Maca Nutrition: Ancient Peruvian Superfood

Maca powder and root

Maca root’s health benefits are becoming widely known. Here’s some added discussion on maca nutrition and a little about its history as a superfood.

An herb native to the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru for thousands of years, maca is a member of the cruciferous family of plants, and a distant relative of the tuberous root vegetable radish. The Maca plant produces leaves that grow close to the ground and the plant produces a small, off-white flower.

Maca Root for Health and Vitality

Maca root has been used over the ages for its nutritional and herbal qualities. Once harvested, the Maca root was traditionally dried, then powdered. Once powdered it was either eaten or put into sacs and traded for other commodities.

Maca was used as money by ancient indigenous peoples.For thousands of years, Maca has been known as a powerful strength and libido enhancer. Maca is a powerful adaptogen, which means it has the ability to balance and stabilize the body’s cardiovascular, nervous, musculature and lymphatic systems.

Maca has the ability to provide more energy if it is needed, but without over-stimulating the body’s systems. Adaptogens also boost immunity and increase the body’s overall vitality; this is why the Maca root is so well received in the past and present.

According to Peruvian biologist Gloria Chacon de Popivici, Ph.D., Maca alkaloids act on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis and the adrenals. She has theorized that by activating these endocrine glands, Maca is able to increase energy, vitality and libido. In addition Maca improves memory, and blood oxygenation. Maca’s actions on sexual function are better researched than its effects on mood and memory.

Maca is dense in nutrition, providing high quality vitamins and minerals. Dried Maca powder is commonly available and contains 60% carbohydrates, 9% fiber, and 10% protein or higher. It has a high lipid profile for a root plant: linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid are the primary fatty acids.

Maca is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, and iron, and contains trace minerals, including zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, manganese and silica, as well as vitamins B1, B2, C and E. Maca contains nearly 20 amino acids and seven essential amino acids. Maca is also a rich source of sterols, and is higher in protein and fiber then other root vegetables.

Are there any side effects or interactions to overeating Maca? In toxicity studies conducted in the U.S., Maca showed absolutely no toxicity and no adverse pharmacological effects. Maca should be used in balance and moderation with other natural foods. Maca comes in the form of a dried powder and has gained popularity in the US and in Europe.

It is best to consume Maca in an organic root powder form. You may use a tablespoon or more of this powder in any natural beverage or food such as smoothies, teas, yogurts, puddings, broths, juices, coffees, homemade chocolates, oatmeal, muffins, cookies, breads. Maca provides nice flavor to pies and pie crusts. It is also a great emulsifier in foods bringing texture, richness and a very nice consistency.

Maca is a powerful superfood and should be consumed in moderation. Up to two tablespoons a day is a good start and, like every herb, I always suggest taking a break from it for a week after about a month of consumption.

 

I have included a recipe below that is very tasteful and delicious!

Maca Coconut Blast Shake

  • 1 tbs Maca powder
    1 tsp Vanilla Extract
    1 tbs Agave Nectar
    8 oz Coconut Milk
    3-4 ice cubes

Add ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth for about 45 seconds. Pour and serve.

Contributed by Paul E, a writer and researcher in the many areas of nutrition, organization and efficient lifestyles. He has over 20 years experience in Pharmaceuticals, Nutraceuticals and Efficiency Management. He is also an author of several books and articles, and the founder of Carlyle Collection Publishing. Please ask about his 10 week program KISS (Keep It Sustain-ably Simple) that is designed to help individuals implement a healthy and more organized lifestyle.

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12 comments on “Maca Nutrition: Ancient Peruvian Superfood

  1. Amanda Draig

    I’ve been taking 1 tsp maca powder for approximately 4 weeks. I prefer to add it to savory foods like soups and stews. Sweet foods which attempt to mask the flavour leave a bitter after taste. Anyway I didn’t notice anything for 2 weeks. Then I suddenly noticed a significant increase in stamina and motivation

  2. Frederica Allan

    Hiya, l have just started using maca root and it is excellent. I have significant improvement in my energy level + clarity in my thinking. Great stuff will friends + family about it.

  3. Margaret Ann

    I am 62, about 125 lbs, pretty healthy, but feel tired a lot. I and would like to increase the oxygen level in my blood. I’m wondering how much of this I should try and for how long. Any suggestions are appreciated!

  4. Jon Cross

    Hi …. I’m 35 years old from England. This has changed my life. I’m a long time suffer of anxiety and depression, and for many years I couldn’t work out why I was always tired with know drive.mentaly exhusted. All Ways
    down more then up. Rolling around in my own head. i always felt like the engine was running but know one was behind the wheel.
    With this plant and a few others I’ve found away through to mental strength,and well being with real good feelings about the future. It’s amazing when one day you find the light your searching for,that’s at the end of that tunnel.
    Feel free to contact me if going through the same kind of things.
    Stay happy all.

  5. Jayne

    Hi Jon Cross. I have anxiety and depression. Could you let me know how much maca you take, and what other plants you take?
    Thanks.

  6. ann

    Hi John Cross. Was a bit worried about taking maca but found your comments reassuring. Please could you say what other plants you take.

  7. Sandra chin

    Hello I all ways read about maca and want to try it because I see where people finding good results

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