What the heck are sacha inchi seeds?
Have you heard of sacha inchi seeds? You know I’m a big fan of seeds, with my book, The Need for Seeds: How to make Seeds an Everyday Food in your Healthy Diet published in 2016! However, sacha inchi weren’t on my radar then. Let’s explore what the heck are sacha inchi seeds.
Sachi inchi seeds
Sacha inchi is a perennial plant native to South America and the Caribbean. It produces fruit with large, edible seeds. Part of the dietary intake of indigenous groups in Peru, it is referred to as mountain peanut and Inca nut. The seeds can be roasted for snacks, and ground into powder as a supplement or ingredient in food. Also, the oil can be extracted and used as a cooking oil or in cosmetics. The raw seeds contain potentially harmful antinutrients and alkaloids, therefore, must be roasted before consuming.
I first heard about sacha inchi seeds last year (2021). Then at SIAL Canada 2022 in April, I tried organic roasted sacha inchi seeds. The taste is very nutty and earthy, like an extremely dry roasted peanut, rather than any seed I’m familiar with. As a result, it makes sense that the sacha inchi seed is referred to as a mountain peanut.
Nutrition and health benefits
Sacha inchi seeds are a good source of plant protein, fibre and omega-3 fats. They are a source of micronutrients including phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc.
There are several potential health benefits linked to the consumption of sacha inchi seeds and oil. Some of the early animal model research suggests regular intake of sacha inchi may improve blood lipid levels, gut health and promote weight loss. However, clinical trials in humans are needed to confirm the dose-response relationship for these health benefits.
Products in the marketplace
The food and supplement industries are more aware of sacha inchi. In addition to buying the oil and seeds, it is available in the powder form as an ingredient.
- Naturik is the brand of the organic roasted sacha inchi seeds I sampled at SIAL Canada last month.
- MID-DAY Squares are a cross between a protein bar and chocolate bar. They are aimed at the mid-day snack occasion, innovated to address hunger and craving in between meals. Their ingredient list includes some of my favourites including pumpkin seeds, yacon syrup, hemp protein concentrate, sacha inchi protein concentrate and maca.
What the heck are sacha inchi seeds final thoughts
Sacha inchi seeds are used as whole seeds, ground into powder and pressed into oil. They are nutritious and may have potential health benefits including heart health, gut health and weight management. They are regarded as generally safe, but the raw seeds must be roasted before consumption. Eating even roasted sacha inchi may cause nausea in some people. Allergic reactions are rare.
Most importantly, remember no single food or ingredient is a silver bullet. A lifestyle filled with healthy habits including a balanced dietary pattern with nutritious snacks, exercise and restful sleep is the best approach for long-term consistent, mind-body health. Have you tried sacha inchi seeds or oil? What are your thoughts?