Sacha Inchi | What You Need to Know
Did you just start or have you been on a vegetarian or vegan diet?
If so, then you have got to know about Sacha Inchi, the underrated Amazonian superfood, which looks and tastes like the humble peanut. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and countless other nutrients, sacha inchi packs a strong punch, despite its tiny size.
Today, we are shining a spotlight on sacha inchi and explaining everything you need to know about this tiny little seed, yes, technically, it is a seed, but you can call it a nut if it makes you feel more comfortable.
What is Sacha Inchi Seed?
Sacha inchi is a seed found growing inside a distinctive pod, found throughout regions of the Amazon such as Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, and Ecuador. While the seed might look unfamiliar, native populations across the Amazon have enjoyed Sacha inchi and its many health benefits for centuries. Scientifically, the plant goes by Plukenetia volubilis, and has several street names like Inca Peanut, Mountain Peanut, Sacha Peanut, and Sacha Inchi. You can munch on the seeds of the sacha inchi, or seek out other varieties like oils or powders.
What Nutrients are in Sacha Inchi
Sacha Inchi has a strong nutritional profile. Vegans and vegetarians can rejoice. This seed is a complete protein, as it contains all nine essential amino acids. One ounce contains around eight grams of protein, much more than some other seeds or nuts that you may be snacking on.
Not only that, but Sacha Inchi also contains the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids in any plant. In fact, it boasts an omega-3 content that is 17 times higher than beloved salmon.
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Omega-3s are necessary for cognitive and mental health, heart health, reduced inflammation, protection from cancer, and a handful of other body functions. While vital to wellbeing, omega-3s are not exactly easy to come by in food sources, which is why sacha inchi is the golden mine.
Best Health Benefits of Sacha Inchi
Thanks to a heavy dose of nutrients, sacha inchi helps your body in several ways. From heart health and cholesterol, to protecting against free radicals and battling inflammation, there is no reason you should pass up including sacha inchi in your diet.
1. Helps Build Muscle and Losing Weight
Since Sacha Inchi is a full-fat protein that contains all nine essential amino acids, it is ideal to support healthy muscle growth and development. Thanks to its omega-3 fatty acids, sacha inchi keeps you feeling full and full. It is great at curbing food cravings throughout the day.
2. May Help Lower Blood Pressure
Unfortunately, one-third of Americans also have hypertension, putting them at risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other dangerous complications. Heres some good news: Studies have shown that omega-3s may help reduce blood pressure levels for those who have high blood pressure.
3. Can Help Lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol is the leading contributor to cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Unfortunately, more than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol levels, about one-third of the total population.
Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids may help boost HDL, or “good” cholesterol levels. However, they are even more powerful at lowering your triglyceride levels: Studies have shown omega-3s can lower your triglycerides by 15-30%.
4. Antioxidant Affects Protect Against Free Radicals
Sacha inchi also contains good levels of Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant found in many nuts and seeds. As an antioxidant, vitamin E protects against the free-radical damage caused by environmental toxins such as smoke from cigarettes and smoke from the sun. Smokers need more vitamin E than non-smokers, as smoking lowers vitamin E levels. Studies have shown that combining vitamin E and vitamin C supplements may lower your risk for lung disease among smokers.
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5. Good For Inflammation
Inflammation rears its ugly head at various points in your body. From acne and joint pain, to cancer and heart disease, inflammation is an unwelcome gift that keeps on giving. To decrease inflammation, you can start by eliminating foods high in salt, sugar, and fat (aside from foods that contain good fats, of course).
You can also eat omega-3-rich sacha inchi seeds to boost the body’s inflammatory response.
6. Improves Cell Lifespan
Free radical damage and oxidative stress are the two major factors associated with aging. Free radicals prey on healthy cells, but vitamin E may prolong cell lifespan. For that reason, vitamin E-rich Sacha Inchi seeds are effective for protecting against aging and related diseases.
7. Can Help Prevent Heart Disease
You now know that omega fatty acids and other healthy fats are excellent at reducing your bad cholesterol levels, but they are also excellent at preventing the buildup of plaque in your arteries. For added protection, sacha inchi also contains a substance called alpha-linolenic acid. High intakes of this fatty acid may lower the risk of having a first heart attack by up to 59%, for both men and women.
8. Improves Skin Health
Healthy fats and fatty acids are essential to a beautifully glowing complexion. You will frequently find Vitamin E in skincare products, as it is so effective at protecting your skin cells from the effects of free radicals and aging. Omega-3 fatty acids play their role as well, locking in moisture and regulating the production of oil on your skin.
Where to Find Sacha Inchi
Sacha Inchi seeds are very easy to come by, as long as you know where to look. You can find them in your local natural foods store. Many chain stores, such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods Market, carry these Amazonian seeds. You can also find Sacha Inchi seeds online via the websites of the big nuts and trail mixes distributors, or even on Amazon.
More on Sacha Inchi Oil
Sacha Inchi Oil is a type of essential oil made from sacha inchi seeds. In most cases, you will want to use your Sacha Inchi oil for external applications: mixing it into skincare products, or applying it to your hair to give you lush locks.
Unless your sacha inchi oil is explicitly labelled food-grade or is safe for ingestion, do not consume it. Many essential oils are potent and aren’t meant for consumption. Just because you can eat the seeds of the Sacha Inchi does not mean that the oil you bought is edible.
Sacha Inchi Powder
Sacha Inchi Powder, on the other hand, is specially manufactured for oral consumption. Sacha inchi powder is just seeds milled down into a fine powder. This powder is the perfect complement for a protein shake after your workout.
Not only does Sacha Inchi provide antioxidants and Vitamin E, it contains all your essential amino acids, as well as a decent amount of protein — so this is ideal for supporting healthy muscle growth and recovery from intense training. However, there might not be quite as much protein as you want from sacha inchi powder, so be sure to supplement with your other protein powders for maximum benefits.
Sacha Inchi Nuts or Seeds
Although they are dubbed the Incan Peanut, Sacha Inchi Nuts are not nuts, they are in fact seeds. Truth is, nuts aren’t classified as nuts, either: They’re beans, closely related to beans. You can see sacha inchi-like qualities in the seeds you look at them before harvesting. While the seeds are large, they are clearly grown the same way other seeds do, not nuts.
Can You Eat Sacha Inchi if You Have Peanut Allergy
Experts found no instances of people developing allergies to sacha inchi. Fortunately, the Inca Peanuts are merely nicknames, they are not related in any way to the real peanuts.
If you are allergic to peanuts, you can enjoy the Sacha Isake without any problems. In fact, if you have a tree-nut allergy, you also should not worry about sacha inchi, since it is not a nuts, it is seeds. This is all very good news for vegans or vegetarians who are peanut allergy-averse: You can enjoy the protein, amino acids, and antioxidants in sacha inchi without worrying about any potential allergic reactions. While it is not common to have an allergy to sacha inchi right now, that does not mean it is impossible. If you are susceptible to unusual or frequent allergies, use extra caution when adding any new foods to your diet.
Are There Any Negative Side Effects of Sacha Inchi?
Do not, in any case, eat the seeds of the Sacha Inchi raw. In their natural state, sacha inchi seeds contain dangerous phytotoxins. However, those phytotoxins are safely destroyed in the frying or roasting process, so any powder, oil, or seeds that you buy in the stores should be completely safe to consume.
Some people report a slight upset stomach when they consume sacha inchi, particularly large amounts, so ease into this new ingredient into your diet slowly. You should also be particularly careful if you are taking any mood-altering medications, because sacha inchi has a strong mood-altering effect because of its high tryptophan content.
Sacha inchi is a safe way for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone who is conscious about their health to maintain a healthy muscle mass thanks to its famous full-protein status. Since Sacha inchi is not related in any way to peanuts, you can safely consume this seed for its many benefits without worrying about any potential allergies.