Maca root is considered to be one of the most potent "superfoods" on the planet. Many users believe these incredible little roots possess magical powers, but a scientific analysis reveals that the benefits of maca come from the many nutrients in it that fuel your brain, ease hormone irregularities, and enhance your libido.
Maca root is a highly nutrient-dense whole food; it's packed with vitamins, plant sterols, many essential minerals, amino acids and healthy fats. This is a particularly powerful and balanced food for athletes and those who are looking to combat stress or increase stamina.
Based on reports from users over the years, the benefits of maca root can differ for men and women. Both men and women have found that it significantly boosts libido and sex drive, increases energy, stamina and the feeling of general well-being. Men have used it to enhance fertility and sexual function. Women have found that it helps relieve the symptoms of PMS and menopause.
See the Health Benefits of maca root for more details.
Maca is a radish-like root vegetable that is related to the potato family, and is tuberous and spherical in form. The root is about three to six centimeters across (1-2 inches) and about the same in length. There are four recognized types, based on the color of the root. Root color varies from creamy yellow to light pink to dark purple or even black.
Grown in the mountains of Peru at altitudes of 7,000-12,000 feet and higher, it's the highest-altitude-growing plant in the world. Maca has been used by the native Peruvians as early as the mid-15th century. Since maca just grew wild, it quickly became a staple part of their daily diet, and is eaten either raw or cooked.
Travel to the High Andes and see for yourself how maca is grown and harvested in this short video created by the Navitas Naturals company, one of the finest producers of maca powder in the world:
Maca root is known as an adaptogen, which means that it increases the body's ability to defend itself against both physical and mental weakening, and therefore, potential illness. It does this by supporting adrenal and pituitary health, both of which support proper function of your endocrine gland.
The endocrine system consists of glands that produce hormones necessary for essential body functions. These hormones regulate such conditions as fertility, sexual function, digestion, energy levels, and your brain and nervous system. Researchers have found maca to be one of the best natural ways to support endocrine health.
See Maca Effects in Your Body for more details.
The maca root is a nutritional powerhouse, with almost 60 different phytonutrients! All these phytochemicals combine with maca's full array of vitamins to make the maca plant one of the most powerful medicinal plants on earth.
Maca contains significant amounts of amino acids, carbohydrates, and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, iron, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E.
See Nutrients in Maca for more details.
Unlike herbs which can have negative effects when used improperly, maca has no known contraindications or toxicity. However, occasionally some people experience adverse effects when they start using it; these symptoms may actually be detoxification symptoms.
See maca root Side Effects for more details.
The most common way to use maca is in the form of a powder or gelatinized powder, a process that concentrates the active ingredients through a heated extrusion that removes the starch.
Maca is a very potent food, and just a little sprinkled into recipes turns any meal into a supermeal. Maca powder has an earthy taste that is mildly nutty, with a hint of butterscotch. It's easily blended into superfood smoothies, various milks or mixed into flour for dessert recipes. Alternately, use maca straight by taking it in a capsule form, and enjoy its benefits anytime and anywhere.
Some easy, delicious ways to consume maca powder as a food are: stirring a teaspoon into a bowl of soup before serving — maca powder is a wonderful soup flavoring. Add a teaspoon to any herbal tea, or sprinkle it over popcorn and add sea salt.
If you're not watching your sugar intake, mix a bit of maca powder with enough grade B maple syrup or honey to produce a wet paste, and enjoy it with a spoon. It's a delicious dessert-like treat — great on sliced bananas too. If you're looking for a healthy type of sweet fix, this is a great way to do it.
Start with smaller amounts of maca powder, maybe a 1/2 teaspoon a day, and work up to a teaspoon or two over the course of a few weeks.
The Navitas Naturals website
has a page of customer-submitted recipes using maca powder as well as
some of their other superfood products, if you're looking for ideas for
using maca powder.
One of the easiest ways to add the benefits of maca powder to your daily routine is by using it as an ingredient in a morning smoothie.
Superfoods like maca can turn your ordinary fruit smoothie into a nutrient-dense meal with the antioxidant benefits of 6 or more servings of fruits and vegetables — your entire minimum daily requirement!
You can discover How to Make Smoothies the Healthy Way elsewhere on this website.
Although you will sometimes find maca as an ingredient in energy supplements, the amounts are not enough to get many of the benefits of maca root.
Navitas Naturals, a certified organic, green business headquartered in Marin County, California, sells straight, unadulterated maca powder by the bag.
Navitas Naturals supports fair-trade policies and sustainable organic agriculture. Their foods are certified organic, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, raw, and certified kosher.
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