Say what? Here’s another up and coming superfood. Maca is a turnip like vegetable native to the Andes (for the Geography challenged, it is located in the mountains of Peru). Maca has been used by the native Andes population for thousands of years both as a food staple and a powerful medicinal ingredient.
Locals of Peru and the Andes calls this plant the Peruvian Ginseng. It is grown and found on top of the Andes mountains upwards of 8,000 feet above sea level.
The locals are well versed in the medicinal and health benefits of this wonder herb for thousands of years. Science is just now slowly unraveling its mysteries and gifts that in can offer us.
Mental Benefits of Maca
Benefit 1: Helps Manage Anxiety and Depression
Maca is packed with flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidants commonly found in vegetables in trace amounts. You are probably aware how important antioxidants are in the fight against free radicals and cancer.
However, flavonoids are starting to be seen as more than a cancer fighting substance. In a study conducted by UC Davis found out that these flavonoids are actually good for our brains.
When the brain is not being damaged by these free radicals, there is a significant improvement in mood and other symptoms of depression.
Benefit 2: Improves Learning and Fights Memory Loss
As mentioned, these flavonoids have positive impact on our cognitive processes. Moreover, there several studies that suggest Maca can greatly improve our learning capability and help fight against memory loss.
A review study on medicinal plants used in the treatment of learning and memory impairments which includes Maca, it was suggested that compounds in Maca help in managing Alzheimer’s disease.
In another study, it was suggested that there is plenty of evidence that improved memory and learning were seen on mice introduced to Maca.
These studies point out how our brain could possible benefit from the use of Maca and its derivatives.
Benefit 3: Helps relieve Menopausal Symptoms
Menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, chills, mood swings, weight gain and sleep problems. These symptoms are caused by a natural decline in the reproductive hormones of women by around the age of 51 years old and older.
The good news is, some fans of Maca suggest that this superfood regulates female hormones.
Interestingly, a study published in the International Journal of Biomedical Science, subject who are menopausal were asked to take pills containing Maca and they claimed that their symptoms such as hot flashes, chills and mood swings were reduced.
Anti-Cancer and Ant-diabetic Properties of Maca
Benefit 4: Maca Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation may sound harmless to you. It could mean a simple injury, that time you bumped your head or that nasty insect bite. But chronic inflammation in the body can be disastrous and even life threatening.
Chronic inflammation in the body has been linked to some cancers such as lung, esophagus, cervix and the digestive tract. In 2014, a Harvard study found out that individuals with high levels of inflammation have 63% more likely to develop colorectal cancers than those who have normal levels.
Maca has been known to reduce levels of inflammation for people who regularly take them. According to a study of 50 people, those who consumed maca regularly have lower levels and instance of inflammation than those who do not take them.
Benefit 5: Promotes Antioxidant production
Many of you may already know the wonderful effects of antioxidants. They help fight of free radicals in the body, the bad stuff that causes most cancers.
In one study, “Antioxidants act as radical scavenger, hydrogen donor, electron donor, peroxide decomposer, singlet oxygen quencher, enzyme inhibitor, synergist, and metal-chelating agents.”
Maca root is also known to promote and stimulate antioxidant production in the body. Antioxidants such as such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase are increased when Maca root is regularly consumed.
Benefit 6: Reduces the Effect of Sun Damage
Too much exposure to sunlight causes skin cancer. This is a widely known fact. Sunlight can alter the genetic material in the body and cause uncontrollable growth of cancerous cells in the skin.
Although there are only a few studies that supports this, one study in particular found out that certain kinds of maca variants (red, black and yellow) were found to be effective in reducing sun damaged skin in mice who were exposed to UV radiation.
Benefit 7: Regulates Blood Sugar
Diabetes is a steadily growing health concern in the US. Currently, more than 100 million people are living with diabetes according to the CDC.
One of the main causes of diabetes is our bodies’ in ability to regular blood sugar. The good thing is Maca plant can definitely help you with that.
A study conducted in Lima, Peru, showed that Maca was able to lower glucose levels in the blood of almost 200 adults who have taken part in the study.
With lower levels of glucose the risk of diabetes and its symptoms are significantly reduced as well.
Benefits of Maca in the Bedroom
Benefit 8: Promotes Sex Drive
Our everyday stress and state of mind can affect our sexual desire. A decreased sex drive means less frequent sex. This can greatly impact our lovelife.
Fortunately, Maca has plenty of benefits to make our sex lives better.
Maca is not called the “Peruvian Ginseng” for nothing. One of its widely known benefits is that it increases libido especially in men.
Plenty of scientific studies support this. For example, a study conducted in 2002, men who took 3 grams of Maca per day claimed to have increased sex drive than those who only took placebo.
Benefit 9: Boosts Fertility in Men
Like I said Maca has a variety of benefits in bed and overall sexual health.
It is also known to boost fertility in men. A journal review from the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine mentioned that Maca improves semen quality.
Peruvian Ginseng indeed…
Sources and Recipes
Maca root is a versatile superfood. It can be added to any of your favorite food in its powder form.
Here are some ways for you to enjoy Maca root’s health benefits.
This is probably the easiest way to consume Maca. Simply add 1 to 2 teaspoons of Maca Powder like this on available here on Amazon, to your favorite coffee recipe.
You can also sprinkle Maca Powder on your daily cup of joe. It will complement well with the flavor of coffee as maca is a bit nutty and with a hint of caramel taste.
Another way of enjoying Maca and its wonderful health benefits. Try this recipe known as the “Green Goddess” Smoothie – kale, frozen banana, nut butter, almond milk, collagen, and of course, maca powder. Again, Maca’s nutty flavor enhances the taste of this awesome smoothie!
You may also add it to your favorite dessert. Simple put whipped cream on top of your favorite cupcake and sprinkle liberally on top. If you want more you can mix one tablespoon of Maca powder for every three tablespoons of whipped cream.
In a Nutshell…
Maca root herb is a very versatile and with plenty of medicinal properties. It is starting to become a rising star in the superfood family.
Maca root’s health benefits are very holistic. It can help improve brain function, reduces risk of cancer, regulates blood sugar and of course it is a natural aphrodisiac made to spice things up in the bedroom!