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Maca (Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum) is a radish-like superfood 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. Want to know how it can help you get your maca on? Read on. Here are some benefits of maca.

5 Awesome Benefits of Maca Root

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 a fantastic adaptogen. Adaptogens are herbs that help the body respond to stresses and support proper physiological function. They’re often used in complementary and alternative medicine to support balanced energy levels. There are many reasons to incorporate this amazing superfood into your diet, but we narrowed it down to five evidence-based 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 readily 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 the antioxidants glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD), which fight free radicals and prevent cell damage. This comes in handy for the other benefits! Read on to find out.

2 – Supports The Immune System

All those antioxidants and complex mineral compositions make maca a superfood powerhouse with an excellent capacity for supporting the immune system. Maca increases white blood cells, which are your protectors against foreign invaders. [2]

Research conducted in test tubes showed that maca has antiviral activity against the flu. [3] It has excellent potential as a nutraceutical in protecting against several chronic illnesses. [4] These are already great reasons to have it in your diet! It’s also an anti-inflammatory food shown in studies to help the body become more resistant against 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. [7Seems like an easy add for just about any health condition.

3 – May Alleviates Menstrual and Menopause Symptoms

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. 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 by promoting optimism and enthusiasm for life. Check out this Happy Hormone Chunky Monkey Smoothie recipe.

4 – Supports Fertility and May Act as an 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] Those dealing with infertility or sexual dysfunction may find maca to be a good support. 

5 – Supports Energy Levels

Maca is excellent for increasing energy levels and improving overall well-being. Incorporating maca into your diet has had immediate effects of an energy boost 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 fairly 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!). [11Go order some! See for yourself!

Get Your Maca On

Who wouldn’t be happier with more energy, balanced hormones, and better sexual health? It’s easy to incorporate into your diet to experience its beneficial effects. 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 incredible superfood grows strong in a harsh environment, which means it’s resilient in the face of stress. It passes those benefits on to you as it helps combat oxidative 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 varieties from different growing regions don’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 video and article on another favorite superfood, Goji Berries:

Originally posted April 13, 2018. Updated June 18, 2024.


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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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