Sacha Inchi is a plant that has been in use by mankind for hundreds of years across the globe. However, the benefits of Sacha Inchi have recently gained global popularity from the nutritional perspective – primarily because of its immunity-boosting properties.
Sacha Inchi produces seeds that are rich in various nutrients and are extremely beneficial for our immune system. It can be added to your diet in several ways and therefore Sacha Inchi health benefits are hard to ignore. It certainly makes for delicious and healthy food.
If you are wondering “what is Sacha Inchi?”, read on to understand all about the plant, its uses, benefits, and a few side effects
What is Sacha Inchi?
Sacha Inchi or Plukenetia Volubilis is a plant that is high in nutrients and is beneficial for our health. It is considered native to several parts of the Caribbean and South America. The plant produces large seeds that are edible and rich in protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and omega 6 fatty acids.
Several indigenous groups of Peru traditionally consumed the seeds of this plant. This is the reason why these seeds are often called Inca nuts or mountain peanuts. The seeds are mostly used in their powdered form after being crushed. They are then added to several food recipes to make the dishes healthier and more beneficial for our immune system.
The seeds also contain oil. It is extracted from the seeds and is used for cooking as well as in several skincare products.
What are the Benefits of Sacha Inchi?
Before you add these nutritious seeds to your diet, it is important to understand the Sacha Inchi benefits so that you can use it properly:
1. Promotes Weight Loss
Sacha Inchi has been proven to be wonderful for weight loss. Around 10gm Sacha Inchi offers 70 calories to your body but it is high in protein and therefore keeps you full and energetic for a prolonged period. It prevents hunger pangs and helps you maintain your diet properly.
Similarly, fibre from the seeds also keeps you full for a very long period during the day. Apart from that, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids help maintain a healthy balance of good fat in your system.
2. Controls Cholesterol Levels
Keeping your cholesterol levels in check is one of the major Sacha Inchi health benefits you will come across. Consuming around 10-15ml Sacha Inchi oil daily can keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check.
It balances the LDL (bad cholesterol) and the HDL(good cholesterol) in your blood. Regular consumption of Sacha Inchi oil can prevent inflammation as well. However, the level at which it controls your cholesterol will depend on your metabolic system.
3. Improves Gut Health
Studies on how Sacha Inchi improves gut health is limited. However, several animal studies have shown how Sacha Inchi can improve digestive health if consumed regularly for a long period.
A study showed how consumption of Sacha Inchi oil improved the gut health of rats after a few days. The seeds also contain a healthy amount of fibre. It helps in improving bowel movements by properly bulking up your stool. It also aids in preventing several conditions that are associated with inflammation/infection of the gut like diverticulitis and haemorrhoids.
These are some of the major benefits of Sacha Inchi. The use of this plant has increased a lot over the past few years at the global level.
Uses of Sacha Inchi in Your Diet
Here are some ways to use the plant and gain from the Sacha Inchi nutrition:
- The most common form of using Sacha Inchi is first roasting and then crushing the seeds into a powder. It can be added to your lunch or dinner as per your preference.
- If you want to avoid using the powder, you can enjoy the roasted nuts as an evening snack along with some almonds and walnuts.
- You can also add the seeds to your dinner salad and enjoy them with a bowl of soup before you go to bed.
- The leaves of the plant can also be used to make a healthy and flavourful herbal tea. Make sure you steep them in water for a few minutes before consumption.
- The Sacha Inchi oil can also be added to your salads and snacks. Many people often use it as cooking oil as well.
Potential Side Effects of Sacha Inchi
Sacha Inchi has recently come to the surface owing to the several beneficial nutrients it contains. However, before you include it in your diet, make sure you are aware of some of the potential side effects that it can have in the long run.
- A temporary effect of Sacha Inchi can be nausea for many people. However, with regular consumption, it goes away after some time. If you have recently added it to your diet, you may face nausea upon consuming it for the first few times.
- Make sure you are not allergic to the seeds, as some people can be. If you see any allergic reactions, immediately discontinue using it.
- Sacha Inchi seeds also contain certain antinutrients and alkaloids that are not good for your health. However, by over-roasting the seeds, the antinutrients and alkaloids can be reduced. Do not consume the raw powder and make sure the seeds are roasted before you make powder out of them.
- Sacha Inchi nutrition is recommended by many doctors and nutritionists. However, the antinutrients present in the seeds can potentially prevent the absorption rate of micronutrients in your system.
- When consumed in larger amounts, the alkaloids present in the seeds can even be lethal for your health.
Sacha Inchi seeds are highly nutritious and can provide several health advantages when consumed in moderation. The benefits of Sacha Inchi have been highlighted in contemporary times. They are extremely versatile and beneficial for our health.