7 Top Health Benefits of Maca Root
Here are the 7 top maca root health benefits. An ancient Peruvian root crop, maca is gaining popularity as a supplement and superfood. Maca root belongs to the radish family, and is most commonly available in powder form. Grown in the mountains of Peru, it has been called “Peruvian ginseng.”
There are no serious known side effects of maca root powder, but like any other superfood or supplement, it shouldn’t be taken in large amounts. When you first start using maca root, 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. For more on this, see 5 Easy and Tasty Ways to Use Maca Powder in Food.
Please be aware that other than the nutritional benefits provided by the vitamins and minerals, the other benefits are largely anecdotal, as maca has not been subjected to very many formal studies.
If you’d like to compare various brands of maca, you can do so by exploring this page on Amazon.com.
1 Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients
Maca is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids (20 different kinds — that’s just about all of them!), and antioxidants. Glucosinates are just one of those antioxidants — the same substances that make broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables so good for you.
2 Sexual function, libido, and fertility
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, though one of the more studied aspects of maca is its role in male fertility.
According to an article in Web MD, The Truth About Maca, professionals differ on the effectiveness of maca, especially for libido. Some are skeptical, believing that it’s little more than a placebo. Others strongly believe in its effectiveness. You can read the entire article here.
3 Menstrual issues and menopause
Maca has been used to relieve menstrual issues and the side effects of going through menopause. Some women have used it to alleviate cramps and hot flashes, much as it has been used by indigenous South American cultures for millennia. Outcomes in this area are largely anecdotal, and shouldn’t be used in place of consulting with a practitioner.
4 Physical and mental energy
Many regular users of maca experience an increase in energy level within days of beginning its use. It’s also known for increasing stamina and endurance, which is why some athletes take maca for peak performance. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime, supplementing with maca may help to preserve muscle mass. Maca is also used by those seeking to sharpen and expand mental activity and memory.
Maca has been used as a remedy for ongoing fatigue. 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 as well.
5 General health and disease prevention
As an adaptogen and tonic, maca may boost 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. Maca is also believed to promote prostate health. The nutrients in maca have long been valued for keeping bones and teeth healthy and help heal wounds more quickly. Bear in mind that most of these claims, while certainly not unfounded, have not been sufficiently studied.
Be very cautious if you have a cancer related to hormones, like testicular and ovarian, among others. If you have these cancers, liver issues, or high blood pressure, you should consult with a professional before taking maca.
6 Skin health
Maca has been used for skin issues. For some users, 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 and hormone balance
For those struggling with anxiety, stress, depression, or mood swings, maca may help alleviate these symptoms, though the evidence for this is anecdotal and its use shouldn’t replace professional treatment.
Hormone balance is key to regulating sexual function, mood regulation, disease prevention, and much more. Maca’s ability to balance hormones is often credited to its stimulation of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. It may be the phytonutrients contained in maca that work to balance the endocrine system.
More on about maca on VegKitchen:
- 5 Easy and Tasty Ways to Use Maca Powder in Food.
- Frequently Asked Questions About Maca Root.
- Maca — Ancient Peruvian Superfood
- Avocado Chocolate Maca Mousse and review of Soul Organics maca
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.
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