The Latest & Greatest Omega 3 Superfood – Sacha Inchi Seeds
Your superior snackable omega-3 source
Born in a star shaped pod Sacha Inchi seeds (Plukenetia volubilis) are a “nutritional” diamond in the ruff. Indigenous to the high-altitude rain forests of the Andean region of South America and now throughout the Amazonian rainforest, the Sacha Inchi plant has been known by the natives of Peru and indigenous peoples of the Amazon for thousands of years. Chancas Indians and other tribal groups of the region extract oil from the seeds which is used for the preparation of various meals. Roasted seeds and cooked leaves are also an important component of their diets.
It was a concern that the roasting process would affect the oils in the seed, however, due to the roasting temperature only reaching 44 degrees Celsius they do keep most of their omegas during roasting. Furthermore the seeds need to be slightly roasted for humans to be able to digest them.
Sacha inchi seeds are also known as the Inca-peanut, the seeds have a peanut type flavour when roasted with a creamy texture. Not only that, they are a great source of antioxidants.
The seeds of Inchi contain a high protein (27%) and oil (35 – 60%) content. Its oil is one of the largest plant sources of the Omega family of fatty acids, essential for human life. It contains Omega-3 (48%), Omega-6 (36%), and Omega-9 (9%).They are also rich in iodine, vitamin A and vitamin E[i].
Sacha inchi seeds are the richest source of Omega-3 on the planet! At 7000mg of heart-healthy Omega 3 per 30g serving, they offer 5 times more Omega-3 than 100g of wild salmon – without having to deal with unpleasant fishy flavours and aftertastes!
As this seed contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, it possesses all the benefits of any omega-3 source. Omega-3 is heavily researched and is well known for its beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. The Sacha Inchi seeds having a higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio makes this a sort after product.
Why is Omega-3 so important?
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary dietary fats that humans cannot synthesize endogenously. EFAs support the immune, cardiovascular, nervous, and reproductive systems. The body needs EFAs to manufacture and repair cell membranes, enabling the cells to obtain optimum nutrition and expel harmful waste products.
A primary function of EFAs is the production of prostaglandins, which regulate body functions such as heart rate, blood clotting, blood pressure, conception, fertility, and play a role in immune function by regulating inflammation[ii].
There is research on EFA concluding that they provide protection against cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and possibly the severity of viral infections[iii]
So, for a healthy, cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory, omega-3 rich snack Sacha Inchi seeds should be top of your list. You can simply snack on them whole or add to dishes that usually use peanuts, or even better put then in your masticating juicer and make an omega-3 nut butter to spread on everything.
To consume the equivalent of a small handful (20g) of Sacha Inchi seeds you would need to consume all of the following: 178g salmon + 179g tuna +14 walnut halves +4g chia seeds, OR you could have 19 fish oil capsules. I know what Id rather have…
Try the following recipe to boost your omega 3 intake.
½ cup Sacha Inchi seeds (I use Morlife Sacha Inchi Seeds)
2 cups fresh basil
1 cup fresh coriander
2 Tbs Flaxseed oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs Chia seeds
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
Celtic sea salt and pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients into a food processor until slightly chunky.
Tastes great on pasta, salad or as a dip.
[i] Gutiérrez L-F, Rosadab L-M & Jiméneza A (2011) Chemical composition of Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.) seeds and characteristics of their lipid fraction. 62 (1): 76-83.
[ii] Bajpai V.K, Kim H.R,et al (2009) Bioconverted products of essential fatty acids as potential antimicrobial agents. New Biotech; 26(3):122-130.
[iii] Guilléna M.D , Ruiza A, et al (2003) Characterization of Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.) Oil
by FTIR Spectroscopy and 1H NMR. Comparison with Linseed Oil. JAOCS; 80: 755–762.