Maca is a plant native to the country of Peru that is gaining popularity among the health community. The plant is classified as a cruciferous vegetable, which is the same family as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kale. There is evidence that cruciferous vegetables have anticancer properties. The edible part of the maca plant is the root, which is grown underground. The root is often dried and ground into a powder form. Maca has been used in Peruvian cooking and medicine for centuries.
Maca has a unique flavor often described as nutty or earthy. Most commonly, the maca powder is mixed into other dishes or smoothies that masks the flavor without losing its benefits. Essential nutrients found in maca include carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamin C, and copper. Along with healthful nutrients for your body, there are many research-based health benefits of maca.
Increase Libido: Consumption of maca has been noted in research to increase sexual desire in both women and men. Additionally, a recent study found that maca may help reduce sexual dysfunction among postmenopausal women who are also taking an antidepressant. A review of studies on maca and libido did find evidence that consumption of the root can increase sexual desire, although the authors suggested that more research is necessary.
Male Fertility: It has been shown that maca may increase a male’s fertility by improving sperm quality and quantity. A recent study showed that consumption of maca root may increase semen quality in both fertile and infertile males.
Enhance Mood: Many research studies have shown that maca can improve your mood. For women in the midst of menopause, the consumption of maca has been linked to reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. The plant compounds flavonoids found in maca have been shown to give the body these psychological benefits.
Energy & Endurance: In its powder form, maca root has become a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders. This is due to the claims that maca may help you gain muscle, enhance energy, increase strength, and improve your overall exercise performance. Additionally, there are some animal studies linking maca consumption to enhanced endurance.
Memory & Learning: Research points to improved brain function as a potential benefit of maca. It has been used in its native country, Peru, to improve children’s academic performance. There have been animal studies linking maca consumption among rodents with memory impairment to increased memory capacity and improved learning. Additionally, researchers suggest that maca may be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Note of Caution: The natives of Peru caution individuals from consuming fresh maca root and recommend boiling it first. Also, if you suffer from issues of the thyroid you may want to avoid maca due to its impacts on hormones. Finally, if pregnant or breastfeeding consult with your physician before incorporating into your diet.
There are many ways to include maca into your daily routine. However, the most popular way is to purchase the powdered form of the maca root and add to your smoothies, oatmeal, or any other recipe. At Fresh Vibes, maca root can be found in the Peanut Butter Crunch and the Espress Yo’Self Smoothies.