Maca root origin, usage and benefits

Maca root
Maca root

 

 

 

Maca is a popular plant in Latin America known for its super benefits.

This is a  tuber resembling a large radish, native to the Andes region in Peru. It is known for growing in extreme conditions: indeed, it can thrive at high altitudeover 3500 meters, undergoing extreme temperatures during the day and freezing at night.

 

It is also called ”  Peruvian ginseng  ” or even ”  Peruvian Viagra  ” for its supposed aphrodisiac benefits.

 

Benefits of Maca, the Incas’ secret

Maca roots are known for thousands of years by the Inca civilization and then by the Peruvians.

The fact that it resists exceptional weather conditions makes it a plant of choice to be grown in the Andes. Besides this, it also has a particularly interesting nutritional composition.

# 1. An essential source of energy

In its dried form, Maca has nutritional characteristics close to starchy foods like rice or pasta. It contains around 70% of carbohydrates, a large part of which are in the form of complex carbohydrates (like most starchy foods), absorbed more slowly, and providing lasting energy. 

This composition makes it an excellent source of energy for our organism and prevents, among other things, from feeling hungry. It is said that Maca was appreciated by the ancient Inca messengers who were responsible for delivering messages from one point to another – which used to be an exhausting job.

# 2 An interesting source of protein

Maca powder is an interesting source of protein: it provides almost 10% protein. Therefore, it could be used to enrich your sweet preparations (smoothies, buddha bowl, …) or savory (pancakes).

# 3 low fat

Like the majority of tubers, maca contains little fat  (3.6%) – making it a good superfood for those who plan to lose weight.

# 4 Presence of sterols

Maca contains plant sterols, molecules which have a cholesterol-lowering effect, in other words, it can lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Therefore, it would be indicated in cases of hypercholesterolemia.

# 5 vegetable fibers

Maca contains 7.1% fiber, making it a particularly interesting food in case of temporary constipation.

# 6 nutrients

There are several vitamins like vitamins B2, B3, B6, and C and in terms of minerals,  potassium, iron, manganese, or even copper! Therefore, it would provide energy and vitality and would be indicated in case of fatigue or general weakness.

Its nickname of Peruvian ginseng comes from its stimulating effects on the body. Indeed, just like ginseng, maca would be a tonic for the body and would stimulate the immune defenses.

# 7 Aphrodisiac effects

Maca root is also known as “  Peruvian Viagra  ” because of the aphrodisiac and beneficial claims for libido and fertility. However, there is little research on this subject to attest to this effect, which remains only supposed for the moment.

# 8 anti-stress properties

Glycine, one of the amino acids contained in maca, would possess a calming effect. Another lively acid called lysine is also known to contribute to a Zen attitude. 

# 9 relief in menopause?

It is found that maca would have reduced the symptoms associated with menopause, especially hot flashes.  Calcium and potassium that it contains, fight anxiety, and possible depression. As for the presence of estrogens, these smooth out the hormonal changes that cause the symptoms of menopause.

However, just like the aphrodisiac effect, studies have not yet confirmed this property.

 

In what form should we consume it?

Although Peruvians are fortunate to be able to consume maca in natural form ( raw, cooked, or possibly dried ), it cannot be exported following the Peruvian government’s ban.

Normally, it is mainly found in dried form, in powder, or capsule form ) or in liquid form (extracts).

 

Its nutty and caramel flavor will go perfectly with your cakes, yogurts, drinks, and salads.

 

Maca is a nutritionally rich root, which can help tone the body. It would seem to reserve even more benefits, without the latter being scientifically verified for the moment.

Anyway, if you decide to buy some, pay attention to where the product comes from. Avoid maca powder from China: you should know that maca comes from the Andes, where it is grown in specific conditions that we mentioned earlier. 

Maca from China has been smuggled into China in recent years. In addition, the Chinese climatic conditions being different from the optimal culture conditions usually used, this results in a final product of lower nutritional quality. So avoid it.

Prefer organic maca as much as possible, to have the guarantee of a quality plant, and thus be able to fully enjoy all its benefits.

Finally, avoid dietary supplements containing an endless list of different ingredients, which could hamper the effectiveness of maca. 

Side effects

Maca is not recommended for long periods (more than 3 months), in the event of hypertension or the event of hormone-dependent cancer. As a precaution, in the event of particular pathologies, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

 

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