What’s the Deal with Maca?

50488470

Maca powder is derived from the Maca plant and is thought to have many benefits unlike any other.

What is Maca?

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is an herbaceous biennial plant of the cabbage (crucifer) family. This means that it is an herb that takes two years to complete its life cycle. It’s found in the Andes Mountain range in Peru, growing 12,500–14,400 ft (3,800–4,400 m) above sea level in temperatures ranging from 14°F to 55°F (-10°C to 13°C).

23657042145_afb70afe57_o

The plant is grown for its fleshy hypocotyl (the section between the seed leaves and root) which is harvested as the Maca root. This is most commonly ground up and sold as Maca powder.

6978678713_3be4f8b716_b

Maca hypocotyls can be cream colored, red, purple, blue, black, or green due to exclusive propagation. Although a wide array of colors are attainable, the cream colored variety is the most widely grown due to its enhanced sweetness and size.

What Are the Benefits of Maca?

One reason that Maca is so popular is that it is extremely nutrient rich. It contains large quantities of sought over vitamins and minerals, which you can read about in full down below!

Although this is great, it also has the potential to be harmful. One should be sparing with the powder when beginning to add it into his or her diet. Start by using only 1/4 to 1 tsp per day as a sudden increase in ingestion of the plant root can lead to stomach irritation.

  1. Calcium

    You might refer to Maca as a vegan cow, as the powder has a higher calcium level than whole milk! Less than 2 Tbsp of Maca powder contains 7% of the calcium RDA. This is a 4% increase compared to whole milk1,2.

  2. Vitamin C

    The amount of vitamin C found in this superfood is also extremely high. Less than 2 Tbsp of Maca powder contains a whopping 133% of the vitamin’s RDA1.

    You definitely don’t want to overdue it with maca powder. Too much of anything isn’t good for you; but, a vitamin C overdose can lead to diarrhea and nausea. Also, if you are pregnant be cautious because severe effects are plausible from vitamin overdose.

  3. Iron

    That same amount of almost 2 Tbsp also happens to fulfill 23% of the iron RDA1! Fun fact: adolescents tend to be deficient in both iron and calcium.

    Iron is important for proper growth and maintenance of the human body. It also provides life-giving oxygen through its role in red blood cell production3. It’s safe to say that the nutrient is fairly important.

  4. Amino Acids

    Maca root contains a total of 17 amino acids! Amino acids are important because they are the building blocks of protein. A large portion of our cells, muscles and tissue is made up of amino acids.

    These acids aid in the transportation and storage of nutrients. Adequate amino acid levels means proper functioning of organs, glands, tendons and arteries. They’re also essential for healing wounds and repairing muscle, bone, skin and hair tissue4.

  5. Boosted Libido

    Andean Maca is one of the most commonly cited natural drugs for treating sexual dysfunction. A study testing young adults with erectile dysfunction found that patients treated with Maca experienced a significant improvement5. Maca has been consumed by Peruvians for thousands of years to increase sexual desire. The plant is now on the rise as one of the world’s greatest natural aphrodisiacs6.

  6. Increase in Endurance

    The boosted libido doesn’t just increase your sex drive. These benefits can also increase your energy and endurance7 levels during your exercise regimen. Although there is no scientifically proven evidence for an increase in energy, Maca root has been used by peruvians to sustain day-long mountain treks for hundreds, if not thousands, of years!

Sources
1http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/2193874/0
2http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/69/2
3https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/minerals/health-benefits-of-iron.html
4http://www.aminoacid-studies.com/amino-acids/what-are-amino-acids.html
5Zenico, T., et al. “Subjective Effects Of Lepidium Meyenii (Maca) Extract On Well-Being And Sexual Performances In Patients With Mild Erectile Dysfunction: A Randomised, Double-Blind Clinical Trial.” Andrologia 41.2 (2009): 95-99. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.
6Sifferlin, Alexandra. “Natural Aphrodisiacs.” Time 186.7 (2015): 27. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.
7Kilham, Chris. “Peruvian ‘Power Plant’.” Prevention 54.6 (2002): 56. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
 


2 Comments

Leave a Reply