If you haven’t already been introduced to raw maca root powder, you may want to get acquainted.
For centuries, maca has been referred to as “the Food of the Gods, Nature’s Viagra, and Peruvian Ginseng”. Grown in the glaciated slopes of the Peruvian Andes, it is the highest growing food plant in the world.
What is Maca?
What we know as the globally marketed maca powder is derived from a humble root vegetable that belongs to the radish and turnip family. For centuries it has been cultivated and used for everything from enhancing fertility to boosting the immune system to increasing libido, but more recently more and more people are adding it to their morning smoothies to boost the nutrition and give it an added kick – a kick in the form of the non-caffeinated burst of energy it gives you.
As a nutritional powerhouse, dried maca root contains more than 60 different nutrients, is rich in antioxidants, has 13-16% protein and a high proportion of Omega 3 and 19 essential amino acids. What makes it unique is that like the Chinese herb ginseng, it is also an adaptogen. Meaning it has the ability to raise your body’s resistance to diseases through physiological health and emotional health improvements by boosting strength, energy and vitality – making it ideal for hectic lifestyles of today. In short, it satisfies your body and makes you feel good!
Here’s a quick list of maca root’s potential benefits:
- Increases energy, endurance and stamina
- Increases libido and fertility
- Regulates hormone balance and improves skin tone due to nutrients and hormone balancing effects
- Balances mood and helps your body adapt to stress
- Reduces symptoms of PMS and menopause
- Increases memory, focus and brain power
- Improves circulation and helps to reduce aches and pains
- Stimulates thyroid function
To explore in more detail the benefits of maca root, read here and here.
Commercially, maca is available in two forms. Either powder (least expensive option) or capsules (slightly more expensive). Either of which are sold gelatinized or raw.
- The gelatinized powdered form has been heated and therefore some of the enzymes and nutrients have been altered however in this form it is supposed to be more suitable for anyone with a sensitive digestive system. This would also be the choice if you choose to use maca in baking or plan to add it to a warm beverage.
- Raw maca retains all its enzymes and other vital nutrients. Don’t add it to anything that’s really hot otherwise it will lose some of its benefits. Nature has supercharged it with an array of nourishing and healing properties, so let’s get the most out of them.
Putting Maca to use
Maca powder can simply be added to your regular rotation of smoothies, porridge, puddings, raw sweets, nut/seed milk drinks, juices, or even mixed together with pureed fruits and honey. I have also heard that there is something very delicious about the combination of maca’s malty taste together with dark chocolate.
I suggest taking a teaspoon as a good place to start. I’ve also been told that it works best when you rotate a few days on and a few days off. Listen to your body and do what works best for you!
What does Maca taste like?
The flavor can be described as being a little malty or like toasted oats with a maple or butterscotch note. It has a mild taste when combined with other foods or liquids; depending of course on what you mix it with and how much you use.
With its growing popularity, I expect we will hear more about the benefits and potential of maca root in the coming years, but if you’re concerned about the impact maca may have on your health (especially in the case of a known health issue, such as thyroid disease or hormone-sensitive conditions), best speak to your naturopath or doctor before making it part of your diet.