Other Typical Pseudo-cereals in Diet

  • Kalekristos Yohannes Woldemariam


The increasing need for food and better nutrition necessitates the investigation of different food sources. Among these, cereals are a major sector which provides most of the carbohydrates for the population. Cereals are classified as true cereals and pseudo-cereals based on their usage and classification. The true cereals have been given more attention and have been researched and used as food for a long time. The increase in the need for better nutrition necessitates discovering underutilized cereal sources, especially pseudo-cereals.

Pseudo-cereals were underutilized for many years, due to the lack of knowledge and availability of these cereals. The increase in the globalization, knowledge and attention to these crops led to the discovery of new way of looking through their application, health benefits and usage of these crops at large scale. The most common pseudo-cereals include buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), amaranth (Amaranthaceae), quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), cockscomb (genus Celosia), kaniwa (Chenopodium pallidicaule), adlay (Coix lachryma-jobi L.), fonio (Digitaria exilis and Digitaria iburua), hemp (Cannabis sativa), linseed (Linum usitatissimum) and teff (Eragrostis tef).

Pseudo-cereals are a good source of carbohydrates, protein, fibre and lipids. It is also found that these crops are rich in the bioactive compounds even though there is still work to be done on the investigation of the bioavailability and their mechanisms in application. The increasing study of these cereals is unveiling the truth about their nutrition and health benefits. They are a good source of indigestible long-chain starches which makes them beneficial for diabetic patients; it also has highly soluble and absorbable protein content. Moreover, the amino acid composition of these cereals makes them the most important cereals. Most of the cereals are rich in sulphur-containing amino acids including methionine, lysine, arginine and tryptophan.

The application of these cereals for the purpose of food, functional food and nutritional and nutraceutical purpose is increasing. The lack of information on nutritional details and bioactive content of these cereals makes it more difficult for end users due to the loss of nutrients and inappropriate usage of the cereals. Besides lack of understanding of the bioactive content of these cereals, the mechanisms of the bioactives in which function in our body is still a challenge. Therefore, this paper is only a glimpse of these important cereals, focusing on the main five pseudo-cereals including adlay, hemp, linseed, fonio and teff.


Pseudo-cereals Molecular mechanisms of bioactive Adlay (Coix lachryma-jobi L.Fonio (Digitaria exilis and Digitaria iburuaHemp (Cannabis sativaLinseed (Linum usitatissimumTeff (Eragrostis tef


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Food and HealthBeijing Technology and Business UniversityBeijingChina

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