What is Maca? When telling people about superfoods, most people are familiar with goji berries, tomatoes, and avocados; but almost none of the people I’ve spoken to know what is Maca! It is quite astonishing to me as Maca is an extremely nutrient dense and highly prized superfood. Maca is a superfood that is so packed with nutrients you could say it’s like an overfilled suitcase just waiting to explode. Maca, or also known as the ginseng of Peru, is native to the Andes mountains and thrives in barren and extreme weather conditions and has been used by the natives of Peru for over 2000 years. It is highly valued and in the past, extremely hard to find. It closely resembles a beet root and has a tube shape like a potato. Maca is the highest-altitute growing plant in the world that is known of so far. The root of the Maca plant, specifically, is filled with nutrients and all things good. It can be found in its traditional form – a root, or it can also be found in a powdered form.
Maca is known as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a type of food or chemical that can continuously adapt to support what our bodies need and lack by balancing and improving the conditions of our human body. It has the ability to identify areas of weakness or stress in the human body and center its healing properties on aiding those particular areas. The maca root contains multiple vitamins such as Vitamins A, C, D, and E. It is also rich in vital B vitamins like B6 and B12. It is filled with fatty acids which are essential to the human body as well as important enzymes and amino acids. The maca root is also rich in calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, silica, phosphorous, and magnesium. Maca is known to help increase sexual stamina and libido which is a healthy substitute for the increasing population of young men becoming addicted to the drug, Viagra. This superfood aids in elimination hormonal imbalances by helping the endocrine system to function properly. As the endocrine system functions properly, this creates a state of balance for all the glands in the body like the thyroid, ovarian, pancreas, and testicular glands. The root also helps to lower anemia and ease menstrual discomfort and cramping. Research has shown that it is also effective in fighting certain cancers and illnesses such as stomach cancer and tuberculosis. This amazing plant has also been used by cultures prior to scientific research to help women cope with symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and hormonal mood swings. Do you have a fear of flying? Not only does this plant do all of the above, but it can also help with reducing the nauseating feeling that comes with altitude sickness. Athletes commonly consume maca to naturally help them to increase their energy levels, ability to focus mentally, as well as their stamina. It is also used by bodybuilders as a natural way to increase their strength and muscle size.
So how can the maca root be found and used? In health food stores, the maca root can usually be found in a dried or powdered form. In today’s society, we consume maca root as a part of our smoothies, milk, coffee, or tea according to healthscapes.org. It is always best to purchase raw organic maca powder. Other forms that maca can be found in health food stores are in the form of nutrition bars and energy bars. The dried root itself has a unique taste to it and tastes sweet yet spicy. If the maca root is cooked by boiling water, it becomes extremely sweet. It is versitale in many recipes and can be used to make jams, broths, juices, and puddings. Maca can also be mixed with cacao powder to create many delicious and extremely healthy recipes like cookies and cakes. Nativas Naturals produces a great raw and organic maca root powder and is sold in most health food stores in the United States. However, please be cautious not to consume too much maca. There have been side effects to consuming too much such as insomnia, diarrhea, dehydration, and hyperactivity. As the old saying goes, “too much of anything is a bad thing,” the same is true for maca.
The nutritional value of this superfood is immense and cannot be overlooked. As the public becomes more resourceful and educated about finding out what is good for them to consume, the superior benefits of the maca need to be highlighted to them as the great superfood that it is!