Maca – The Mighty Superfood!

By Chelsea Pineiro

Dec 17
Maca - The Mighty Superfood!

You’ve likely heard of Maca before. You probably know that it is good for you, but don’t know why you should add this into your supplement regiment when Maca isn’t necessarily crucial to your well-being. Well, the Peruvians would beg to differ. This nutritional powerhouse has been a staple in the diets of many South Americans, specifically those in the high Andes mountains of Peru. Let’s see why this herb has gained so much buzz in the past few years.

sherpa and child on a horse going up andean mountain

Used medicinally for centuries, Maca is nothing new to South Americans. It was and continues to be used to enhance fertility in humans and in animals. This is what helped them stay fed through tough, stormy seasons. That’s right – animals in Peru were fed Maca, and this continues to go down in history (by the Spanish colonizers) as an incredible way to raise strong and healthy livestock that then helped the mountainous areas thrive, as well.

Ancient history carried into the present!

Domesticated over 2000 years ago by Inca Indians, Maca is a lot older than we think. Like, 1600 B.C. old! Also known as the Peruvian Ginseng, this plant can grow in altitudes of up to 14,500 feet, meaning that rain, snow, or sun, this plant is hearty. It is planted for a lengthy 7-9 months in order to produce the harvested roots we use. These are some of the strongest crops I’ve ever heard of. They live in an area that is inhospitable to humans and animals, seeing as it sees intense sunlight, violent winds, and below-freezing weather. These Maca roots are basically grown in rocky soil. That would be almost impossible for other plants or crops to inhabit, but Peruvians have made this method work over centuries! 

Nutritional facts:

Carbohydrates 59%

Protein 10.2%

Fiber 8.5%

Essential Amino Acids the building blocks of proteins, these compounds play many critical roles in your body. Maca contains nearly all of the amino acids, much like meat does! 

Fatty Acids these are cellular fuel sources, aid in the composition of hormones and lipids, and the modification of proteins. They also store energy within your adipose tissue (specialized fat cells). Maca contains 20 of these! 

Vitamins Thiamin, Riboflavin, Ascorbic Acid, Niacin are the main players in this root veggie. These help to convert carbs into energy, red blood cell production, supports antioxidant activity, and healthy blood circulation.

Minerals Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Potassium, and Sodium, just to name the major ones. 

powdered maca

If that wasn’t enough, here is why Maca is a superfood:

It’s basically the original sugar-free energy booster. Although it is naturally in a root form, you can take it in powder, liquid, or whole and achieve similar if not the same results. This cruciferous vegetable is actually related to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale! However, that’s not what makes this a superfood. Maca has adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens help the body naturally adapt to all kinds of stressors, whether they be environmental, physiological, and psychological. 

Man hold maca root

Source: mountainroseherbs.com

Benefits of Maca:

Fertility – although the research is relatively new and mostly on animals, it may be worth adding maca to your diet if you plan on conceiving. Maca’s vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients have shown to support the endocrine system. This helps the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands balance your hormones. Both men and women can use it for this reason.

Hormone balance – Maca helps your thyroid (thanks to its content of iron and iodine), which in turn helps your sex hormones and skin! Say goodbye to painful, cystic pimples!

Strength & Endurance – both in sport and in the bedroom, this supplement can keep you in the game for longer! Arginine, which stimulates nitric oxide production (the same way Viagra works), is likely why it is sometimes called the Peruvian Viagra.

Concentration – Maca is a brain booster! It can help with concentration, especially for those in school or working long hours. Although we do not recommend this for children, it has been shown to help in brain function and memory in adults.

Treats Menopausal symptoms – Because maca is an adaptogen, it adapts to your body’s needs and can help balance your system to naturally avoid or lessen hot flashes, loss of libido, mood swings, night sweats, and more.

Anti-depressant/anti-anxiety – Because maca helps to support healthy brain chemistry, it has been associated with helping those with depression and anxiety in replacement of, or, in conjunction with doctor-prescribed medicine. 

Nutrachamps maca capsulesTry it!

So what are you waiting for? Have you used Maca before? Tell us how you take it. Do you prefer it in powder form, capsule form, or as the root itself? Did you know you can get a gelatinized version, where most of the starch is removed? Say goodbye to the bloat! Do you like to put it into your meals or take it on its own? Feel free to try some of the recipes on our blog: our Chocolate Maca Energy Smoothie or our Maca Iced Coffee. Let us know how Maca has helped you in your life!

Sources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20452008/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21781063/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19781622/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20633111/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21780878/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21840656/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24730393/

Chelsea Pineiro

Chelsea has been active most of her life, which led her to become a Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor for the past 7 years. Health and Fitness are not solely dependent on movement, though, and with that understanding, she addresses her client’s other needs, such as diet, mindfulness, and stress management.

When she is not training clients or teaching Yoga, she is finding new activities that keep her mind and body active, such as rock climbing, hiking, listening to podcasts, or playing Board Games with friends. She is constantly working towards: Finding natural solutions to live as long as possible, inclusive Yoga for all body types, and aiming to find mindfulness is everything she does.

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