Deep within the highlands of Peru, what may be the healthiest plant oil ever has been hiding for millennia. Sacha inchi – also known as the Inca peanut – is a fruit that contains a little, nutty-flavored seed boasting a wealth of health benefits.
Sacha inchi has been used as a food source in the Amazon for 3,000 years: rich in protein, omega-3, 6, and 9, vitamin E, carotenoids, and fiber, these little seeds are the perfect addition to any diet, particularly a plant-based one. Sacha inchi joins chia, flax, and micro algae as one of the best vegan omega-3 sources out there.
While you can absolutely eat the seeds, sacha inchi oil is an excellent way to reap these benefits, particularly given the high antioxidant content of the seeds themselves – 1500 parts per million, or three times what you’ll find in an extra-virgin olive oil. This means that when the oil is pressed, these antioxidants help keep the omega-3 in the seeds from becoming rancid. The resulting oil is shelf-stable for up to a year and a half, unlike many other oil sources of omega-3.
Sacha inchi oil is also very pleasant in flavor and doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste that flaxseed and fish oils can sometimes have, which may be why artisan oil company La Tourangelle has decided to market it.
Image care of La Tourangelle
Matthieu Kohlmeyer, the Founder & CEO of La Tourangelle, travelled to the Amazon rainforest after learning about sacha inchi seed’s outstanding health properties to discover the ancient seed.
The result of his travels was a new product: La Tourangelle's Amazonian Nutriblend Oil, which combines 40 percent organic sacha inchi seed oil, organic high-oleic sunflower oil, organic refined coconut oil, and organic sesame oil. The oil contains 16.5 mg of vitamin E and 2.7 grams of omega-3 – more than 50 percent of your recommended intake – per tablespoon.
La Tourangelle made the decision to market sacha inchi oil as a blend to allow people to cook with this low-smoke point oil. While pure sacha inchi can't withstand high heat, in this blend, it can be used for sautéing at medium to high temperatures.
“It’s basically a supplement that can be used in cooking, so you kind of get the best of both worlds,” says Kohlmeyer. "You get the supplement without having the pain of eating something that doesn’t taste good.”
Of course, it’s also great raw, and its nutty flavor makes it a great oil for salad dressings or even in smoothies for an extra boost of omega 3.
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