Facts and Research

Lost Crops of the Incas

Quinoa

Quinoa has an exceptionally nutritious balance of protein, fat, oil, and starch. The embryo take up a greater proportion of the seeds than in normal cereals, so the protein content is high. Grains average 16% protein, but can contain up to 23% - more than twice the level in common cereal grains.

Moreover, the protein is of unusally high quality, and is extremely close to the FAO standard for human nutrition. Quinoa's protein is high in the essential amino acids lysine, methionine, and cystine, making it complementary both to other grains (which are notably deficient in lysine), and to legumes such as beans (which are deficient in methionine and cystine).

As for carbohydrates, the seed contains 56-68 % starch and 5% sugar. The starch granules are extremely small. They contain about 20% amylose, and gelatimize in the 55-65 degree Celsius range.

Kiwicha

Kiwicha produces mild-tasting, cereal-like seeds that have protein contents of 13-18 %, compared to about 10% in corn and other major cereal foods. Moreover, the seeds have high levels of lysine, a nutritionally essential amino acid that is usually deficient in plant protein. For instance, they have nearly twice the level of lysine found in wheat protein. Popping and flaking seem to have no major effect on protein digestibility or utilization; however, heat may damage the protein unless care is taken.

Amaranth grain is also high in calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin E, and vitamin B-complex. Its fiber, especially compared with the fiber in wheat and other grains, is very soft and fine. It is not necessary to separate it from the flour; indeed it may be a benefit to human health.

Maca

In some areas of the Puna, Maca is important in the diet. It has one of the highest nutritional values of any food crop grown there. The dried roots are approximate 13-16 % protein, and are rich in essential amino acids. The fresh roots contain unusually high amounts of iron and iodine, two nutrients that are often deficient in the highland diet..

In addition to its nutritious ingredients, some antinutritional factors - alkaloids, tannins, and small quantities of saponins - have been reported. During storage, the nutritional value stays high. Seven- year-old roots still retain a high level of calories as well as 9-10% protein.

Kaniwa

Kaniwa seed adds high-quality protein to meat-scarce diets. This is particularly important because in the Andes, as well as in other tropical highlands, millions of people survive primarily on starchy tubers. The protein content of the grain is extremely high. Morever, it has an exceptional amino-acid balance, being notably rich in lysine, isoleucine, and tryptophan. This protein quality, in combination with a carbohydrate content of nearly 60% and a vegetable oil content of 8%, makes kaniwa exceptionally nutritious.

Kaniwa foliage is also nutritious and can be used as a potherb. The leaves of young plants (at about a month and a half after planting) have protein contents as high as 30% (dry weight). The crop residue is highly digestible, mineral rich, and valuable for livestock feed.

Tarwi

arwi (Lupines Mutabilis) is grown in the highlands of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. This bountiful plant yields a white seed rich in protein and oil, including unsaturated fatty acids like linoleic acid. Tarwi contains plentiful amounts of the essential amino acids lysine and cysteine. It does not contain high amounts of fiber, making our processed powder easy to mix, eat, and digest.

After harvest, our Tarwi seeds are processed to remove any bitter alkaloids. Then it is roasted and powderized. Once made ready to eat, our Tarwi powder can be added to smoothies, juice, milk, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal and more for a fortifying protein boost!Tarwi seeds contain more than 40% protein, making it one of the most protein rich crops in the world!


The importance of amino acids, which are the essential building blocks of our body. The difference between essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids.