11 Mar Superfood Spotlight: What Is Maca and How Do I Use It?
What is Maca?
Lepidium meyenii, or better known as Maca, is considered a superfood and adaptogen in the world of health and wellness. Found in the Andes region of central Peru, the cruciferous vegetable has an appearance similar to radishes and turnips. It’s been consumed by people of this region for thousands of years for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It’s most frequently found in powder form, but maca root can also be bought in liquid or capsule form. Today we’ll share 5 reasons that Maca powder is a great addition to your cabinet along with ways to use it.
1. Balances Estrogen Levels
Maca is an endocrine adaptogen. What that means is it doesn’t contain any hormones, yet it contains all the necessary nutrients which support a healthy hormone production.
Estrogen levels that aren’t high enough or are too low, can cause a slew of problems mentally and physically. Unbalanced estrogen levels can cause issues with bloating, irregular menstrual cycles, ovulation and pregnancy. Maca’s superpowers help regulate this imperative female sex hormone.
2. Helps Male Fertility
While there’s not tremendous research, a study done in 2001 shows that maca improves sperm quality and motility. Another study even showed its ability to increase sexual desires. Similar for both male and females, maca’s libido boosting abilities are one of the most popular uses of the root.
3. Full of Vitamins and Minerals
Maca is abundant with important amino acids and vitamins including C, E, B1 and B2. A single tablespoon of maca contains over 20 amino acids. Amino acids are important to get through diet because our body cannot naturally produce them. It also works as a natural antioxidant, which neutralizes harmful free radicals and fights disease. Maca is full of calcium, zinc, and iron, making the superfood noteworthy.
4. Energy Levels
Maca is a popular choice for people who are sensitive to caffeine or weaning off caffeine. It acts like a stimulant without containing caffeine, making it a great boost to energy levels without the crash or possible impact on sleep. It is believed that maca can positively stabilize blood glucose levels, providing more consistent energy throughout your entire day.
5. Brain Health
You’ve likely heard of Omega-3 fatty acids or essential fatty acids. Research shows they can help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, arthritis and dementia. Maca contains levels of fatty acids at the root that can support cognitive skills, brain function and even help your memory.
How to Use Maca
Maca has an earthy and nutty taste. While some people aren’t a fan of the taste, it’s easy to overcome the earthiness when mixed into wholesome and delicious recipes. There are many different ways you can incorporate maca into a healthy diet, but the most popular are smoothies and baked goods.
Combine maca with a frozen banana and your favorite protein powder (and a dash of cinnamon) for a delicious, brain boosting power drink. If you’re more of a green smoothie person, then incorporating maca in your coffee or latte is a good way to complement the flavor and get all of the benefits.
Another fun use of maca is adding it into energy balls. Try processing cacao powder, medjool dates, non artificial sweetener of choice and a sprinkle of sea salt with maca powder for a snack that’ll get you through any day.
Remember that it’s important to focus on a balanced healthy diet and exercise and never rely on one single supplement, food or herb. When it comes to Maca, always start out with less and work your way up to see the best amount for your size, weight and body chemistry. Maca is a fantastic superfood that can truly complement help nourish your mental and physical being.