Inca Inchi - SuperFood - Go Magazine Feb 2013

Inca InchiFor more than 3000 years the inca inchi nut has grown wild in the Amazon. Nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara discovers the hidden health secrets of this Peruvian superfood.


The inca inchi plant is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest and produces small nuts that are extremely rich in high quality, nutritious oils and protein powders. Women of the Incan tribes relied on this nut for its unique health benefits. It is called inca inchi, meaning “almond of the Inca”.

Inca inchi is also known as sacha inchi and is unique due to the fact it contains a rich smorgasbord of essential and non-essential amino acids, omega fatty acids plus vitamins and minerals.


The Peruvian government started to promote the industrialisation of inca inchi seeds as an alternative for farmers to stop cultivating coca, which is one of the main ingredients for the production of cocaine. Today, the local people benefit economically from the harvest of this nut.

Inca inchi protein powder

Inca inchi/sacha inchi protein powder is made from the nut that has been cold pressed to remove the oil (inca inchi oil). The dried nut powder contains one of the most highly digestible, low-irritant, high quality proteins available, no wonder it has become one of nature’s superfoods! The protein powder is over 60 per cent complete protein, and rich in omega fatty acids, important to help improve joint health and muscle recovery. In addition, the protein powder contains high levels of vitamin A and calcium, good to help support your bones, teeth and eyes. All this, in one natural product that is not subject to high temperature processing, preservative addition or chemical alteration – it is simply an all-natural food.

It has a diverse appeal and can be used by:

-          Vegans that need the plant protein

-          Individuals on gluten-free diets

-          Active families to supplement their daily diet

-          Gym goers and body builders to replace chemical based whey proteins

-          Children who are fussy eaters – you can sprinkle the inca inchi powder on salads, add to smoothies, or over the top of vegies – they will love the nutty taste!


Inca inchi oil

Inca inchi oil is cold pressed from the inca inchi seed, it has a beautiful taste and is used as a food in salad dressings, smoothies, raw food slices and cakes.  I would recommend that you don’t heat inca inchi oil but reserve this oil for spreads and dips etc.
If you are looking for a plant based alternative to fish oil, this is an interesting oil to consider because the oil from the inca inchi seed consists of 45 per cent alpha linolenic acid and 39 per cent linoleic acid. These fats are the precursors of the better known EPA and DHA fatty acids.  That means that almost 85 per cent of inca inchi oil is what the body requires to make the healthy omega fatty acids. It also has a quantity of plant based saturated fat which has anti-microbial, antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties. 


Food should be our medicine.  Sustainable, clean, unadulterated food should be the aim of what we seek out in the market place.  Inca inchi protein powder and oil both have these qualities so I would encourage you to give them a try!


Chocolate Chia Bars

1 ½ cups fresh pitted dates

¼ cup raw cocoa powder

1/8 cup inca inchi powder
¼ cup chia seeds
½ tsp natural vanilla essence
1 cup crushed almonds

  1. Place dates in food processor, puree until it forms a thick paste.
  2. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds and vanilla extract, pulse until combined.
  3. Add almonds, pulse until nuts finely chopped and well mixed.
  4. Spread large piece of wax paper on work surface, transfer mix to paper and use to press mix into a half inch thick rectangle.
  5. Wrap tightly and chill overnight.
  6. Unwrap block and cut into 8 bars, wrap individually.

Cyndi O’Meara is a nutritionist, international speaker, best selling author, TV and radio presenter.


This article originally featured in Go Magazine Feb 2013 produced by Go Vita


- Print