Phytochemicals in quinoa and amaranth grains and their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potential health beneficial effects: a review

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Jul;61(7). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600767. Epub 2017 Apr 18.


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) and amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus L.) are pseudocereal grains rich in both macronutrients and micronutrients including vitamins and minerals. The proteins are particularly of high nutritional quality due to the outstanding balance of essential amino acids. However, recent research strongly suggests that nonessential nutrients such as phytochemicals of quinoa and amaranth may also have potential health beneficial effects. This review focuses on the phytochemical composition of quinoa and amaranth seeds, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of hydrophilic (e.g. phenolics, betacyanins) and lipophilic (e.g. fatty acids, tocopherols, and carotenoids) nutrients, and how these contribute to the potential health benefits, especially in lowering the risk of the oxidative stress related diseases e.g. cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. The gap between current knowledge and future research needs have also been identified.

Keywords: Amaranth; Anti-inflammatory; Antioxidant; Betacyanins; Chronic diseases; Phenolics; Phytochemicals; Quinoa; Saponins; Tocopherols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amaranthus / chemistry*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Betalains / analysis
  • Betalains / chemistry
  • Chenopodium quinoa / chemistry*
  • Diet, Gluten-Free
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Saponins / analysis
  • Saponins / chemistry
  • Tocopherols / analysis
  • Tocopherols / chemistry


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Phenols
  • Phytochemicals
  • Saponins
  • Betalains
  • Tocopherols