Maca’s Magical Powers
You may remember from our discussion a few weeks ago that there are some special plants that naturally help us balance our body to counteract the effects of stress. These plants are called Adaptogens. Today we are going to discuss Maca. This mighty root will support the immune system by defending against stress. Maca is a powerful super food that is continuously being studied because it keeps proving to be helpful in new ways! Cool right?
So, what exactly is Maca? Like most plants it’s been given a scientific name, Lepidium meyenii. It is found in the Andes of Peru and is classified as a cruciferous vegetable. It was treasured by the Peruvian’s so greatly that they actually used it in trade as a type of currency. It grows high above sea level and looks similar to root vegetables like turnips and radishes as it has a green top and a root that can be any thing from yellowish to purple to black. Maca tastes earthy and nutty with what has been described as a hint of butterscotch. Some people like to blend it in with oatmeal because of this flavor! But like most plants the flavor can vary based on the type of Maca and the conditions of the growing season. Black Maca is said to be a little more bitter and cream-colored Maca is said to be a little sweeter.
You are probably asking yourself “Where can I find this powerhouse of a root?” and “In what form should you be looking for it?”. Maca is widely available at health stores, pharmacies and even online retailers. It can also be found in capsule, liquid, powder or extract form. All forms are thought to be equally beneficial, however it is best to buy Maca from a quality harvester that ensures its 100 % pure Maca root powder. Look for a variety that is raw and organic. Powder is more expensive than capsules.
How to use Maca? Maca powder can be easily added to smoothies and drinks or mixed into recipes. It’s best to start out with about one tablespoon (in powder form) daily and work your way up to 2-3 tablespoons spread throughout the day. Because Maca is known for increasing energy and stamina, many people like to take it before exercising to get a burst of extra energy. It’s best to avoid ingesting it in the evening to ensure you maintain a healthy sleep cycle. One favorite way I like to enjoy it is to add it into energy balls that are quick and easy to mix up and have for snacks.
Maca packs a nutritional punch by providing many important micronutrients and antioxidants. When used as a powder this little root provides protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Just a few to mention are vitamin C, copper and iron. It also contains all 20 amino acids making it great to include in a vegetarian and vegan diet. To top it off Maca also has health-promoting phytonutrients like glucosinolates and polyphenols.
Maca Root Benefits
1. Antioxidants – When we are stressed free radicals are produced at a greater rate in the body. Antioxidants fight these free radicals, neutralizing them before they can do any harm. Maca root boosts levels of antioxidants like glutathione and superoxide dismutase. By doing this work Maca helps keep chronic disease at bay and prevents damage to cells.
2. Enhances Energy, Mood and Memory - If you want to feel more awake, energized and driven, Maca can help increase energy without giving you the “jitters” like caffeine can. If you are looking to boost your moods than more energy can help! Maca helps keep your blood sugar more stable and supports your adrenal glands that work extra hard during times of stress. This helps keep your mood and energy steady throughout the day cutting down on cravings and helping some people lose weight.
3. Improves Female Sexual Health - Maca root can boost sex drive in women. This may be associated with the fact that Maca helps reduce menopause-associated depressed moods and feelings of anxiety. Maca has been known to help balance female sex hormones and has even been shown to soften symptoms of menopause. When the female hormones are in balance reproductive health including symptoms like infertility, weight gain and bloating are reduced. Because of the effect it has on estrogen, Maca may also help with improving reproductive health and fertility for women. It has been proven to help decrease symptoms related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), such as excess hair growth, weight gain and acne.
4. Boosts Male Fertility - So what about Maca for men? Maca powder benefits male sexual health and fertility. It has shown to help improve sperm quality and motility, two important factors when it comes to male infertility. Maca may also benefit sexual dysfunction and sexual desire in both men and women.
Potential Maca Root Side Effects and Precautions - If you have any thyroid issues, you should keep Maca intake in moderation and avoid consuming it raw. This is because it contains goitrogens, which are substances that can supress thyroid function, especially in those with thyroid issues. Check with your doctor before taking Maca. People who have high blood pressure are advised to not consume Maca to avoid adverse side effects. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid using Maca until it is deemed safe by scientific studies. Maca is a nutritionally loaded superfood that provides many health benefits when regularly incorporated into the diet. I highly recommend that you give Maca a try and see the results for yourself!
Do you want to know more? Do you want to know if Maca is right for you? Are you stressed out and looking for ways to support your body to get through a tough time? Would you like to know more about how you can begin to get to the root issues holding you back from reaching your health and wellness goals? Let’s chat about how holistic nutrition consulting and health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes so that you can feel your best every single day. We can provide recipes, meal and snack ideas and support changes to transform your health! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with us today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. We work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!