Superfood buffs are already well-familiar with the stupendous nutritional powers of Maca.
This Superfood (scientific name – lepidium meywnii) is an adaptogenic root globally popular for its dynamic natural effects – consumers tend to experience a colossal boost in energy, reduction in cholesterol levels, relief from stress, enlargement of libido and even increase in sperm count.
It is full of proteins, complex alkaloids, minerals, tannins, vitamins and other phytochemicals.
It is one my favorite powder to add into my smoothies and is virtually utilized by all the Superfood advocates and raw foodies. I found Maca root powder while I was scouting the web for ways to reverse hypothyroidism and then wanted to know what is maca powder and maca powder benefits.
When I read about this food’s ability to help balance hormones without at all negatively affecting them I had to give it a try. I knew there would not be any harm – it is a plant; therefore I had nothing to lose, but much to gain.
With this thought in my mind, I ordered my first bag of Maca root powder through an online store and then little did I know that one day I will become a strong advocate of Superfoods.
Clearly, while surviving on Diet Coke and Big Macs, I would not have been able to bring hormonal balance in my body. I sturdily believe that Maca root powder has been gigantically helpful in reversing hypothyroidism and healing process.
Maca Root History, Origins and Legends
As per archeological evidences, it has been grown and cultivated high (over 13,500-14,000 feet) in the Peruvian Andes of South America for around 2,600 years. Maca belongs to the family of cruciferous plants that includes cabbage, turnips, radishes, kale, cauliflower and broccoli.
It is essentially grown and cultivated for its roots that looks like that of a radish, and is purple, yellow or off-white in color. Underneath the ground, Maca is slightly larger on average as compared to radish, with a typical diameter of 2-3 inches. Above the ground, it is quite smaller than its relatives.
Akin to other cruciferous vegetables and opposed to most tuberous plants, Maca is propagated by seed rather than root. Although it is perennial, Maca is cultivated as an annual. 7-9 months after planting, this Superfood is harvested.
The region where it is grown, high in Andes is a barren, inhospitable and treeless area of drastic fluctuations in temperature, intense sunlight and turbulent winds.
In the book Maca: Adaptogen &Hormonal Regulator by Beth M.Ley; it is mentioned that Maca was domesticated by Pumpush, a ferocious warrior tribe, which migrated into the Andes from the Amazon jungle.
Later on, the Yaro people inhabited the AndeanIslands and cultivated extensive fields of Maca. Eventually, the Incan empire populated Maca-growing provinces of the Andes.
Legends have it that during the acme of Incan empire, warriors would eat Maca prior to entering into a battle, as this Superfood would make them strongly sinewy. However, after conquering the city Incan warriors were prohibited from consuming Maca root powder in order to safeguard women from the excessive sexual desires of men.
Additionally, it was used by the Peruvian Incans as their currency at one time. During the Spanish colonization of Peru, the Superfood was utilized by the Incans to pay out taxes.
Albeit known to the native populations for centuries, Maca is a newbie in the commercial supplement segment of the Western world, but it is swiftly gaining popularity because of its incredible healing properties.
Constituents of Maca Extracts
The nutrient content in Maca extracts is dense and rich. Chemically maca root extracts contain significant amounts of carbohydrates (60%), vitamins (B1, B2, B12, C and E), minerals (zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus), high fiber content (9%), around 20 fatty acids (both saturated and unsaturated, including the famous omega 9 -oleic acid & omega 3 linolenic acid) and amino acids.
Moreover, Peruvian Maca extracts contains a number of glycosides as well. On comparing to another local Andean root, Maca extracts has 4-times more fiber and 5-times more protein.
Maca extracts is not a complete protein, but it is an excellent source of amino acids and hormone pre-cursors that it renders many of the identical effects as provided by a high-protein diet. The root of this plant contains 18-healthy proteins.
Furthermore, Maca extract is a great source of immune-boosting fatty sterols, including ergosterol, ergostandienol, campestrol, brassicasterol and sitosterol. This plant contains biologically active aromatic isothiocyanates; specifically p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate that have aphrodisiac properties.
Maca Root Pills – Magical
As we now know, Maca root pills powder reputation as a robust stamina and strength catalyst, as well as libido- elongating Superfood stretches back into history.
This Maca root pills is a powerful Adaptogen, referring it has the ability to stabilize and balance the glandular-hormonal system, cardiovascular system, musculature and nervous system of the human body.
Moreover, Maca root pills as an Adaptogen (I love this word) increases physical strength, endurance, energy, neurotransmitter production, oxygen level in blood and libido.
Maca root pills supports the thyroid, adrenals and endocrine system, prevents chronic fatigue, improves one’s mood and helps in healthy hormone secretion (one of the major reasons that both men and women worldwide have started eating this supplement of on daily basis).
In short, Maca root pills makes you; your body and soul feel good and happy. Note: Adaptogens are non-toxic, generates an adaptive response to stress and boosts homeostasis in the body.
Maca as Testosterone Booster
Gloria Chacon de Popovici, Peruvian Biologist, PHD, states that maca acts on adrenals, pituitary and hypothalamus glands. She has theorized that by stimulating endocrine glands, this powder is able to enhance vitality, libido and energy.
Many other researchers suggest that the effect of this powder is more basic and when the body is well-nourished then depression lowers and libido rises. The nutrient value of Maca can explain a few but not all the purported actions.
Dr. Chacon is likely closer to the truth in her researches; as she describes maca works its magic on the master gland of the brain – “hypothalamus.” Hypothalamus is usually regarded as the sex-hormone factory of the brain.
From the hypothalamus cognate effects take place “down-stream” and in the way pituitary gland are instigated to secrete follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormones and in the way that adrenal gonads are stimulated to produce DHEA, Testosterone and Progesterone.Additionally, as we age, the hormone amount in our organs, tissues and blood decreases. People, who have a high production of testosterone and progesterone, are known to stay young longer.
Conventional medicinal hormone-replacement therapies are rapidly converting into intelligent, sustainable and reasonable “bio-identical” approaches.
Let us not forget, before we use any kind of supplemental hormones, we must first try to increase hormone production in our body with natural Superfoods, supplements and herbs, these include coconut and maca products. This maca is a testosterone booster.
Maca For Thyroid Support
While I have not been able to find any authentic studies, but during the last few years I have come across many people, who tell me that the regular consumption of maca has reduced or eliminated their thyroid problems ( like hypothyroidism).
Such statements testifies the fact that maca helps the entire endocrine system including thyroid and can balance the estrogen dominance that usually accompanies hypothyroidism.
This Superfood is rich in iodine content, and this suggests it is a useful herbal therapy for those who suffer from thyroid insufficiency. The relation of thyroid insufficiencies to female reproductive issues cannot be ignored.
Early medical journal articles and textbooks shed light on the effectiveness in proper thyroid supplementation in eliminating gynecological issues. Normal thyroid function corrects menstrual flow, succors the body in releasing better levels of follicle stimulating hormone and promotes conception.
The thyroid supporting abilities of Maca explains its power to bring relief to women who suffer from menopause disorders and augment fertility.
Maca Benefits For Men and Women – Maca Prevents Skin & Hair Problems
Hello Unbelievable anti-acne herb!! For both women and men alike, skin issues like acne have been considerably improved with the use of maca powder. Lately, studies revealed that this Adaptogen softens and nourishes the skin.
Lab studies have indicated that Maca root instigates proliferation of fibroblast in vitro, resulting in radiant younger looking skin. It is found to have UV protection properties. It may increase collagen synthesis, boosting the integrity of skin’s structural matrix.
The results are promising! Skin becomes younger-looking, softer and firmer. Maca-infused hair-care products help in maintaining hair volume and thickness as well as fight hair loss. It accelerates hair-growth through promoting keratinocyte synthesis and guarding the hair bulb.
Even Miranda Kerr (Victoria Secret Model) is a big fan of maca in her smoothies and it seems to work great when you look at her stunning figure and glowing skin.
Maca For Fertility (Aphrodisiac Abilities)
Since ages Maca is believed to be a significant fertility aid for both human and animals. This explains it all why this plant is often referred to as an Aphrodisiac. Both men and women use it to increase their fertility, stamina and libido. Rawr!
It has been found to contain 2-different compounds – macaenes and macamides, which boost fertility and libido.
In men, the health benefits of maca root powder are increased sperm count and testosterone levels. The testimony to the fact is that a lot of men have stated that they after consuming the powder they experienced a noteworthy improvement in erectile tissue response.
People who have used it call it nature’s answer to Viagra!!For women, the benefits of Maca powder are endless.
The root has been consumed by Peru women for thousands of years. In women, the powder can provide immense relief from menopause symptoms and PMS. Studies have suggested that intake of maca can reduce the occurrence of hot flashes and night sweats in women. Moreover, it helps to alleviate mood swings due to PMS.
Maca increases libido, sex drive, stamina, endurance, fertility and renders a feeling of well-being. If you are having trouble in conceiving a child, maca is a must Superfood to add to your diet. It has been found to be safe for consumption during pregnancy.
It helps to keep progesterone levels high and balance hormones in pregnant women. It can help assuage pregnancy symptoms like dizziness, vomiting and nausea. It helps women to produce more breast milk, after child birth.
Maca For Endurance & Energy
Maca is widely recognized as a “Root of Strength and Energy.” Couple of years ago, I visited Macchu Picchu, and there I hiked over a seven day walk, climbing up and down steep mountain sides with me breathing heavily in the thin air.
I remember spending one complete day clambering UP via a pass at 14,000 feet known as “Dead Woman’s Pass”, and hiking through it , I comprehended why it is called so.
The climb was exhausting. It was very soon followed by another full day spent climbing down, which again turns out to be extremely cruel on the legs. After 7-days of hiking, we reached at a ridge overlooking Macchu Picchu, “city in the sky” that was built by Incas.
There my jaw dropped to the ground when I saw the scene below and 20-ton bounders that had been dragged up the mountain by 1000 of men to build this ancient city in the sky.
As I stood there, cherishing the picturesque scene below, I thought “I was hardly able to drag myself up the mountain then how on earth the Incas – employing virtually no technology could lift 20- tons of rocks up the sky-high mountains and drop them into place as temple walls?”
Apparently, these folks lived on Superfoods like maca root powder. The root powder provides tremendous energy boost for those who are low in energy. A lot of people use it for the virility boost and aid.
Today, it is being used as a natural alternative to anabolic steroids, which indeed is great news for those who wish to gain more muscles. For both amateur and professional athletes alike, maca is the #1 supplement.
The major action of this Superfood is to augment energy and endurance levels, which provides athletes with a natural advantage. One of the most charming benefits of this root is that it as an Adaptogen helps body to adapt to different sorts of stresses.
Since maca amplifies oxygen level in blood, it helps to avert the environmental stress of altitude sickness. Packed with minerals, plant sterols and vitamins (that lower inflammation, cut-down cholesterol level, recover speedily from mental and physical stress and build strength) maca is recognized for increasing endurance and boosting energy.
Maca Root Dosage
Taste-wise, this Superfood is a delicacy, with a nutty and sweet savory taste, and butterscotch like aroma, however it have a tad bitter aftertaste. I find that it tastes great when you blend it with nutty and toasty flavors such as maple syrup, dark chocolate, peanut butter or smoothies.
When boiled in water, Maca tastes sweeter than cacao. Its potato like tubers can be dried up and stored for years without any significant loss of nutritional value. Add Maca Powder to Your Diet to Leverage it Benefits Maca is generally available in 2-forms:
- Raw Maca Powder
- Gelatinized Maca Powder (cooked & processed)
It is sold as a loose powder or in capsules (as maca root pills), either through reputable health food stores or online. I would recommend buying gelatinized maca, as it is easier to digest, having the hard to digest starchy layer of the root removed –while still retaining all the nutrients intact.
The strength of active constituents in maca differs, yet the typical maca root dosage is 500mg, twice daily. People do not usually eat maca for taste, but for health benefits. It does not taste good for most…so how to get it down? You can mix it in your smoothies, yoghurts and salads, and even in your tea and drinks.
You can mix it to cooked foods and heat is also. In this manner, you would not notice its strong taste anymore. Maca root dosage can become part of your daily diet. When I first tasted Maca powder, I found it strong and I thought “how to eat this stuff regularly?”
However, the benefits are impeccable to pass on just a taste issue that fades when you eat it more. It is a wise idea to take “Maca Holiday” – maybe have a day of every week or have a week off every month.
Economical too!! Clever- uhhh!! Although, it does not overstimulate the adrenal glands, I find that the energy kick it provides me, it is best to take it at the start of the day, so to be running in your heels the complete day.
In case, you are taking it at night and find your sleep pattern is disturbed, try taking it earlier or reduce the quantity.
Maca Powder Side Effects
As with any other drugs, maca powder also have its disadvantages. As with any other drugs, overdose of Maca Powder can lead to worsening of your hormonal symptoms. Also, as it acts as a health enhancer, so its excess consumption can lead to a faster heart-beat rate.
Let us see some of the most common side-effects below:
1. Mental Problems
The maca root powder is commonly known to control mood swings. This process focuses mainly on the central nervous system and brain activity thus making it hazardous to people who have a history of headaches and insomnia.
2. Digestive Disorders
Maca root can treat various problems including fatigue and concentration problems as well as it increases energy level in the body. But the consumption of maca root is also associated with stomach discomfort, abdominal cramping, or heartburn. These symptoms become worst when consuming in an empty stomach.
3. Hormonal Acne
Maca root is characterized by many as a natural Viagra, it boost sexual desire which is regulated by some hormones in the brain. As a result, your hormonal balance will be greatly affected by consuming maca. Acne is one of the effects of hormonal change.
Every synthetic drug or any herbal supplements have their own side effects to various people, and maca is not an exception. Some people who use these supplements have experienced allergies such as skin rash or hives. When you are taking maca and have develop these symptoms it is strongly recommended to consult your doctor to avoid further complications.
To Sum Up
Maca is a healthy natural food, not a miracle drug!! Maca root powder has the ability to regulate, balance and support the hormonal systems of both men and women. Hello magical skin revitalizer! And since it boost the hormones, it may aid with energy levels, digestion, fertility and all things sexual.
As an Adaptogen it increases your body’s immunity to diseases by emotional and physiological health improvements, which means it is of great help for people combating chronic fatigue.
Maca improves libido, enhances basic well-being, eases tension and beats stress. Maca has not just been a favorite Superfood of Peruvian Quechua people; it has been enjoyed by adventurers, dessert chefs, food alchemists, raw foodists and extreme athletes.
Now, it is finally available to the masses across the globe. The renowned reviving effects of this plant are creating sky-soaring market demand worldwide.
With the cultivation of this Superfood on increase and many Peruvian government experts actively promoting maca agriculture, it is sure to become one of the major botanical products on the international herbal and Superfood front.