7 Top Health Benefits of Maca
Maca, a root that belongs to the radish family, is most commonly available in powder form. Grown in the mountains of Peru, it has been called “Peruvian ginseng.” Maca’s benefits have been long valued, and has recently been popularized as a supplement and food ingredient.
There are no serious known side effects of maca, but like any other supplement it shouldn’t be taken in large amounts. When you first start using maca, it’s best to begin by taking smaller amounts and building up; as little as 1/2 teaspoon is a good place to start. Just 1 tablespoon is an average daily dose. Rotating a few days on and a few days off is often recommended.
If you’d like more information, ideas, and recipes for maca to keep in your kitchen, a concise and useful book on maca is available on Amazon.com Learn more about Maca Root for Health and Vitality: How to Use and Benefit from the Superfood, with 20 Easy Recipes.
More on VegKitchen:
- 5 Easy and Tasty Ways to Use Maca Powder in Food.
- Frequently Asked Questions About Maca Root.
- Maca — Ancient Peruvian Superfood.
Maca is good in smoothies, salads, drinks, cooked foods, and juices. A couple of easy and tasty ways to use it: Our easy No-Bake Vegan Cocoa Maca-roons; and two delicious smoothies — Mocha Maca Banana Smoothie and Strawberry-Vanilla Maca Smoothie.
Don’t add it to anything that’s very hot because it will lose all its benefits. The taste can be a bit odd at first but it gets more tolerable and it depends on what you mix it with. Its flavor has been described as “malted” or like toasted oats. Smoothies, puddings, raw sweets, and juices seem to be the best ways to use maca powder.
A great resource that includes a lot of information on maca, as well as how to incorporate it into recipes, is Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris. This beautiful book also includes lots of others superfoods in addition to maca, including berries, seeds, grasses, green leafy veggies, and more.
And if you’d like to compare various brands of maca, you can do so by exploring this page on Amazon.com.
Maca is rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E. It provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids.
2. Sexual function
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.
3. Women’s health and mood
Maca has been used to relieve menstrual issues and the side effects of going through menopause. Some women have used it to alleviate cramps, body pain, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, and depression. Like the benefits of #2 above, these are anecdotal and shouldn’t be used in place of consulting with a practitioner. If you are pregnant or lactating you should avoid taking maca.
Some have experienced an increase in energy level within days of beginning to use maca. It is also known for increasing stamina. Many athletes take maca for peak performance. 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 by users of maca, as well.
5. General health
Maca helps 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. The nutrients in maca may help to keep bones and teeth healthy and help heal wounds more quickly. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime, supplementing with maca may help to increase in muscle mass.
Be very cautious if you have a cancer related to hormones, like testicular and ovarian, among others. If you have liver issues or high blood pressure you should ask your doctor or practitioner before taking maca.
Many people take maca for skin issues, as for some people 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 balance
If you find yourself overcome with anxiety, stress, depression or mood swings, maca may help alleviate these symptoms, though the evidence for this is anecdotal.
Balance your use of superfoods like maca with a healthy plant-based diet filled with veggies, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, seeds and other whole Foods. Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes* delivers a beautiful must-have guide with more than 150 delicious and versatile plant-based recipes for every day of the year. Eating vegan doesn’t have to be about sacrifice and substitutions. With Plant Power, Nava Atlas celebrates the bounty of natural foods and teaches everyone—from committed vegans to those who just want more plants in their diet—how to implement a plant-based approach to their lives—easily, practically, and joyfully, every day. Available on Sept. 2, 2014, wherever books are sold.
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