Maca Root: The Superfood of the Andes.
Maca root is known as the ‘superfood of the Andes’. Ancient Peruvians used it as an aphrodisiac, and for energy and endurance. Today, western society uses it for it’s many health benefits and the incredible nutritional value is contains.
So, what exactly is in the maca root?
The maca plant belongs to the brassica (mustard) family and, like broccoli and cauliflower, is a cruciferous vegetable. It grows in the mineral-rich mountains of the Andes at an elevation of about 12,000 to 14,000 feet. It is found in Peruvian provinces such as Junín and Pasco, where it thrives in extreme weather conditions that include powerful winds, bitter cold and harsh sunlight. Maca is a tuber, which means that under the ground, the plant stores its rich nutrients in a bulb shaped like a radish or turnip. It is rich in vitamins C and A, as well as B2, B6 and niacin. The hardy root is also packed with minerals, including iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, copper, magnesium and potassium. Maca is also rich in beneficial plant sterols that are biochemically related to hormones such as oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone. And it contains healthy fatty acids, which are beneficial for the heart and help stabilise blood glucose levels and reduce inflammation.
Why is maca root so powerful?
It is a superfood containing carotene, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), ascorbic acid, niacin, and other vitamins. It has high levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and, potassium, as well as minor levels of copper, zinc, manganese, iron, selenium, and boron. It also has 11% per gram of protein and fatty acids. Because of its 18 amino acids, it is a complete form of protein for vegans and raw-foodists.
Peruvians do not need any scientific studies to prove the powerful effects of maca as it has been one of their traditional food for thousands of years. This root is consumed in various ways in Peru and ingrained deeply in the culture. It is used in baking, smoothies, and various other foods.
Maca can be taken in capsule form (with the powder in the capsule) or as a powder or as a concentrated extract. The capsules generally contain 500 mg of powder. Most people take it in powder form by blending it in smoothies or simply taking it by dissolving in water. I recommend in powder form so that your body absorbs it immediately. It does have a unique nutty flavor, a bit of an aftertaste but it’s not strong and OK for most people. If you are sensitive to the taste then taking it in capsule form would be a better option for you.
How much maca powder should you take?
It is different for everyone. I suggest if you take capsule form, try starting with 2 capsules per day, and do it consistently for a few days and then adjust from there. If taken in powder form, start with 2 teaspoons a day and adjust from there. Each individual is uniquely different and since this is a natural medicinal plant product, each person will need different amounts. I also suggest taking it in the middle of the afternoon around 2 pm when your hormones tend to be the lowest.
You should take a little precaution when you start taking maca. Some people have reported experiencing elevated heartbeat and insomnia from having excess energy (similar to taking too much caffeine). As mentioned before, take the recommended dosage of 1-3 teaspoons of powder daily and listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
What do doctors say about Maca Root?
Doctors and scientists are now finding that maca is one of the best natural ways to support endoctrine health. This regulates metabolism, sexual development, levels of energy and a sense of overall wellbeing.
Recent studies also show that maca effects the body and mind in others ways.
It nourishes and calms the nerves, aids in digestion, supports the adrenal glands, helps build muscle mass, and regulates hormonal imbalances naturally. It has also been found to speed healing and reduce anemia. And best of all, even though you may think it would be… it’s not addictive!
Where do you get it and how do you take it?
Maca root powder is sold in most health food stores as well as online. You can also get in the form of a liquid extract.
Maca has a pungent taste and some people have called it nutty tasting. It has a pretty unique flavour and is a bit of an acquired taste. Maca is most easily taken if you add it into a smoothie or shake.
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