessment

QI

Quality index

RQ

Respiratory quotient

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas George Simnadis
    • 1
  • Linda C. Tapsell
    • 1
  • Eleanor J. Beck
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Medicine, Illawarra Health and Medical Research InstituteUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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