Sacha Inchi, a food source for over 3,000 years in the Amazon rainforest, has become a staple ingredient in the nutritional industry and plant-based lifestyle. With other names like Sacha Peanut, Mountain Peanut, Inca Nut, and Inca Peanut, it’s among one of the best plant sources for protein, Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 essential fatty acids, alpha tocopherol vitamin E, carotenoids (vitamin A), and fiber.
Sacha Inchi is usually described to have a mild nutty taste with a buttery finish that compliments a wide range of foods. The small star-shaped fruit is usually filled with 4-7 pods. When ripe, the fruit becomes green. More commonly, the fruit is dried, leaving an easier seed extraction process. While you can’t eat the seeds raw, roasting the seeds is an easy way to make a nutritious snack. You can also find Sacha Inchi in oil and powder form. Sacha Inchi has a long list of health benefits. It is widely referred to as the new “superfood” which is described as a nutrient-rich compound that benefits a person’s health and well-being.
So, what exactly are some of the benefits of Sacha Inchi?
- Controls Cholesterol and Improves Blood Circulation: Sacha Inchi reduces LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL cholesterol levels (good cholesterol) because of the high levels of potassium. Having high LDL cholesterol levels is associated with coronary heart disease and plaque build-up in the arteries. With lower LDL levels, cardiovascular concerns are reduced, and blood circulation usually improves.
- Supports Brain Function: As previously stated, Sacha Inchi is abundant in Omega and healthy fats. Inflammation is one of the main causes of cognitive disorders and complications. Sacha Inchi helps the brain to defend inflammation. As a result, this can reduce the risk of headaches, depression, fatigue, memory issues, and neurogenerative diseases.
- Diabetes Preventer: High levels of Omega-3 have been associated with lowering glucose (sugar) levels in the body which is something a person with diabetes constantly has to monitor. It also is known to lower triglycerides levels. Triglycerides are a chemical compound that provides energy for metabolism. People with diabetes generally have high triglycerides.
- Stress Reliever: Sacha Inchi is high in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps the brain to release the hormone called serotonin (aka the “feel good” hormone). With the increase in tryptophan, serotonin is released more quickly, which will ultimately make you feel better. Once again, with such high Omega-3 levels, Sacha Inchi reduces brain inflammation which could result in lower stress-levels, while countering less headaches, mood shifts, and more.
- Promotes Better Sleep Quality: With the significant levels of tryptophan mentioned above, if you combine this with the magnesium found in the fruit, it can bring on an increased feeling of relaxation. Increasing magnesium has been found to help people struggling with sleep disorders and insomnia.
- Improves Vision Health: Sacha Inchi is abundant in alpha tocopherol vitamin E and carotenoids vitamin A. Both vitamins help with a person’s overall vision health. Vitamins E and A prevent macular degeneration and slow down the process of cataracts and deterioration that can come along with age.
- Hair and Skin Care: Having healthy fats in your diet are a necessity when it comes to healthy hair and skin production. Sacha Inchi is high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids. For hair this helps stimulate growth and repair, locks in moisture, and eliminates inflammation (which can cause dandruff). For skin, Omega-3 and Omega-6 improves the overall appearance by reducing blemishes, wrinkles, and reducing inflammation (which can cause eczema and psoriasis).
- Digestive Aid: Sacha Inchi is also claimed to help improve digestion and aid in weight loss due to its high levels of fiber. Dietary fiber is a vital part in the normal digestive process. Fiber can help by satisfying your appetite and prevent overeating due to feeling full.
It’s easy to see why Sacha Inchi has gained such popularity. You can consume this plant protein in numerous ways: as a roasted nut, in a powder form, or in an oil form. You can add the powder to smoothies, baked goods, oatmeal, etc. With the oil, you can utilize it in everything from your beauty routine to salad dressing. Not only is Sacha Inchi vegan/vegetarian friendly, it’s gluten free, and allergen friendly. With the list of benefits Sacha Inchi has, by adding it to a well-balanced diet it can enhance your overall health and well-being.