Historians believe that the sacha inchi plant (which produces the seeds we know as Inca peanuts) has been used by the natives of Peru for over 3,000 years. Images of the sacha inchi plant in Incan tombs are thought to be proof of this long-ago cultivation. The seeds are shelled and eaten raw, roasted, with sugar on top, or as an oil in traditional recipes. It’s also used as a cosmetic facial cream in some areas.
For those of us who live far from the Andes, Inca peanuts remain elusive. It can be hard to find them and the high cost of special ordering deters a lot of people so don’t be afraid to start off with a small order. Hopefully, availability will increase as time goes on and more people show an interest in the new health food- although there’s really nothing new about a centuries-old Amazonian plant.
SaviSeed, a fair trade and organically certified Inca peanut company, claims that Inca peanut crops encourage the reforestation of the Amazon. The SaviSeed homepage says, “SaviSeed crops aid in returning previously cleared land of the Amazon rainforest to its native state while supporting the economy for rural farmers.” A yummy, healthy snack that encourages weight loss and sustainability? Sign me up for a box!
Inca peanut health claims include the ability to lower blood pressure, improve depression and increase calcium absorption, among many others. In addition to providing large amounts of Vitamin E, the extraordinary nutritional profile of Inca peanuts includes the following, per one ounce serving:
Omega 3 – 7000mg
Protein – 8 grams
Tryptophan – 29mg
Fiber – 5 grams
It’s no wonder that Dr. Oz claims Inca peanuts are one of the best weight loss snacks around. Loaded with fiber and other nutrients, Inca peanuts satiate hunger, provide healthy fats and are easy to digest. To fully benefit from the ancient nutritional secret of Inca peanuts, Dr. Oz recommends eating one ounce, daily. They are said to be crunchy and have a slightly nutty taste.
Have you tried Inca peanuts? Are they all they are cracked up to be?
image via incapeanuts.wordpress.com
May 11th, 2011