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The health benefits of Quinoa and its role in nourishment

"Quinoa has real potential to replace the rice"  -  Dr. Srinivasa Rao, Ph.D

Quinoa (pronounced as kin-wa or kinovaa) is the one of the latest food item to enter Indian kitchens. However, it is as successful as potato which entered India in early 1600s. Behind this positive advancement, there are arduous and laudable efforts of scientific fraternity in persuading the conventional consumer habits. Today, we are thrilled to interact with one of such respected scientist in the field of biomedical sciences and the think-tank behind Indian Quinoa. Dr. Srinivasa Rao, Founder of Indian Institute of Biotechnology has performed extensive work over the past few years in spreading this grain in India and along with its nutritional profile. Global consortium of scientists have been conducting studies on the health and nutritional and health benefits of Quinoa from quite some time. Recently, Dr. Rao and his collaborators published a book consolidating their research findings over the past 40 years by some 530 scientists.

In this article, we are bringing you the key excerpts of the discussion

1. Why is this grain, Quinoa, gaining traction recently?

Our ancestors tested materials available in nature to determine what is edible by humans. They added some 30,000 edible plant species to our food. However currently, no more than 150 species are being cultivated commercially and much to our dismay 60% of human energy supply is generated from only 4 crops i.e. rice, wheat, maize and potato. Otherwise, limited to only Andean farmers this cereal was bought back to the global map by two NASA scientists. They concluded based on their research that Quinoa has desirable food qualities for long term space mission. Adding to the above, this cereal gained importance when the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has declared the year 2013 as United Nation’s International year of Quinoa to recognize the crop’s resilience, adaptability and its potential to fight against hunger and malnutrition.

2. Why have you invested your energies in promoting Quinoa?

My team and I have embarked the journey on Quinoa, because I strongly believe in the concept of Food as Medicine*and in my endeavors to identify produce that has nutrition and health benefits, I took inspiration from many scientist to work on Quinoa. So far our odyssey was successful as we have launched Quinoa products under the brand name Dr. Quinoa and are amenable by consumers. Our domestic sourcing (from Rajasthan to Araku Valley) coupled with sustainable farming network distinct us from our contemporaries in the marketplaces. We have also contributed material and information in bringing this grain under regulatory purview (FSSAI standards) as there was ambiguous environment for business back then.
*food as a medicine is a concept orchestrated by Dr. Mark Hyman (M.D) who believe in healing ailments with food rather than a drug

3. What are the key nutrients in Quinoa when compared to other staples?

Quinoa is sometimes called “The mother grain” for its nutritional properties. Besides nutrition, the grain can be cultivated in varied climatic conditions. The main nutrition properties include higher protein content, fiber, lower carbohydrates, lipids, more vitamin and minerals. A depiction of comparative study is provided below and a detailed work is available in our book for research enthusiast. Moreover, we are bringing our research findings to the digital world shortly.

Comparative study of Quinoa with popular grains

4. Are there any anti-nutrient factors in Quinoa that a consumer should worry about?

Anti-nutrients are substances present in higher concentrations in the outer layers of the grain and in Quinoa saponin stands as the major constituent. The bitter taste Saponin and its health effects (mildly toxic) have reduced the palatability of this cereal. However, a careful processing of the grain before packing and cooking would eliminate the Saponin. We at Dr. Quinoa adopt comprehensive methods coupled with analytical tests before to ascertain the tolerable limits before packing the product.

5. What are the health benefits of eating Quinoa?

The grain low glycemic index properties manage the blood sugar levels and there are ongoing pursuits to relate the prevention of diabetics too. Further, the gluten free nature and high fiber content is a blessing for millennial suffering with celiac diseases. Its abundant phytonutrient and plant lignans help protect humans from Cardio vascular diseases and also demonstrate cancer fighting properties including weight management. With the protein content along with all nine essential amino acids, quinoa plays an important role in bone development of undernourished kids. All these benefits are contributing to the success of Quinoa and delineating its potential to replace conventional cereals in future

6. Are there any new product launches in the pipeline?

We are launching products that render our core values. We innovate products that valorize health benefits to our consumers. As a part of our business strategy, we are relentlessly working on launching Rice, ready-to-eat products which offer complete nutrition to the consumer. We have completed our research and attained profound insights on the product. Currently, we are in the process of regulatory compliance and will public the details in short time

7. What is the best way for people to reach you?

People can reach me for any research insights at For business queries one can reach our website or email at Our merchandise is also available at

Dr. Srinivasa Rao obtained his Ph.D in molecular genetics from university of Paris, France. He worked at Columbia University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine at New York in various scientific positions and taught cell & molecular biology at Queens College of USA. He is also the director of Granova Naturals which cater products that augment health benefits to consumer.

(All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site)

Issue 19


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