The gold of the Incas

Remember when you didn’t know how to pronounce quinoa? (keen’-wah) This pseudo-cereal, a staple food crop in Peru and Bolivia for millennia, has become a household name worldwide in recent years. Debate has raged about whether surging demand for the nutritionally rich superfood benefits or harms local producers.


  • quinoa is protein packed and contains all nine amino acids, including lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth
  • one cup of quinoa contains five grams of fiber
  • an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, manganese zinc, iron, thiamine and folate


A detailed study refuted the thesis that soaring quinoa prices had a negative impact on domestic consumption in Peru and Bolivia. Still, there’s no question that the world’s changeable food whims have had a significant effect. Biodiversity has taken a hit as quinoa supplants other crops, and the quinoa grown for export is of limited variety, while strains that may be more resistant to climate change are neglected. And as a 2016 NPR feature asked, what happens when prices drop again?