sacha inchiSacha inchi is a plant native to the Amazon rainforest in Peru. It is characterized by its star-shaped, green leaves, towering height (it can often reach two meters or higher), white flowers and edible seeds. These seeds, which look like brown nuts and are also called sacha peanuts, Inca peanuts or mountain peanuts, have been cultivated by Peru’s indigenous population for centuries, although they are just as likely to be used in oil production today.

Weight loss properties

According to a study published in a 2011 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, sacha inchi seeds contain unusually high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that plays a role in the production of serotonin (which, in turn, regulates appetite). This fact, coupled with the seeds’ high fiber content, makes them an effective appetite suppressant and weight loss aid.

Rich in protein

Sacha inchi seeds are comprised of approximately 27 percent protein (including all eight essential amino acids), making them comparable to other high-protein seeds like chia seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Protein, of course, is vital for cell growth and healing, transporting nutrients around the body, regulating and maintaining fluid balance, maintaining the immune system and many other roles.

Antioxidant activity

Sacha inchi seeds and their oil contain vitamins A and E, which are antioxidants that can neutralize the cell-damaging effects of free radicals. If left unchecked, free radical damage can lead to cancer and other degenerative diseases, such as macular degeneration, cystic fibrosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Antioxidant-rich foods like sacha inchi, however, guard us against these diseases and also provide a host of other benefits such as improved skin and hair.

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Photo credit: tonrulkens / / CC BY-SA