Sacha Inchi: A Paleo Vegan Superfood Protein

What is it? Sacha inchi seeds (Seed protein) come from the Plekenetia volubilis fruit, which grows at elevation in the tropical jungles of South America. Also known as the “Inca peanut,” “wild peanut,” or “mountain peanut,” sacha inchi seeds are renowned as a superfood because of their healthy fat and protein profile.

Where does it come from? Indigenous to the high-altitude rain forests of the Andean region, sacha inchi has now spread to the lowlands of the Peruvian Amazon. The plant was probably used by the Incas and pre-Incas over 3000 years ago, as evidenced by artwork on vessels in Inca tombs. It’s rumored that even inca warriors used this superfood to power up. To this day, sacha inchi oil, seeds and leaves are an important part of the diets of the Chancas Indians and other tribal groups.[i]

What makes it so healthy? Truly a warrior’s food, sacha inchi seeds have three times the heart-healthy omega-3s and twice the fiber of walnuts. Just one ounce of sacha inchi seeds contains five grams of fiber, or 20% of the recommended daily value.[ii] Sacha inchi oil also contains tocopherols (vitamin E),[iii] has demonstrated antioxidant capacity, and is an important source of other health promoting phytochemicals. Sachi inchi also provides generous amounts of vitamin A,[iv] iron and calcium. Plus:

It’s protein-rich: Sacha inchi seeds contain from 35 to 60% oil, and around 27% protein, with high levels of the amino acids cysteine and tyrosine, and the essential amino acids threonine and tryptophan.[v] Unlike other amino acids, essential amino acids cannot be created within the human body from raw materials, and must be consumed from dietary sources.

It’s full of healthy omega fats: Sacha inchi is an important source of heart-healthy omega-3s (n-3 linolenic acyl groups) and contains high proportions of the omega-6s (n-6 linoleic acyl groups).[vi] In fact, sacha inchi is low in saturated fats and high in omega-3 fatty acids, with the most omega-3s of any seed on Earth.[vii]

Interestingly, omega-3 fatty acids (also known as omega-3 fats or n-3 fats) are essential fats. Like essential amino acids, essential fats cannot be made in the body from other fats or raw materials. You must get them from food. Excellent sources of omega-3s include fish, nuts (especially walnuts), flaxseeds, and leafy vegetables, and certain vegetable oils[viii]… and sacha inchi powder! Here’s more on what omega-3s can do for you.

Heart health: Numerous studies have demonstrated the cardioprotective benefits of omega-3s. In short, they are great for your heart. Swapping either dietary saturated fat or carbohydrates for linoleic acid lowers the risk of heart disease, according to Harvard research.[ix]

Brain function: Omega-3s help enhance memory and cognitive function—they’re great for your brain!

Disease fighting: Omega-3s reduce inflammation and may lower the risk of several chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.[x]

Healthy testosterone: Healthy dietary fats are important for hormone regulation and healthy aging. Unfortunately, many people don’t eat fish, nuts, or leafy vegetables regularly, and vegetarians in particular may struggle to get sufficient omega-3s.

How do you eat it? Sacha inchi seeds can be eaten roasted (although not raw), or be made into an oil or powder. The powder contains lots of protein and omega-3s. It is highly digestible and contains all nine essential amino acids. Sacha inchi Pegan™ Protein Powder (Keto / Low Carb / Paleo / Vegan ) is a versatile ingredient that can be used in smoothies, baking, bars, or desserts.

Pegan™ Protein Powder is great for people on a low-inflammation diet, who follow a Paleo food plan, or who want to boost their protein or omega-3 intake. Its gluten-free and cholesterol-free. Isn’t it time you ate like a warrior?

 Written By: Heath Squier / CEO / Julian Bakery, Inc.

References:

[i] http://www.tropentag.de/2007/abstracts/links/Krivankova_NnQmCSMU.pdf

[ii] http://www.doctoroz.com/article/best-and-worst-2010-your-guide

[iii] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22053706

[iv] http://www.tropentag.de/2007/abstracts/links/Krivankova_NnQmCSMU.pdf

[v] http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11746-003-0768-z#page-2

[vi] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23870885

[vii] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/manuel-villacorta/peru-superfoods_b_4524807.html

[viii] http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/

[ix] http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2014/11/05/dietary-linoleic-acid-and-risk-of-coronary-heart-disease/

[x] http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids

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