Pseudo-cereals are non-grass, wild plants whose seeds are used in the same manner as cereals, but are underutilized due to the dominance of conventional cereal crops. Pseudo-cereals have varied adaptability. They are climatically more resilient and nutritionally richer than major cereal crops. They are enriched with essential amino acids and their protein content is either similar or greater than that of cereals. They contain adequate amounts of dietary fibers that help improve lipid metabolism. They also contain saponins, polyphenols, betalains, flavonoids, antioxidants, vitamins, and other important phytochemical compounds that help detoxify ROS and cope up with the diseases. Interest in the research of pseudo-cereals is growing among the research community due to its extraordinary nutritional and phytochemical profile and its potential in the development of gluten-free products. It can serve as an alternative food source against staple cereal crops under harsh environmental conditions and if cultivated sustainably, can resolve hunger issues in many countries. Pseudo-cereals form an integral part of the biodiversity due to its widespread usage by the tribals. Wild plants of many angiosperm families are used by tribal communities, but in this review, we will only focus on members of Amaranthceae and Chenopodiaceae families.
Part of the book: Pseudocereals