Kaiwa, A Cereal Alternative?

July 29/Food Weekly News -- "Cereals provide a good source of dietary fiber and other important compounds with nutritional potential, such as phenolic compounds, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Although native Andean cereals are known to have high nutritional value, their minor components have not been studied thoroughly," investigators in Lima, Peru, report.

"In this study, two varieties of a native Andean crop, kaiwa (Chenopodium pallidicaule), were investigated as sources of dietary fiber and specific antioxidant compounds. Two products, an extrudate and bran, were also prepared, and their functional properties and bioactive compounds were determined. Both varieties were rich in total dietary fiber and lignin, and the phenolic components analyzed had high antioxidant activity. The extrudates had good functional properties, such as degree of gelatinization, sectional expansion index and water solubility index; the bran was high in bioactive compounds, such as total phenolics," wrote R. Repocarrascovalencia and colleagues.

The researchers concluded, "Kaiwa may offer an alternative to traditional cereals as a health-promoting food ingredient."

Repocarrascovalencia and colleagues published their study in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition ("Chemical and Functional Characterization of Kaiwa (Chenopodium pallidicaule) Grain, Extrudate and Bran." Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 2009;64(2):94-101).

For additional information, contact R. Repocarrascovalencia, Agriculture University La Molina, Dept. of Food Engineering, Av University S-N La Molina, Lima, Peru.

From the August 3, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition