Why MACA Should Be Your New Adaptogenic BFFPosted: June 22, 2017
There are tons of reasons why maca is one of this year’s most buzzed-about superfoods: It increases libido, boosts energy levels, and regulates stress, for starters. (Call it an adaptogenic friend with benefits).
But confusion still reigns. After all, with its distinctly nutty-spicy-sweet flavor, this root (used in South America for thousands of years before it found its way to our smoothie bowls), isn’t an ingredient like kale or quinoa that can be easily thrown into any salad or bowl. And so, despite all of maca’s good press, many of us are left confused about how, exactly, to incorporate the powerhouse root into our diets.
That’s why we tapped three nutrition experts for their go-to maca recipes—treats and tonics they make at home that could, conceivably, serve as an everyday source of this potent food.
Scroll down for a crash course in Maca Consumption 101—no, you won’t be tested on this, but we won’t be surprised if you decide to study hard and ace your own kitchen-side exam.
Benefits of Maca;
1 Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients
Maca is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids (20 different kinds — that’s just about all of them!), and antioxidants. Glucosinates are just one of those antioxidants — the same substances that make broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables so good for you.
2 Sexual function, libido, and fertility
Maca has long been used to promote sexual function of both men and women. It’s thought to boost libido and increase endurance. It has also been used to balance the hormones and increase fertility. Note the these benefits are anecdotal, though one of the more studied aspects of maca is its role in male fertility.
According to an article in Web MD, The Truth About Maca, professionals differ on the effectiveness of maca, especially for libido. Some are skeptical, believing that it’s little more than a placebo. Others strongly believe in its effectiveness. You can read the entire article here.
3 Menstrual issues and menopause
Maca has been used to relieve menstrual issues and the side effects of going through menopause. Some women have used it to alleviate cramps and hot flashes, much as it has been used by indigenous South American cultures for millennia. Outcomes in this area are largely anecdotal, and shouldn’t be used in place of consulting with a practitioner.
4 Physical and mental energy
Many regular users of maca experience an increase in energy level within days of beginning its use. It’s also known for increasing stamina and endurance, which is why some athletes take maca for peak performance. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime, supplementing with maca may help to preserve muscle mass. Maca is also used by those seeking to sharpen and expand mental activity and memory.
Maca has been used as a remedy for ongoing fatigue. If you find yourself tired much of the time, experiment with maca to see if it helps. Just a small amount could be exactly what you need for a boost! An increase in mental energy and focus has been reported as well.
5 General health and disease prevention
As an adaptogen and tonic, maca may boost your overall health in a number of ways. It supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells, which aids in avoiding anemia and cardiovascular diseases. Maca is also believed to promote prostate health. The nutrients in maca have long been valued for keeping bones and teeth healthy and help heal wounds more quickly. Bear in mind that most of these claims, while certainly not unfounded, have not been sufficiently studied.
Be very cautious if you have a cancer related to hormones, like testicular and ovarian, among others. If you have these cancers, liver issues, or high blood pressure, you should consult with a professional before taking maca.
6 Skin health
Maca has been used for skin issues. For some users, it helps to clear acne and blemishes. Another benefit that some users have experienced is that it decreases skin sensitivity. In hot or cold weather, maca may help skin withstand extreme temperatures.
7 Mood and hormone balance
For those struggling with anxiety, stress, depression, or mood swings, maca may help alleviate these symptoms, though the evidence for this is anecdotal and its use shouldn’t replace professional treatment.
Hormone balance is key to regulating sexual function, mood regulation, disease prevention, and much more. Maca’s ability to balance hormones is often credited to its stimulation of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. It may be the phytonutrients contained in maca that work to balance the endocrine system.