Sacha Inchi Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Sacha inchi nutrition facts

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis) is a perennial plant that produces large, edible seeds. It is rich in nutrients like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, and antioxidants. It’s native to parts of South America like Peru and the Caribbean. Sacha inchi is sometimes referred to as Sacha peanut, jungle peanut, or Inca peanut.

Like flaxseed oil, sacha inchi is a potent source of fatty acids. It is especially high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants, and linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid.

Sacha inchi seeds should be roasted before they are consumed. The roasted ground seeds may be used in food products like protein powders and cereals. The seeds can also be pressed for their oils, which are then used for cooking or adding to dietary supplements.

Sacha Inchi Nutrition Facts

Sacha inchi is often available in powdered form or whole roasted seeds. It’s also commonly used in protein powders and "superfood" powders. The following nutrition information for a 10-gram serving of sacha inchi seeds is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 70
  • Fat: 5g
  • Sodium: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 3g


Carbs

Sacha inchi is a low-carbohydrate seed. The carbohydrate content is mainly made up of fiber with little to no sugars.

Fats

Of the macronutrients, sacha inchi contains mostly fat. It also has a remarkable quantity of linolenic acid, making it a great source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.

Protein

Seeds like sacha inchi tend to be a notable source of good fats, but they also offer some protein. Because sacha inchi contains an adequate amount of protein per serving, it is easy to see why the powdered seed is often included in protein powders.

Vitamins and Minerals

Sacha inchi contains a small amount of minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. It is also a noteworthy source of vitamin E and other antioxidants.

Calories

Seeds tend to be calorie dense foods, and sacha inchi is no exception. Like most sources of good fats, the calories in sacha inchi add up quickly, which is why it’s usually consumed in smaller quantities.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of sacha inchi seeds are largely due to its richness in good-for-you fats. It may help improve a number of markers associated with chronic diseases.

May Improve Lipid Profiles

Sacha inchi can be used in whole, powdered, or oil forms. Sacha inchi oil may have beneficial effects on the lipid profiles of patients with hypercholesterolemia (aka high cholesterol). When taken orally, sacha inchi oil may reduce total cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol.

It can also have beneficial effects on the lipid profiles of patients with dyslipidemia, a condition characterized by an imbalance of lipids in the blood. However, further research is needed to confirm the link between sacha inchi and blood lipid improvements in dyslipidemia patients.

May Lower Blood Pressure

There is a lot of research that supports the ability of sacha inchi to lower “bad” cholesterol and raise “good” cholesterol levels. Research also suggests that sacha inchi may help to lower blood pressure.

Maintaining healthy blood pressure is important for reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Those with high blood pressure may be four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease. Those with high blood pressure may find relief with sacha inchi seeds or products.

May Have Anti-Tumor Potential

Sacha inchi may have antitumor activity, but there is little information on how it prevents tumors. Some animal studies show promising results. Sacha inchi may protect against tumor induction after exposure to carcinogens. The antitumor properties of sacha inchi may be related to the high content of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which may have its own antitumor activity.

May Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation in the body is associated with diseases like stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disorders. Chronic inflammatory diseases are a significant cause of death.

Sacha inchi may have anti-inflammatory effects. The high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in sacha inchi oil may improve inflammation and lipid levels and prevent cardiovascular disease.

May Help Against Protein-Calorie Malnutrition

In many developing nations, malnutrition is a public health crisis. Some nations are moving away from animal protein and towards plant protein.

Soy protein is of interest, and researchers are also looking at sacha inchi as a protein source. Sacha inchi flour shows similar effects to soybean flour and does not present serious side effects, making it a suitable protein source.

Allergies

Sacha inchi is not a common allergen. It often goes by names that include the word “peanut.” However, sacha inchi seeds are not related to peanuts at all. Those who have allergies to nuts can safely consume sacha inchi as long as they are not processed in a facility with other nuts.

It is important to note that sacha inchi is a seed and seed allergies are becoming increasingly common due to their allergy-causing proteins, but the amount of people with seed allergies is unknown. Therefore, sacha inchi may trigger allergies in some.

If you suspect you may have an allergy to seeds including sacha inchi, talk to a healthcare provider about your symptoms. They can do testing and help determine what is causing your reaction.

Adverse Effects

For safety purposes, sacha inchi seeds should be roasted before consumption. Raw sacha inchi seeds are toxic and may have potential health risks including death or injury.

Raw sacha inchi seeds contain phytotoxins, including antinutrients, and alkaloids. Antinutrients can hinder the absorption of micronutrients while alkaloids can be lethal, especially if consumed in large amounts.

However, toxicity levels can be reduced by heating them, making them safe to eat. To avoid the toxic effects, cook sacha inchi seeds before consuming them.

Recipes

Healthy Sacha Inchi Recipes to Try

Sacha inchi can be used in most recipes that call for other types of seeds. Just be sure to roast them first.

Was this page helpful?
13 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. USDA, FoodData Central. Sacha inchi seeds.

  2. Goyal A, Tanwar B, Kumar Sihag M, Sharma V. Sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.): An emerging source of nutrients, omega-3 fatty acid and phytochemicals. Food Chem. 2022;373(Pt B):131459. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.131459

  3. Garmendia F, Pando R, Ronceros G. [Effect of sacha inchi oil (plukenetia volúbilis l) on the lipid profile of patients with hyperlipoproteinemia]. Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Publica. 2011;28(4):628-632. PMID: 22241259

  4. Gonzales GF, Gonzales C. A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study on acceptability, safety and efficacy of oral administration of sacha inchi oil (Plukenetia volubilis L.) in adult human subjects. Food Chem Toxicol. 2014;65:168-176. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2013.12.039

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Getting blood pressure under control.

  6. Cárdenas DM, Gómez Rave LJ, Soto JA. Biological activity of sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis Linneo) and potential uses in human health: A review. Food Technol Biotechnol. 2021;59(3):253-266. doi:10.17113/ftb.59.03.21.6683

  7. Xu MQ, Hao YL, Wang JR, et al. Antitumor activity of α-linolenic acid-paclitaxel conjugate nanoparticles: In vitro and in vivo. Int J Nanomedicine. 2021;16:7269-7281. Published 2021 Oct 27. doi:10.2147/IJN.S331578

  8. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Chronic inflammation. PMID:29630225

  9. Alayón AN, Ortega Ávila JG, Echeverri Jiménez I. Metabolic status is related to the effects of adding of sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.) oil on postprandial inflammation and lipid profile: Randomized, crossover clinical trial. J Food Biochem. 2019;43(2):e12703. doi:10.1111/jfbc.12703

  10. Gonzales GF, Tello J, Zevallos-Concha A, Baquerizo L, Caballero L. Nitrogen balance after a single oral consumption of sacha inchi (Plukenetia volúbilis L.) protein compared to soy protein: a randomized study in humans. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2018;28(2):140-147. doi:10.1080/15376516.2017.1373880

  11. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Sacha inchi allergy.

  12. Food Allergy Research & Education. Other food allergies.

  13. Srichamnong W, Ting P, Pitchakarn P, Nuchuchua O, Temviriyanukul P. Safety assessment of Plukenetia volubilis (Inca peanut) seeds, leaves, and their products. Food Sci Nutr. 2018;6(4):962-969. Published 2018 Apr 2. doi:10.1002/fsn3.633

Additional Reading