What is Sacha Inchi Oil?
Updated: Apr 16
Everyone's talking about the health benefits of Sacha Inchi.
Plukenetia Volubilis, known as Sacha Inchi, is a plant found in the Peruvian regions of the Amazon Rainforest. It's also known as the “Inca peanut” and “Wild peanut”. The Sacha Inchi plant produces a fruit with large, edible seeds.
Sacha Inchi has gained credibility as a superfood in the last few years, due to a number of research studies demonstrating a range of nutritional benefits.
What nutrients does Sachi Inchi contain?
The seeds of the Sachi Inchi fruit are high in fibre, protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids (healthy fats). The fruit has numerous phytochemical and antioxidant properties that offer additional health benefits.
Due to Sacha Inchi's omega-3 fatty acid profile, when it is cold pressed into an oil, it offers a vegan alternative to fish oil.
What is Sacha Inchi Oil good for?
Omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of the diet to support the health of your cells and reduce inflammation. They also have cardioprotective and immune-modulating effects. Research studies have associated these health benefits with the consumption of Sacha Inchi. (i)
Eating the recommended intake of healthy fats can support maintenance of a healthy weight as it can slow the emptying of your stomach and therefore make you feel full for longer.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, Sacha Inchi oil is high in Vitamin E. Due to its antioxidant profile and the range of polyphenols it offers (ii), Sacha Inchi is also considered to be neuroprotective and to offer dermatological benefits. (iii)
Is Sacha Inchi safe and are there any side effects?
The seeds of the Sacha Inchi plant should not be consumed raw. They have been shown to cause mild to severe toxicity to humans in their raw state. This is due to their phytotoxic properties. The concentration of phytotoxins is significantly reduced when the seeds are processed with heat so they are generally only eaten after being roasted.
In the Amazon region, traditionally the seeds are roasted and leaves are cooked and consumed as part of the routine diet. (iiii)
Is Sacha Inchi Oil good for hair?
Many Sacha Inchi oil product manufacturers claim that it can be used to nourish the scalp, promote hair growth and prevent split ends. I couldn't find a research article to support this claim however there was one demonstrating the moisturising benefits to the skin. It has also been traditionally used as a skincare treatment by Peruvians, to soften skin, heal wounds, treat insect bites and skin infections. (iv)
The high levels of linolenic acid in Sacha Inchi make it a lightweight oil that appears to quickly penetrate the outer skin layers. A lightweight oil leaves a less greasy residue so is generally preferable for cosmetic purposes than oils that leave thick coatings.
I haven't tried it in my hair as of yet, but plan to give it a go.
What Sacha Inchi oil is best?
As with all oils, cold pressed is always the best option as it doesn't go through rigorous processing that can strip the product of much of its nutritional benefits.
Look for an oil from a reputable company that is minimally processed, without the use of harsh chemicals, and is free from pesticides. This is the Sacha Inchi oil I have in my pantry. It's cold pressed, certified organic and from a brand I trust.
I might consider putting a bottle in the bathroom cabinet too. Watch this space!
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