What food will be the next superfood? There’s a chance it could be sacha inchi seeds or Inca peanuts. Dry-roasted or unsalted food is loaded with fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. These features help make it a good candidate for the world’s next superfood.
The food has been growing in South America since ancient times in regions like the Andes Mountains and Amazon rainforests. In some ways, it’s like quinoa, which became a superfood within the past decade. Now that more people are experiencing the super-healthy food it’s more likely to become the next superfood. They also have a mild nutty taste that makes them popular among foodies around the world.
There’s often debate about which foods should or shouldn’t be classified as a superfood. There’s no “perfect” food. In other words, the best approach to good health is to eat several superfoods to get all the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc. you need for the day. A “superfood” is one that’s especially beneficial for health/wellbeing. In many cases, a certain food has historically been considered a superfood in certain parts of the world for hundreds or thousands of years. However, it’s always critical to take a closer look in terms of macro/micro-nutrients.
What in the World Is Sacha Inchi?
It is a seed that’s also known by other names like “Inca peanuts” and “Inca nuts.” It’s been consumed since ancient times in South America. That includes the Amazon rainforests and Andes Mountains in Peru. The ancient Incas have been consuming tasty food for about 3000 years.
The food is from a rainforest vine, and its scientific name is Plukenetia Volubilis. The plant has star-shaped seed pods. So while the foods are known as peanuts/nuts they’re not tree nuts or legumes and are seeds.
Sacha Inchi has a mild nutty flavor. It’s often compared to a dark-roasted peanut. That helps to explain why the seeds are often referred to as seeds even though they aren’t seeds at all.
There are various ways to prepare ancient seeds. They include adding some olive oil and rock/sea salt for the right amount of flavor. There are several other delicious ways you can enjoy this food, so it’s just about spending some time doing your homework.
It’s believed sacha inchi can provide various health benefits including:
- Healthy Fat
- Weight Loss
- Bone Health
- Complete Protein
One of the keys to the seeds in terms of fatty acids is it’s one of the highest-fatty acid food available. Such “good” fat can provide several health benefits related to heart, brain, skin, hair, weight-loss, etc.
In recent years health experts have been focusing more on healthy fat instead of total fat. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, are critical for good health.
A complete protein is one that includes all nine essential amino acids (EAAs). These are aminos that people must get from food/supplements since the body doesn’t produce them. The amount of each EAA is sometimes factored in, which explains why some foods are classified as complete or incomplete proteins.
Sacha Inchi Seeds: Nutrition Facts
Here’s what you get from ¼ cup of sacha inchi:
You get 170 calories. It is over 8% of a 2,000-calorie diet. It’s somewhat high, but that’s due to the high amounts of fatty acids in the healthy seeds. There are 2x more calories in fat than protein and carbs. Besides getting good fat, you’re also getting protein, vitamins/minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, so the calories aren’t empty calories.
The total carbs are 5g, but after subtracting 5g of fiber you get about 0g of carbs. That makes the super seeds a Keto-friendly food and also provides a thumbs-up if you’re on other low-carb diets like Atkins. There’s some debate about low-carb diets, but a lower-carb diet can certainly help with weight loss.
There’s 8g of protein, which is quite high for plant-based food. For comparison, you get about 6.6g of protein in the same amount of flax seeds. Seeds/grains, in general, tend to be somewhat high in the macronutrient.
There’s a sky-high 13g of fat in ¼ cup of sacha inchi. That includes just 1.5g of saturated fat. So you’re mostly getting the healthier unsaturated fat, including various fatty acids. In recent years health experts have been focusing on the importance of “good” fat instead of total fat. Sacha inchi is one of the highest plant-based foods in terms of fatty acids.
As noted you get 5g of fiber in the seeds. That can provide various benefits, including better digestion, even though the body doesn’t technically digest the fiber. They can help to keep the juices flowing.
Vitamins and minerals
You get these daily values from the super seeds:
- Iron: 8% DV
- Calcium: 4% DV
These aren’t sky-high amounts. However, they’re good amounts and can help you get enough vitamins/minerals for the day.
Top Ways to Consume Sacha Inchi
You could add the seed powder to your recovery shake. The protein, in particular, can help to speed up muscle recovery to help you get back in the gym sooner.
That mostly involves the powdered form, although you could use others as well. For example, you can add the sacha inchi to no-bake cheesecakes and others. That will add some extra healthy fat, vitamins/minerals, etc.
You can add sacha inchi oil or add the powder to other dressing to make the dressing creamier/tastier.
Protein powders have been trending in recent years. You can also find Inca peanuts available in a powder form. That makes it easier to add taste, texture, and nutrients to your smoothies, oatmeal, and soups/stews. The powder will be somewhat pricier since it involves ground-up seeds. However, in terms of convenience, it might be worthwhile.
You can enjoy some roasted seeds for a healthy snack. When you roast the seeds, it helps to bring out the flavor. The taste has been compared to roasted peanuts, which helps to explain why they’re known as Inca peanuts/nuts.
Then just add some olive oil and sea salt to add some extra flavor/nutrients to the seeds. The food is already full-flavored, so you can keep your snack limited-ingredient and still get lots of taste and texture.
One of the key features of sacha inchi is its nutty flavor. So it makes sense you can buy or make a nut butter that features the super seed. It’s worth noting that nut butter doesn’t contain dairy butter. They’re named for the creamy peanut butter-like texture.
There are various store-bought varieties on the market or you can make your own. Make sure to watch out for added sugar and salt since it makes your experience less healthy when consuming sacha inchi seeds.