Ask EN

July 2017 Issue




A Look at A2 Milk and Sacha Inchi Seeds

Sacha Inchi Seeds

Boonchuay Iamsumang | Dreamstime.com

Sacha inchi seeds

Q: What are the benefits of drinking A2 milk?

A: Many people complain of digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea, associated with consuming dairy products, including milk. This intolerance is usually blamed on lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk. There are people, however, who still suffer gastro-intestinal issues even when consuming lactose-free milk. So, lactose may not be to blame for everyone. In addition to sugar, cow’s milk is a source of protein, particularly casein. The casein can be either in the form of A1 or A2. Some cow breeds, like Jersey and Guernsey cows, produce A2 milk, whereas milk from Holsteins is mostly A1. Breast milk, interestingly, is a source of A2 casein. Researchers have hypothesized those who suffer bloating from cow’s milk may not be experiencing lactose intolerance but a reaction to the A1 casein, which is a common form of milk in the U.S. If this is the case, then drinking A2 milk (now available in supermarkets) will mitigate those symptoms. In many, but not all, cases it does. The scientific evidence is not yet strong enough to be convincing, but it is promising. A2 milk tastes the same, is safe, and may offer relief for those who have problems with milk.

Sharon Salomon, MS, RD

Q: Are sacha inchi seeds a healthful food to include in my diet?

A: A newcomer to the North American food scene, sacha inchi seeds (also called mountain peanut or Inca peanut seeds) are native to South America, and have been part of their food heritage for generations. These seeds are the product of the Plukenetia volubilis vine, which thrives in tropical regions. The fruit of the vine are star-shaped capsules with four to seven points. Each point contains a prize: the seed, which is only edible after roasting. Sacha inchi seeds are rising in production, driven by a campaign to promote it as a cash crop.

Sacha inchi seeds pack a powerful punch of protein, about nine grams per ounce, and include all nine essential amino acids. The seeds are also high in oil, which is rich in alpha linolenic omega-3 fatty acids, as well as omega-6 and and non-essential omega-9 fatty acids. Very small studies, including an open pilot study and a randomized controlled trial, have shown positive health effects, such as elevating HDL (“good”) cholesterol, but larger studies are needed.

Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN