Plukenetia Volubilis, known as Sacha Inchi, is a vine that naturally grows in the Peruvian regions of the Amazon Rainforest.
The vine produces green star-shaped fruit that is inedible but the 5-7 almond-sized seeds are one of the Amazon's best kept secrets!
The seeds are often referred to as Inca peanut or wild forest peanut and have been used as ingredients in traditional dishes and herbal remedies in Peru for thousands of years.
Recently, the unique nutritional benefits of this seed have generated considerable interest as studies on the components of Sacha Inchi have unlocked the scientific answers to this traditional Incan superfood.
Growing of Sacha Inchi
Sacha Inchi also thrives in dense forests, which is important in the tropical areas it is grown in, as it eliminates the need for farmers to clear rainforest before planting crops. It’s cultivation encourages biodiversity and because it can be grown in this way it has a far greater positive effect on the environment. It is also highly productive, bearing fruit almost all year round, meaning it is easy for individual farmers to cultivate. So this amazing superfood is not only really good for you, it also has a positive effect on the environment and supports the Peruvian communities that grow it.
Processing Of Sacha Inchi
As the fruit begins to ripen on the vine and turn brown, the outer most layer splits to reveal the seeds. The seeds are then left until they are completely dried up and then are hand picked, often up to a few hundred seeds per plant. All the seeds are then sun-dried and completely de-husked. The raw seeds are inedible, however after the seeds dry they become incredibly useful!
1. Sacha Inchi Roasted Seeds
Made simply by roasting the seed, these crunchy delights are an excellent snack food packed full of Omega-3 and protein! They have a similar nutty flavour to that of peanuts
2. Sacha Inchi Oil
Sacha Inchi Oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds. This process presses the essential fatty acid rich oil from the seeds and leaves the protein dense powder. The oil can be used for salad dressing / smoothies or cooking.
3. Sacha Inchi Protein / Flour
Perhaps the most interesting of all the Sacha Inchi products is the protein powder that remains after pressing the seeds of their oil. This powder is toasted lightly (this is essential since the raw seed is inedible) then milled and sieved.
Protein - Containing all the essential amino acids, Sacha Inchi is a complete protein. It is unique among the vegetable proteins, often producers combine pea and rice to achieve an essential amino acid profile simliar to Sacha Inchi.
Protein Digestibility - What really matters with protein along with its profile is its Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). Scoring just below Native Whey Protein Isolate at 1, Sacha Inchi scores a 0.9. In comparison Pea Protein is 0.73 and Rice Protein is 0.47. Sacha Inchi's excellent digestibility is thanks to its healthy fat content which allows assists the body in absorbing the protein.
Protein & Omega 3 - Along with a being a complete protein Sacha inchi is extremely high in Omega-3, with around 50% of the fat in the seeds being of this kind.
3 Exceptional Nutritional Highlights of Sacha Inchi
- Bare Blends uses it as a vegan source of protein due to it’s extremely high protein content relative to other non-animal products. Over 96% of the protein in Sacha Inchi seeds is digestible, which is really rare in plant based sources of protein. (Protein is what your body uses to build cells and it comes mostly form food consumption. Because animal based products tend to be the main source of protein in an average omnivorous diet it can be especially hard for vegans to get enough protein.)
- The seeds have a high content of Omega 3 with a balanced proportion of Omega 6. High levels of Omega 3 in the diet promotes healthy brain function and greatly improves cholesterol levels and heart function.(The proportion of omega 6 to omega 3 in western diets has been identified as a key contributor to the prevalence of chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.)
- The vast array of other amazing nutrients in Sacha Inchi make it one of the most perfectly nutritious foods. It is a great source of vitamins A and E, calcium, zinc, potassium and fibre. It also has a uniquely high Tryptophan content which is used by your brain to make chemicals that regulate mood, sleep and hunger levels.
So What are the Health Benefits of Sacha Inchi?
- Helps prevent coronary heart disease and high blood pressure, and lowers cholesterol
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer through antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids and tocopherols
- Helps to protect and fortify your brain and nervous system
- Contributes to your overall mood and has been shown to help reduce cravings for snacks
- Helps prevent inflammation
- Keeps your hair and skin healthy
- Delivers concentrated amounts of nutrients that our body needs to function