7 Top Health Benefits of Maca

Maca powder

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 should not be taken in large amounts. When you first start using maca, it’s best to begin by taking smaller amounts and building up; even 1/2 teaspoon is a good place to start. And at the other end, 1 tablespoons (of the powder) is an average daily dose. Rotating a few days on and a few days off is often recommended. Taking too much can lead to adverse effects and throw your hormones out of whack. If you experience this, you should take less or wean yourself off completely.

Looking for maca? Amazon.com carries many brands; see how other consumers rate the various brands by browsing this page on maca powder.

Read more about maca’s illustrious history and more of its benefits in Maca — Ancient Peruvian Superfood.

Vegan no-bake coconut Maca-roonsMaca 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.

Superfood kitchen by Julie MorrisPlease be aware that other than the nutritional benefits provided by the vitamins and minerals, the other benefits are anecdotal, as maca has not been formally studied.

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.

1. Vitamins
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 is widely used to promote sexual function of both men and women. It serves as a boost to your libido and increases endurance. At the same time it balances your hormones and increases fertility.

3. Women’s health and mood
Maca relieves menstrual issues and menopause. It alleviates cramps, body pain, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, and depression. If you are pregnant or lactating you should avoid taking maca.

Maca powder and root4. Energy
Within days of using maca your energy level may increase. It is also known for increasing stamina. Many athletes take maca for peak performance. If you find yourself tired most of the time, experiment with maca to see if it helps. Just a small amount could be exactly what you need for a boost!

5. General health
Maca helps your overall health in a number of ways. It supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells, which aids anemia and cardiovascular diseases. Maca keeps your bones and teeth healthy and allows you to heal from wounds more quickly. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime you will notice an increase in muscle mass.

But 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 before taking maca.

6. Skin
Many people take maca for skin issues, as for some people it helps to clear acne and blemishes. Another benefit for your skin is that is decreases sensitivity. In hot or cold weather, maca may help your 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 of the evidence is anecdotal. Some have reported an increase in mental energy and focus.

_______________

Plant power by Nava Atlas - coverBalance 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.

*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through this review, VegKitchen receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

image_pdfimage_print

219 comments on “7 Top Health Benefits of Maca

  1. Will

    Hi, just started taking Maca, wanted to know how does it effect your blood pressure? and when is the best time to take it. Also if you do not have any libido issues is it okay to take. Does Maca have other health benefits for both men or women.

  2. talina

    Ive been laid up in bed with heavy pains in my uterus pending a hysterectomy ive had no relief and refuse to take prescribed medication, I did take advil. My husband have been juicing everyday about a year ago, recently we bought a nutribullet, reading the nutribullet pamphlet I found out about Maca, I didnt read the whole thing just remembered the name. During a trip to our local Whole Foods Store I saw this bag of Maca powder, I remembered it from the book. I figured id try it. Brought it home made a smoothy and added a half a cup of Maca powder, i drank the whole thing and next day I did the same. About 2 hours after drinking that 2nd one I felt amazing, more alert, happier, energized just amazing, finally.

  3. Nava

    Talina, I do think that using a cup or even half a cup of maca in a single day is too much. Most sources recommend not more than 2 tablespoons a day, and even that is considered a pretty high dose. So do be careful!

  4. Nava

    Kerry, it is recommended to start with 1 teaspoon a day, and build up slowly to 1 to 2 tablespoons a day, according to most sources.

  5. Tomika

    I recently read that it can cause baldness or facial hair for women because it affects the hormones. I haven’t started taking maca yet because I’m just trying to learn about all of the highs and lows. Has anyone had any negative side effects?

  6. Roxalyn

    Talina, I hope you continue to get strong. On facebook I joined this group called “eatting clean with nutrabullet” they offer an alot of different things to use which has been helpful. Its good to change up so im learning. Continued strength and Happy Cleaning Eatting & Living. Roxie.

  7. nateisha

    i am a 32 year old mother of one, since the birth of my son i have been experiencing irregular period cycle. i have gone a whole year with no cycle along with severe joint pain,i was told that i have an imbalance harmone issue from my doctor. i have just purchase a 2Lb bag of maca root powder. i am worried about not being able to conceive since i am not ovulating….will this be powder be the answer to my prayers??

  8. Lynette Henk

    I recently started eating a new healthy chocolate called XoLove made by Xocai healthy chocolate. This cold pressed chocolate also has maca and L-arginine in it. I have been feeling wonderful since eating these chocolates twice a day and was looking for more information on maca. The chocolates are heart shaped and taste like a dark, decadent truffle. Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful information about maca. Definitely changing my life.

  9. Nava

    Aisha, not sure where you can buy the whole root, or if it’s even available like that (any readers have any info on that?). You can buy the powder in natural foods stores or online — just look up maca powder, it’s available from Amazon.com and many other sources.

  10. Victoria

    I am a Breast Cancer survivor for six years now. Is it safe for me to use Maca in my morning Smoothies?

  11. Nava

    Hi Victoria — since this is related to a medical issue, you might want to consult a registered dietitian on this. Good luck and stay well!

  12. Margie

    I had blood clots in my leg. Can I take this? I’ve been told I need to be on a low k diet. This doesn’t seem to be high in vitamin k.

  13. Nadine

    I recently purchased maca powder to help with stamina, energy and mental alertness. On the back of the package it states that there is a chemical in the powder that has been linked to birth defects or infertility. Never having a child but wanting one in the future it has caused a bit of alarm. Should I take it or not?

  14. mary

    hi,
    I just buy maca powder..because, a friend of mine told me that it could increase my chances to get pregnant…
    I m 43 years old, and I m dying to have a baby..
    tell me please, if maca could help me.and how should I do to increase my chances ,with maca powder, please..
    thank you

    mary

  15. Michael

    I’ve read all the comments here on this page none from men, is there any benefits for men with Maca? it sounds great regardless.

  16. Patrick

    Michael:

    I think women typically tend to worry a lot more than men do. And as such many more women than men would need something like this to replenish there bodies. But this certainly would help men just as much as women.

    I do take maca. I do find it helps a lot with my energy levels. Especially when I’m strung out after working many long physical shifts at work.

  17. Gail

    Maca powder makes people gain weight? Not what I heard, but if that is the case,then I guess it’s not for me. I need to lose about 30 lbs.

  18. Harry

    @nateisha, you probably could use some essential fatty acids. There are 2 kinds omega 6 and omega 3. Omega 6 is more important. Sources include sunflower oil sesame oil and hemp seed oil. Omega 3 sources are flax oil and chia seeds as well as hemp seed oil. Not many nutritional sources ever tell you about EFA’s but they are very important. Probably the most overlooked nutritional item today. Your baby needed the best ingredients your body could supply. Most people are deficient in good PUFA’s. Most people eat ruined PUFA’s as found in processed oils. Unprocessed unheated oils are mandatory to optimal health. Maca seems like it contains a lot of omega 6 because its benefits are similar to those of omega 6 but they never list the amount of PUFA’s in it. They give the same usual popular benefits such as vitamins and minerals but not PUFA content, a severely overlooked nutrient.

  19. kim

    Hi Mary.I’m 43 too, and trying it too. Throughout my life ive had many miscarriages early on in early trimester….lately im spotting lightly 2 to 5 days before each menst. cycle. I’m taking feminessence from whole foods. Its a maca specifically mixed for that, or do the box says. I hope we both have kids! You and I, Mary! Praying to the Lord also. BTW, for men , it may help to know my box of feminessence has a chart explaining that maca I think black maca in particular, is better for men, and feminessence claims their mix is specifically for women….if you want to learn more you may want to pick up a feminist since box from Whole Foods and just speak the back, if what they say is true.
    Kim

  20. kim

    * excuse my typos. in my last post, ” do ” should be ” so” , and ” feminist since” should read, ” feminessence” . if the moderator wants to make the changes on my original post please feel free :)
    Kim

  21. Sofia

    I developed skin rashes big and small ones and itchy after I put 1-2tbs of maca in my nutribullet juicer. I drink it everyday, after almost 2wks skin rashes appeared on my chest, back and shoulder. I stopped having maca in my juiced veggies and fruits.

  22. Veronica K

    I have hypothyroid problems and polycistic ovarian syndrome, I have been really bad lately and I was wondering if this would help me at all? I have literally all sever side affects of both and my whole endocrine system is down. I am getting treated for this but maybe this can help me reduce the medications intensity eventually and help me start a regular menstral cycle. I am only 20 and was wondering if it would be safe for me to try this out.If someone could let me know about anything that would be great. Thank you.

  23. Nava

    Hi Veronica — sorry about your health issues. This is too much of a medical issue for us to comment on with any authority I would recommend that you consult with a Registered Dietician would could give you some credible and actionable advice. Good luck!

  24. Sarah Greene

    Excellent article, thanks. I’ve been using maca supplements for more than a year now to boost my energy and I’m very happy with the results. Had some problems with it at the beginning as I started taking it in its raw form and it messed my stomach. I stopped completely and started taking maca root it its gelatinized form after I heard that it was much better for the digestion and my stomach had no problems with it. I am taking maca powder as part of my daily diet and ithelps my energies very much.

  25. Beth

    Mary and Kim please email me I have something that may be of interest to you for falling pregnant. xx

  26. Nava

    Aida, these are medical questions, and we are not qualified to answer them. Please consult a Registered Dietician for advice that will help you with your anemia and insomnia. Good luck!

  27. nancy

    Nava
    Thanks so much for the info on Maca. I have used it in a facial mask with organic cocoa powder and it’s fantastic!
    My husband and I are now going to start taking it in smoothies to help with energy and libido.

  28. Rachel

    I started added maca powder to my nutribullet smoothies as well. When I went to Sprouts and asked for it, the sells person showed me where it was, but that there was powder specifically for women and some specifically for men and that each male and female should take the right one for them, so if you are putting one kind of powder in your smoothies for yourself and your husband, I would be careful since different types have different benefits for men and women. You don’t want him growing breasts or you growing chest hair;)

  29. Mary

    Mu husband has prostate cancer and deliberately keeps his testosterone level very low. Would macca raise or change his prostate level

  30. Mary

    Correction on my comment. It should read will it change or raise his testosterone level?

  31. Nava

    Mary, we aren’t able to answer medically-related questions here. Best to consult with a qualified Registered Dietician.

  32. Kay

    Will this do anything to help milk supply? Umma lactating mother struggling to make enough for my baby.

  33. Rachel

    Aisha Omale, I just bought a 1 lb bag of Organic Raw Premium Maca Powder on Amazon. It was around $11. The company is The Raw Food World, and I was impressed with their customer service- they sent a free sample coupon along with my purchase and a hand written thank you note! It’s very tasty too!

  34. Nava

    Debs, unfortunately we are unable to answer such specific questions Best to consult a Registered Dietician or your OB/GYN.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>