(NaturalNews) Inca peanut, otherwise known as sacha inchi, is a powerful superfood chock-full of omega-3s, protein and fiber. As an inflammation fighter, sacha inchi is extraordinary. The brain, bones and joints all benefit from the remarkable nutrition of this little known edible. These Amazonian nuts are also a formidable protector against cancer, heart disease and free-radicals.
The 3,000-year-old crop that nourished an empire
The ancient Incas of Peru were well acquainted with the nutritional force behind sacha inchi. Cultivated over 3,000 years ago, this revered plant was inscribed on Inca tombs. These warriors extracted the oil from the seeds for cooking, but also recognized the advantage of consuming the prepared leaves and roasted seeds. Exceptionally plentiful in beneficial fats (14 grams per ounce), unsaturated fatty acids (linoleum, linolenic), protein (nine grams per ounce) and vitamins A and E, sacha inchi was an important staple of the Incan diet. It is also a high-yield crop, producing an abundance of seeds per hectare.
Inflammation taming, brain boosting and bone strengthening food
As a unique vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, sacha inchi tames inflammation quickly. These fats are also easy to digest, unlike many fish oils. This means more of the inflammation crushing compounds, like resolvins and protectins, are absorbed and utilized by the body. Since inflammation is the root of most disease, it is important to keep it in check. Health benefits of sacha inchi include:
A better brain - Research has shown that a deficiency of omega-3s can trigger mental illness, depression and lack of clarity. But when omega-3s are added to the diet, these issues are reversed. When inflammation is reduced in the brain, mood and mental health improves. An Italian study found that participants who consumed omega-3s for just one month reported a sharper mind, elevated mood, increased focus and improved complex information processing. Sacha inchi is also an abundant source of tryptophan, an important feel-good neurotransmitter.
Healthier bones - Omega-3s help the body to efficiently absorb calcium. In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a study of 1,500 men and women found that those who consumed the highest amounts of omega-3s also had the highest bone density and bone mineral levels. Specific bone-building hormones and biochemicals were elevated as well.
Protection against cancer - When adequate levels of omega-3s are found in the diet, cancer risk is reduced. In human clinical trials, omega-3s were shown to protect breast and prostate cells from mutation. For those who added omega-3s to their diet, biochemical protectors increased an impressive 40 percent compared to those who did not supplement.
Brain and bone health along with cancer protection aren't the only benefits of sacha inchi nuts. This superfood also:
- Eases joint pain
- Prevents premature aging
- Supports balanced glucose levels
- Improves vision and eye health
- Encourages healthy skin and hair
- Promotes cardiovascular well-being
- Curbs free radical damage
An exceptional source of nourishment, sacha inchi helped to keep the ancient Incan civilization strong, healthy and balanced. And now, modern warriors who desire a clear mind, fit body and ageless glow can reap the powerful benefits of this extraordinary food as well.
Sources for this article include:
"Have you heard about this superfood? Health Benefits of sacha inchi nuts and oil" Kevin Gianni, Renegade Health, August 6, 2012. Retrieved on December 4, 2012 from: http://renegadehealth.com
"Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubilis, Euphorbiaceae): A Promising Oilseed Crop from Peruvian Amazon" Blanka Krivankova, Zbynek Polesny, Bohdan Lojka, Jana Lojkova, Jan Banout, Daniel Preininger, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Institute of Tropics and Subtropics, Czech Republic. Retrieved on December 4, 2012 from: http://www.tropentag.de/2007/abstracts/links/Krivankova_NnQmCSMU.pdf
"Resolvins: Current understanding and future potential in the control of inflammation" Bannenberg GL, Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia/CSIC, Department of Plant Molecular Genetics, Universidad Autonoma, Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain, September 2009. Retrieved on December 4, 2012 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19736623
"Resolvins and protectins: novel lipid mediators in anti-inflammation and resolution" Charles N. Serhan, Food & Nutrition Research. Retrieved on December 4, 2012 from: http://www.foodandnutritionresearch.net
About the author: Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.