Maca is a Peruvian root plant that grows under very harsh conditions where most plants would not thrive. The powder is produced by air drying the maca roots and then milled or grinded.
Maca powder is packed with vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients and is wonderful for increased energy and libido, and general good health.
Maca has what most people would describe as an acquired taste, and it takes time for the palate to adjust to it. However when take with other foods, the taste is not as strong and is curbed by the flavour from the other foods.
The Origins of Maca
Maca has been used since the ancient times with legend tales of Inca warriors taking maca before battle to sharpen their fighting skills.
When Spaniards conquered the Incas, they took the root with them to Spain but after that, its use seemed to disappear. The root’s properties were rediscovered in the mid twentieth century, and today, the food is a favourite with professional athletes and others looking to increase their energy.
The nutrient composition of Maca
- Plant protein
- All essential amino acids
- Fatty acids
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C
- The minerals: Phosphorous, calcium, zinc, sodium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium, boron.
- Sterols such as beta-sitosterol and Campesterol
How to use Maca powder
Blend two to three teaspoons of maca powder with your favourite smoothie until smooth.
Stir two teaspoons of maca powder into a glass of milk to make a nutrient packed drink.
Mix two teaspoons of maca powder with oatmeal and honey to taste for a maca powder.
Sprinkle maca powder onto energy balls such as macaroons and brownies.
Sprinkle the powder to your cold or hot breakfast for a more energy filled way to start the day.
The health benefits of Maca powder
Increased fertility and libido
Maca has been used since ancient times to increase sexual libido. In both men and women, consumption of the root or powder has been shown to increase sexual drive. Maca has an effect on serotonin levels of the body, which in turn affect libido.
The root has also been linked to increased sperm count in men meaning more success for then in rates of conception.
It also increases sperm motility, which is the rate of activity vs. energy production, resulting in higher pregnancy rates.
Boosts your immune system
Maca contains very high levels of protein, which helps in tissue repair and ensuring that your body’s immunity is high.
In addition to boosting sexual drive in women, maca:
Relieves menopause symptoms because of its phytochemical contents and nutrient. It relieves symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, depression and lack of sleep. It balances the hormones in the body which occurs during menopause.
It alleviates menstrual issues such as cramps, anxiety and mood swings. Maca is a hormone stabilizer and it encourages the adrenal glands to diminish hormones from thyroid gland and the pancreas.
In some cases maca has been known to regulate menstrual cycles in women.
Helps women with polycystic ovary syndrome by balancing the amount of oestrogen and progesterone produced.
Maca provides an energy boost in your body without the negative effects like lack of sleep, that boosters like coffee have.
The energy is able to be produced due to the high levels of mineral, vitamins and proteins. Maca fights off chronic fatigue and increases physical and mental abilities.
Good and healthy skin
Maca enhances the tone of the skin by increasing the production of collagen, which is the main component of connective tissue in the skin.
It also helps to treat acne, which is associated with an imbalance of hormones in the body.
Maca also decreases your skin’s sensitivity to hot or cold weather making you to better withstand extremes of weather without causing adverse effects on your skin.
Metal clarity and focus
Maca is reported to increase mental clarity and help you to better focus. The fatty acids in the root increase brain function by increasing analytical skills and rational thinking.
Reduction of anaemia
One of the properties of maca is that it improves circulation of blood in the body, thereby reducing anaemia and also the time wounds take to heal.
Strong teeth and bones
Maca improves bone density, which naturally decreases as you age. It is a rich source of calcium which is important for healthy teeth and bones.
Maca normalizes the endocrine system and encourages the secretion of oestrogen, thus ensuring strong bones.
If you have a history of osteoporosis or are simply looking to ensure that your bones remain strong, then incorporate maca powder into your diet, which could simply be sprinkling the powder into your salads or breakfast.
Maca has gained popularity with athletes and other people looking for ways to enhance their athletic performance.
The combination of amino acids, vitamins, proteins ad antioxidants ensure there is no soreness after workouts and also that you have plenty of energy and you gain muscle fast.
The increase in stamina after taking maca is linked to stable blood sugar levels as well as its strengthening effect.
Maca is also believed to help with mild depression due to the increase in the levels of serotonin in the body.
Unlike depression medicines which have adverse effects like fatigue and weight gain, maca is a natural antidepressant, without the unwanted side effects.
Maca is classified under types of foods known as adaptogens, for their ability to help us cope with stress and also to repair whatever needs to be fixed in your body. It promotes homeostasis, which is your body’s state of equilibrium.
Cautions of maca
For people with thyroid illness, its best to avoid maca as it worsens the effects of thyroid disease, due to its iodine content.
People with allergies to maca root should avoid all forms of maca including powder and capsules.
The root is a stimulant and as such, may increase your heart rate. If you have a history of heart problems, consult your doctor first.