What is Maca?
Maca is food, a root actually. Cultivated for thousands of years in the high altitudes of South America mainly in Peru, it boasts many nutritional as well as medicinal properties.
An adaptogen, Maca root (lepidium meyenii) is a member of the cruciferous family (think cabbage and broccoli). It is considered by many to be one of the world’s natural “super foods”. Harvested Maca is typically available as a ground power.
Maca’s Nutritional 411
OK, you may be thinking, so what’s exactly in Maca? Let me tell you, it is loaded with amazing stuff.
Comprised of 18% protein, 76.5% carbohydrates, 5% fat, and 8.5% fiber (ingestible carbohydrates) Maca packs a powerful punch of nutrition. Maca includes over 20 amino acids including 8 essential amino acids, Vitamins B-1, B-2, C and E, Calcium, Copper, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Selenium, Zinc, Sulphur, Sodium, and Iron. Additionally, this little root is a source of phytonutrients and also contains 20 free-form fatty acids (such as lauric, linolenic, palmitic acid, oleic, and steric acid). Yup, it’s loaded with goodness.
So, that’s the nutrition, what does it do?
Maca’s Natural Support of Menopausal Symptoms
Modern medical research validates what has been practiced culturally for thousands of years in support of menopausal symptoms. I LOVE when this confirmation happens.
Let’s face it, mood swings associated with menopause are not only troubling, they can exhaust you. One study’s preliminary findings show that Maca reduces psychological symptoms including anxiety and depression.
Due to its high content of amino acids, Maca supports hormone balance, endocrine and thyroid function enhancement and immune system support. Since the adrenal gland and thyroid gland are major players during perimenopause and menopause their support is critical to ensure balance.
Because Maca is an adaptogen, over time it can lead to several benefits. These positive effects are greater energy, stamina, clarity of mind and spirit and the ability to handle stress. Through physical and emotional support, adaptogens raise the physical body’s state of resistance.
It isn’t exactly known why Maca has this energy boosting benefit. One theory is that it helps balance blood sugar levels. By doing so, this stabilization decreases energy spikes and dips.
So, what does it taste like? Maca does have a slight sweetness and a little nutty taste. Some people think it has a little cinnamon or nutmeg quality. Try it in some of your different recipes to see what you think. I suggest some in your morning protein shake. Try this one: Sex Drive Smoothie
So let’s wrap it up
- Maca is safe. It has been used for thousands of years, but there is still more to learn. If you have specific questions, please consult your health care practitioner.
- If you are a geek – check out Maca studies
- If you are interested to learn where I get my Maca, contact me.
- Check out other adaptogens that help in perimenopause and menopause in this blog post.