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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Sacha Inchi Seeds

March 30th, 2010 · 9 Comments

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The rarest seeds and nuts are those that have a positive ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. Until this month I could find only two — the well-know flax seeds and the much less widely known chia seeds. I wrote about chia seeds here in 2007. None of my other articles here have garnered more comments that that article, testifying to the hunger that we have for news of healthy seeds and nuts.

And now I can bring you news of another seed that is every bit as good for us as flax and chia seeds — and tastes even better. It goes by the strange name “sacha inchi.” When my good friend and food scout called me from the local Whole Foods Market and told me of his discovery, I assumed that it came either from Russia — because of the “sacha” in the name or from East Asia, because “inchi” sounded vaguely Japanese or Korean to me. Instead sacha inchi seeds come from the Amazon rainforest, and the name may come from the language of the Chanka language of the Peruvian highlands.

The Contents of a Package of Roasted Sacha Inchi Seeds

Some people call it the Inca Peanut. Its scientific name is Plukenetia volubilis .

“Sacha Inchi has been called a super food because of its high content of essential fatty acids,” according to the Wikipedia article. “The oil has a mild flavour, not bitter, with a nutty finish.” The oil content of these seeds is 45.1 percent omega-3, 36.8 percent omega-6, and small amounts of oleic, palmitic, and stearic fatty acids.

A positive ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats provides many benefits for all of us especially for people with diabetes. I reviewed some of the evidence for how important it is for our heart health here in December .

A company called BrandStorm Inc. in Los Angeles imports the sacha inchi seeds and sells them under their TerrAmazon brand. They offer three varieties, two of which I can unreservedly recommend, Roasted Sacha Inchi and Tamari Sacha Inchi.

I mainly eat the “Sacha Inchi Roasted Seeds.” Most, but possibly not all, Whole Foods Markets sell three varieties of sacha inchi seeds.

Since roasting can damage sensitive oils like omega-3, that disturbed me until I spoke with Claire Bernole, the operations manager for BrandStorm. In fact, the only concern I had about this great product is the roasting, since omega-3 is sensitive to heat.

However, “they do keep most of their omegas during roasting,” Claire tells me, “because they are actually roasted at quite low temperature, 112 degree F.” Food cooked to that temperature is even acceptable to advocates of a raw food diet, who say that heating food to 114 or even 118 degrees doesn’t kill live enzymes.

The other variety that I like is the “Sacha Inchi Tamari.” Although the label doesn’t mention that it is roasted, Claire tells me that it is, because, “All sacha inchi seeds need to be roasted in order for humans to digest them.”

Each variety sells for $7.99 plus tax — not cheap for just three ounces, but worth every penny for these rare healthy and tasty seeds. I have also been able to get a case of 15 of them from Whole Foods at a 10 percent discount. The TerrAmazon.com website links a company that sells sacha inchi seeds online for $9.99 each, if you can’t find them locally.

This is not cheap, but I am old enough to remember listening to Jack Benny’s famous 1956 radio skit in which a mugger asked him, “Your money or your life .” Although in real life Jack was a generous man, his persona was that of a tightwad. He hesitated long to answer the question, saying, “I’m thinking it over! ” For me it isn’t a question

This is a mirror of one of my articles that Health Central published. You can navigate to that site to find my most recent articles.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet

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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Debbie // Apr 7, 2010 at 6:03 am

    Greetings!

    I was wondering if you would mind taking a minute to explain the difference of your recommendation of eating the sachi inchi seeds that have a 36.8% of omega-6 versus your discouragement of eating black walnuts that have (approximately) 25% omega-6 in your “Cutting Back on Omega-6″ article on March 23 (http://www.mendosa.com/blog/?p=682).

    I had been snacking on black walnuts that I soaked and roasted, so am now trying to understand this. It can be very confusing.

    Thank you so much :)
    Debbie

  • 2 David Mendosa // Apr 10, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Dear Debbie,

    I can understand your question. My recommendations are based on the proportions or ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. Walnuts have a lot more of the latter; sacha inchi seeds have more of the former.

    Best regards,

    David

  • 3 Kjersti // May 19, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Hi David -

    Thanks so much for your post. I just returned from an extended trip to Peru and, while there, attended a locally-grown food market in Lima. There, I purchased several packets of raw sacha inchi seeds.

    I find them difficult to swallow and rather unsavory this way and was combing the internet for information about how to roast them when I came across your blog.

    You mentioned that you spoke with someone who discussed roasting at a temperature of 112 degrees, but do you know for how long? And, do you know if they need to be soaked before roasting?

    Thanks again for your post and blog.

    Best,

    Kjersti

  • 4 David Mendosa // May 22, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Dear Kjersti,

    They didn’t tell me how long they roasted the sacha inchi seeds, but they did say, as you did, that unless they are roasted they are unpalatable. You might want to call the company, BrandStorm, in Los Angles directly.

    Best regards,

    David

  • 5 david hartley // Aug 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    dehydrating at 112 degrees (farenheit) is just below the threshold for most definitions of a RAW food (preserves all nutrients) .. it is not in any way “roasting” look up “raw food” and “dehydrating” .. mr. google knows all about it. <3

  • 6 carlos guerra // Apr 26, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Dear
    new product export:
    oil and snacks sacha inchi.
    Best Regards
    Carlos Guerra
    Incorporacion Internacional MAYRA EIRL
    Address: hualcan 1247 los olivos – lima – PERU
    tel 511 4853051

    Mobile: 511-968602619 / 511-997231802
    Email:
    cguerra184@hotmail.com
    incorintermayra@yahoo.es

    Extra Virgin Oil of Sacha Inchi. It contains a high concentration of fatty polyunsaturated acids, alpha linolenic acid (Omega 3: 49%) and linoleic acid (Omega 6: 32%). Contains no additives. The Sacha Inchi plant grows in the peruvian Amazon Forest, and produces small nuts that are extremely rich in high quality and nutritional vegetable oil. Sacha Inchi is a hermaphrodite plant with small flowers.
    -In the nutritional supplement industry for its high omegas content, this oil is the perfect supplement for people that do not eat fish or omega-rich vegetables enough.

    Cholesterol: Preventing blood clotting by keeping

    saturated fats mobile in the blood

    stream, which helps reducing the risk of coronary diseases.
    Hypertension: Reducing triglycerides levels and

    hypertension.
    Diabetes / Loss weight: Regulating sugar levels in the blood.
    Depresion / Mental health: Regulating nerval transmission and communication. Maintaining the fluidity and rigidity of cellular membranes.

    Artritis: Reducing arteries inflamation.

    Skin / Asthma / Ulcers / Migrane / Glaucoma / others: Controling the sympthomatology of bronquial asthma in kids. Acting as antioxidant agent. Regulating eyes pressure, joints and blood vessels conditions, and mediating immunological response. Transporting oxygen from red blood cells to the tissues. Maintaining proper kidney functioning and fluid balance.

  • 7 Verna Lewis // Jan 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    I am just learning about this seed. I make a smoothie every day. Can I blend it in my smoothie?

  • 8 David Mendosa // Jan 27, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Dear Verna,

    I think that’s a great idea!

    Namaste,

    David

  • 9 Verna // Jan 27, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you very much, David.

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