Sacha Inchi Protein Benefits
Sacha inchi produces a small, peanut-like seed that is extremely high in protein and other beneficial nutrients. Recently hailed a superfood, sacha inchi is full of healthful properties, and has become increasingly popular as a source of protein on a plant-based diet.
Sacha inchi is also often included as an ingredient in plant-based protein powders and smoothies. However, this little nut is less well-known than other crops, such as quinoa or acai, that have seen renewed interest from advocates of plant-based living. So what exactly is sacha inchi, and why is it so good for you? Read on to find out!
What is Sacha Inchi?
Sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis) is also sometimes known as Sacha peanut, mountain peanut, or Inca nut. This plant is native to South America and has been cultivated by indigenous peoples for hundreds of years. Sacha inchi nuts are harvested from small, star-shaped pods.
The nuts are toxic in their raw form, so they must first be roasted before eating. Sacha inchi is high in protein and essential fatty acids, and has a mild, nutty, umami-packed flavor.
The nuts can be consumed on their own as a snack, added to salads and other dishes, or processed into an edible seed oil or protein powder. Today, sacha inchi is grown throughout South America and Southeast Asia. It’s a popular source of plant-based protein for those who are looking to avoid animal-based products like meat, dairy, and eggs in their diet.
What is Sacha Inchi Protein?
Sacha inchi is naturally extremely high in protein. Which sacha inchi can be consumed in a variety of different ways, these nutrient-dense nuts care often processed into a protein powder that provides a sustainable, plant-based source of protein containing all nine essential amino acids.
Whether you’re trying to include more protein in your diet or just want to reap the many benefits of sacha inchi, Sacha inchi-based protein powder is a great way to consume this superfood. As an added bonus, sacha inchi protein is grain-free, gluten-free, and soy-free, making it suitable for people who are trying to incorporate a plant-based diet along with other food sensitivities.
Sacha inchi protein powder can be added to smoothies, shakes, and other dishes for an added boost of protein.
Benefits of Sacha Inchi
For such a little nut, sacha inchi is incredibly nutritious. Here are a few of the many benefits of this powerful plant-based ingredient:
1. High in Protein
One of the main benefits of sacha inchi is that is is extremely high in protein. Protein is important in a wide range of bodily functions, from building muscle to repairing tissue to regulating hormones.
Especially for those starting out on a plant-based diet, it’s important to find tasty, sustainable sources of plant-based protein to replace the protein typically supplied by animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy. Sacha inchi is a great source of protein, whether you consume it as a nut, a protein powder, or add it to other dishes.
2. High in Essential Fatty Acids
Sacha inchi is also high in fatty acids, including omega-3 fatty acid, omega-6 fatty acids, and omega-9 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can’t be produced by the body and must be consumed through your diet. They have a variety of important functions in the body, including improving hearth health, fighting inflammation, and improving mental health. Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential to the body, and can help to reduce chronic disease.
Omega-9 fatty acids aren’t “essential” fatty acids, but they’re still a great addition to a healthy diet. They can help to decrease inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity. Since sacha inchi includes all three, it’s a great source of fatty acids on a plant-based diet.
3. A Good Source of “Complete” Protein
Unlike some other sources of plant-based protein, sacha inchi contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a “complete” protein. While most animal-based sources of protein are also “complete” proteins, many plant-based sources of protein contain only some of the essential amino acids.
This means that it’s important to consume a wide range of different protein sources on a plant-based diet. Luckily, sacha inchi is a great replacement for animal protein and makes getting all the nutrients you need on a plant-based diet a no-brainer.
Sacha inchi is a more sustainable source of protein when compared to other typical sources of protein like meat or dairy. In general, plant-based proteins tend to contribute to less environmental pollution and are able to be sustainably farmed in their natural ecosystem. In South America, Sacha Inchi has been cultivated by indigenous peoples for hundreds of years.
It can grow in forested areas, so producing sacha inchi as a crop can help to encourage reforestation and protect the rain forest.
5. May Protect Against Cardiovascular Diseases
Studies have shown that sacha inchi may be able to protect against cardiovascular disease. This is because of its high essential fatty acid content. Sacha inchi has a similar essential fatty acid profile to flaxseed oil, another plant that is commonly touted as a “superfood.”
6. May Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
According to a recent study, consuming sacha inchi oil may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure and cholesterol. Participants who consumed sacha inchi oil for four months were observed to have lower levels of “bad” cholesterol and lower arterial blood pressure. In addition, participants had higher levels of healthy “good cholesterol.
7. Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Sacha inchi can help to improve insulin sensitivity. In particular, sacha inchi has been shown to help with insulin sensitivity after consuming a meal high in saturated fat. This means that after you consume a heavy meal, sacha inchi can help you to digest your food and absorb important nutrients after eating.
8. Contains Vitamin A and Vitamin E
Sacha inchi is also high in Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Vitamin A has a wealth of important benefits, including protecting your eyesight, strengthening your bones, and promoting healthy growth and reproduction. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect cells from harmful free radicals, boost the immune system, and ward off degenerative disease.
Because it contains these beneficial nutrients, sacha inchi is a great source of protein on a plant-based diet that can help to facilitate overall health.
9. Contains Neuroprotective Properties
Sacha inchi can boost your brainpower! It contains neuroprotective properties that can help to reduce the brain’s vulnerability to acute injuries such as strokes and spinal cord injuries. Sacha inchi has also been shown to improve mental health, and may help to reduce the symptoms of depression.
While studies concerning the mental benefits of this unique ingredient are still ongoing, it’s safe to say that this powerful little nut is great for your brain.
10. Can Help Fill You Up
Because it is so high in both protein and beneficial fatty acids, sacha inchi can go a long way towards inducing satiety - a fancy way of saying that fills you up quickly and satisfies your hunger.
Especially for those on a plant-based diet, it can be challenging at first to capture the kind of “full” feeling often experienced on a typical Western diet. Many plant-based ingredients are less dense than their animal-based counterparts, and you may have trouble regulating your hunger or knowing how much to eat each sitting. Sacha inchi can help to fill you up and make sure that you’re not still craving snacks even after you’ve finished a plant-based meal.
11. Reduces Inflammation
Sacha inchi contains essential fatty acids that can help to reduce inflammation and soothe pain. Inflammation is a sign that the body is fighting off injury or illness. While inflammation is a normal defense mechanism within the body, prolonged or chronic inflammation can cause health issues such as arthritic. Sacha inchi can help to reduce inflammation and ease pain caused by chronic inflammatory conditions.
Why Sacha Inchi is a Great Addition to a Plant-Based Lifestyle
If you’re looking for a great source of protein on a plant-based diet, look no further than sacha inchi! Unlike many other types of plant-based protein, sacha inchi is a “complete” protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids, just like animal-based sources of protein.
Sacha inchi is tasty, sustainable, and can be consumed on its own as a nutritious snack, as a seed oil, or as a protein powder added to smoothies and shakes.
Besides its high protein content, sacha inchi also has a wealth of other health benefits. It is high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E, and can help to boost muscle growth, protect your brain, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Sacha inchi is also better for the environment than many other sources of protein, and can help to encourage sustainable reforestation. With all of these benefits and more, sacha inchi is a great addition to a plant-based diet!
Adopting a Plant-Based Lifestyle
Adopting a plant-based lifestyle can seem challenging at first, especially if you’re used to eating animal-based products like meat, dairy, and eggs. It can be intimidating to know how to include a healthy balance of different foods, and tough to stick to a new and unfamiliar diet that your body and brain aren’t yet used to. With so much talk of “superfoods” and specialty ingredients, it can seem like you may need hundreds of dollars (and maybe even a degree in nutrition!) just to get started.
Luckily, plant-based eating doesn’t have to be complicated. Just make sure you eat a balanced mix of plant-based ingredients, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans and legumes. You probably have a variety of plant-based ingredients already in your fridge and pantry. There are many plant-based twists on delicious, satisfying comfort foods, and you can sub in plant-based proteins in place of animal products in most recipes.
Plant-based eating isn’t just another fad diet - it’s a healthy, sustainable way of eating that forgoes animal products in favor of nutrient-rich and nourishing plant-based foods. While animal-based ingredients and processed foods are often calorically dense, they can represent “empty” calories and lack the many vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients present in whole, plant-based foods.
Plant-based eating emphasizes nutritious whole foods that provide your body with everything it needs to function. When you first start out on a plant-based diet, it’s a good idea to listen to your body and be patient with yourself. While it may take a few days for you to feel comfortable with the transition, you’ll soon be reaping the many health benefits that come with plant-based living.
Other Benefits of a Plant-Based Lifestyle
Plant-based eating is associated with many health benefits. Adopting a plant-based diet can help to boost mental health, increase energy, and ward off diseases like cancer and diabetes. Plant-based eating is also a great way to incorporate variety into your diet and to consume a beneficial array of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and other ingredients, each of which contain a wealth of beneficial properties. Sticking to plant-based whole foods can also help avoid health issues that come with eating potentially harmful ingredients like red meat and processed foods.
In addition to the many health benefits associated with plant-based living, there are also a variety of other benefits. Plant-based eating is often significantly cheaper than eating animal products, which can make it easier to fit into your budget. Even if you occasionally splurge on plant-based treats and specialty ingredients, chances are you’ll probably still end up saving money in the long run.
Plant-based eating also tends to be better for the environment than eating animal-based products, with a much smaller carbon footprint than meat or dairy. With all of these benefits and more, plant-based living is a great choice for a healthy, sustainable diet. Whether you’re interested in a plant-based diet for health reasons, to save money, to prevent animal cruelty, or protect the environment, it’s never a bad idea to eat more plants and fewer animals!