Maca (Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum) is a radish-like superfood that’s accustomed to adversity and ready to take on your body’s stresses. Where other plants shy away from growing under challenging conditions, maca root does its best under these conditions. It grows in hail, frost, high altitudes, and prolonged droughts. This hardy root vegetable grows high in the Andes Mountains under harsh conditions to become rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can help your body.
Peruvians have used maca as food and medicine for thousands of years. They found it has many benefits, and now the health world is catching on too. Peruvian maca is proving itself to be an amazing adaptogen. Adaptogens are herbs that help the body respond to stresses and support proper physiological function. There are many reasons to incorporate this amazing superfood into your diet, but we narrowed it down to five.
Want to know how it can help you get your maca on? Read on. Here are some benefits of maca.
5 Awesome Maca Benefits
1 -Packed with Nutrients and Antioxidants
The best maca has lots of nutrients and antioxidants from growing in the hardy soil of the Andes mountains. A cruciferous vegetable like broccoli and cabbage, maca contains significant amounts of easily absorbable forms of calcium, potassium, and phosphorous. It includes a variety of 31 trace minerals, including iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, sodium, and iodine.
There are almost 60 phytonutrients that help maca grow into a superfood that brings you fantastic health benefits! (1) Maca has 20 amino acids, including eight essential amino acids. These amino acids help boost antioxidants glutathione and superoxide dismutase that fight free radicals and prevent cell damage. This comes in handy for the other amazing benefits! Read on to find out.
2- Supports The Immune System
All those antioxidants and complex mineral compositions make maca a superfood powerhouse with a great capacity for supporting the immune system. Maca increases white blood cells that are your protectors against foreign invaders. (2)
Research conducted in test tubes showed that maca has an antiviral capacity that can protect the flu. (3) It has excellent potential as a nutraceutical in preventing several diseases. (4) These are already great reasons to have it in your diet! It’s also an anti-inflammatory food that has been shown in studies to help prevent cancer. (5) (6)
Those taking the Health-Related Quality of Life Questionnaire in Central Peruvian Highlands who ate maca had higher scores than those who didn’t. (7) Seems like an easy add for health.
3- Alleviates Menstrual Issues and Menopause
Peruvians have used maca for centuries to help women with menstrual issues, hormonal imbalances, and menopausal symptoms. This great adaptogen helps women adapt to the monthly changes by supporting balanced hormone levels. It contains no detrimental plant hormones, but maca extracts may act like estrogen in the body. According to a randomized, double-blind study that looked at symptoms of menopause, after using maca for two months, women reported a reduction in symptoms, including hot flashes. (8) It may also work as a natural antidepressant without the side effects as it promotes optimism and enthusiasm for life. Check out this Happy Hormone Chunky Monkey Smoothie recipe.
4-Increased Fertility and Aphrodisiac
Maca has been called the Peruvian ginseng for a good reason. The effects of maca can be potent! When your hormones are supported, so is your fertility, and maca can help with libido too! Maca has increased libido by 180% and sperm count by 200% in scientific studies. (9) If you’re hoping for a baby, that libido will help you because it’s easier to get pregnant if you’re in the mood for some lovin’. A review of 20 studies found that:
“Maca has high effectiveness in improving sexual function, increasing libido and improving erectile dysfunction; also helps reproductive health, increasing sperm count and sperm motility, enhances the anticancer action, favorable effects on menopause symptoms and improves inflammatory responses.” (10)
Maca is excellent for increasing energy levels and improving overall well-being. Incorporating maca into your diet has had immediate effects of increased energy for many. Legends say Incan warriors found the impacts on strength and endurance advantageous. They ate it before battles. Later, the Spanish Conquistadors found it so helpful they demanded it as payment instead of gold. That makes the best maca powder today seem pretty inexpensive! Considering a pound of gold today is worth over $20,000. Now you can get maca shipped to you in two days for less than $20! It’s a deal.
A modern experiment tested rats given black maca and found it delayed fatigue in forced swimming tests. Another investigation examined trained cyclists over 14 days of maca supplementation and found improved performance (and a self-reported increase in sexual desire!). (11) Go get it! See for yourself!
Get Your Maca On
Who wouldn’t be happier with more energy, balanced hormones, and more desire? It’s easy to incorporate into your diet to see how it can support your health. It has a mild nutty flavor, often described as earthy, malty, or butterscotch. You can add maca root powder to a smoothie, smoothie bowl, salad, or this banana bread recipe.
This amazing superfood grows strong in a harsh environment to help you and your body handle stress. Be sure you’re getting it from a company that sources it from the Andes Mountains in Peru. As demand has grown, it’s been produced in other locations. But maca from other growing regions doesn’t have the same potential. Here’s our favorite. Growing in harsh conditions strengthens the maca’s effects and helps you conquer the world!
Don’t worry; the good stuff isn’t over. We have more! Check out Dr. Patrick Flynn’s Quick Tip and article on another favorite superfood, Goji Berries:
- Maca!: Adaptogen and Hormonal Regulator – Beth M. Ley – Google Books
- Maca: An Andean crop with multi-pharmacological functions – ScienceDirect
- Antiviral activity of maca (Lepidium meyenii) against human influenza virus – ScienceDirect
- Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands (hindawi.com)
- Flavonolignans and Other Constituents from Lepidium meyenii with Activities in Anti-inflammation and Human Cancer Cell Lines | Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (acs.org)
- Medicinal Plants from Peru: A Review of Plants as Potential Agent…: Ingenta Connect
- Therapeutic Foods – Google Books
- Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study – PMC (nih.gov)
- Maca!: Adaptogen and Hormonal Regulator – Beth M. Ley – Google Books
- [PDF] Systematic Review On The Use Of Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) In Sexual Dysfunction | Semantic Scholar
- A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen – ScienceDirect