Maca (Lepidium meyenii) , is a herbaceous plant native to the Andes and Bolivia, which is why it is known as Andean maca. Its reputation as a superfood is given both for its undeniable nutritional qualities , and because its roots are attributed properties to increase fertility and improve libido .
Properties and Benefits of Maca
As for its appearance, it closely resembles that of a radish, although its size is slightly larger. Its cultivation is carried out at an altitude that ranges between 2700 and 4300 meters above sea level and in the Peruvian Andes it has been carried out for about 2,600 years.
If you are thinking of giving your life a healthy turn, keep reading because the maca has plenty of qualities to get hooked …
What is the Andean maca for?
For some time now, the multiple properties of this Andean root, which causes more surprise as it is known, are being made known throughout the planet, because it is a plant that serves for:
- Contribute to the recovery of energy expenditure
- Reduce tiredness
- Increase libido in men and women
- Act as a hormonal regulator at various levels (hypothalamus and pituitary)
- Improve certain pathologies that affect the infertility of men and women
- Strengthen hair
- Strengthen bone growth
- Relieve symptoms derived from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia , by increasing natural adrenaline
- Soothe problems related to women’s menstrual cycles , such as the dreaded discomforts of menopause, among others
- Act as a powerful anti-stress supplement
- Mitigate muscle and bone pain , caused by diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism or osteoarthritis
- Improve memory and concentration , by increasing brain circulation
- Delaying aging due to its antioxidant properties, which will have a positive effect on the skin
- Provide health benefits that go beyond its basic nutritional principles, being nutraceutical
Changing your daily eating routine by introducing this food into it will help you feel a reborn vitality with which you will face your daily work with greater courage, while feeling a pleasant feeling of general well-being.
The nutritional profile of the Andean maca is similar to that of cereals, with 60% carbohydrates, 10% protein, 8.5% fiber and 2.2% fat:
- 10% of maca protein powder contains 7 of the 8 essential amino acids, which makes it an excellent source of amino acids
- Its 2.2% lipids include linolenic acid, oleic acid and palmitic acid, omega 3, 6 and 9
- It is considered a remarkable source of sterols , great immune system stimulants such as phytosterols. It also contains alkaloids (macaina 1,2,3 and 4), isocyanates, glucosinates, saponins, macacides, alkalides, flavonoids, etc.
- Its richness in bioavailable minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, potassium, copper, zinc, iron, iodine, selenium, bismuth, tin, silicon and manganese, make it ideal for remineralization
- Its vitamins of group B , which are those of energy, abound in it, such as vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6. It also contains vitamin C and vitamin E
Benefits of Maca
Those who drink maca regularly agree that their consumption enhances the well-being of the body, increasing strength, endurance, sports performance and even libido! This is because it is an adaptogen that helps our body adapt naturally to stressful situations, increasing its ability to fight against physical and mental weakening.
Let us now go on to detail some other benefits that we have already noted above:
- Regulates and increases the function of the endocrine system. What we are talking about is the glands that are responsible for producing the hormones that are required for fundamental bodily and metabolic functions, that is, sexual function, fertility, brain, digestion, energy levels and physiology of the nervous system
Do not forget that hormones are responsible for regulating many aspects such as mood, sexual development, growth and tissue function, also playing an important role in the development of many diseases such as depression and even cancer.
You will achieve the best results if you take between one and three tablespoons of branded powder daily, freeing one day a week.
- Supports the adrenal glands, while maintaining the overall health of the body in the most stressful situations.
- It acts as an analgesic , because its terpenoids and saponins give it the power to relieve pain and function as a sedative and expectorant.
- For women it is the ideal remedy when it comes to relieving the annoying symptoms of both premenstrual syndrome and menopause.
- For men it is ideal in terms of increasing sexual function and fertility, so they have dubbed it the “viagra of nature.”
- It helps to fall asleep deeper .
- Activate brain function and memory .
- Defer the aging process .
- Treat prostate problems .
- It is antidemic , by stimulating the formation and maturation of red blood cells.
- It reverses vaginal dryness because it is a medicinal plant that greatly reduces the hormonal imbalances that occur at certain times of our lives, such as annoying vaginal dryness or the irritating hot flashes that accompany menopause.
- It promotes calcification and bone development in childhood.
- Improves hypothyroidism by stimulating the thyroid gland.
- It prevents osteoporosis because in menopause estrogen production is reduced, which results in bone density being reduced. Lean on the Andean maca and you can prevent its consequences due to its remineralizing power given its high content of calcium, zinc and iron. Its consumption is recommended for those suffering from fractures, osteomalacia or rickets.
- It mitigates the pains and irregularities of menstruation. Before these hormonal imbalances, the Andean maca acts contributing to regulate and correct the imbalances, since it can restore the hormonal balance, alleviating or eliminating its consequences.
- It will give you energy and vitality , thanks to its energetic values that will help you in every different stage of your life with an extra contribution of vitality that will reduce your symptoms of tiredness, which will be synonymous with good humor and optimism.
- It is a very effective stimulant for the immune system.
- It helps keep cholesterol at bay.
- It has antidepressant and anti-stress properties.
- It enhances the activity of the pancreas , so it is recommended for diabetics.
- It increases sexual desire , being considered an aphrodisiac of the strongest that exist.
Is this list enough to convince you that it is an extraordinary food? Even so, we continue …
Types of Maca
Considered by the Incas to be a “gift of the gods,” which was not only cultivated for food but used in rituals and religious ceremonies for its association with fertility, it became known in the Western world as a currency of exchange, coming from the spanish hand
Although indigenous populations have used it for centuries, in our culture it is a relatively new commercial supplement, in which a place of honor is being made given its therapeutic properties .
The 2 varieties of this plant that are usually found in the market are red and yellow, although there are others that go through purple, cream or black:
- Red Maca used mainly for osteoporosis and prostate problems. This variety is the one that concentrates the highest level of antioxidants .
Prostate problems manifest themselves in more than half of men worldwide starting at age 70. If you have a family history, these types of problems can occur around 40 years, so annual checks are recommended.
- Yellow Maca that stands out for its revitalizing properties and for improving memory and learning.
How to take the Andean maca?
It usually comes in tablets or powder. If you want to control the dose you eat better, it is better to take it as a powder because it is recommended to start with a small amount that will increase as it is very energizing , and preferably consumed in the morning. Here is a detailed article on how Andean Maca is taken.
It can be eaten alone or mixed with vegetables, broths or soups. Although Peruvians have always eaten it cooked, it is prepared in the most diverse ways. One of the ones that will attract your attention will undoubtedly be fermented with beer. Try it roasted, boiled, mixed with milk as one more cereal, pureed or dried as if it were flour.
Naturopaths and nutritionists advise their consumption by favoring the bone calcification process and stimulating the formation of the immune system, thus strengthening the immune system.
In parallel, it is marketed as a restorative tonic for those who suffer from anemia or are in the process of recovering from a disease.
The only precaution to be taken in relation to its consumption would be in cases of uncontrolled hypertension . Along with this, a dose control will be observed when there is overexcitation of the immune system.
What relationship does it have with fertility?
It has been shown that maca is a superfood that can increase fertility, which makes it extremely useful for those who want to conceive a child . Thus, Andean shamans have been using it to increase fertility in humans and animals.
The fact that it favors fertility is one of the factors causing its growing popularity. From a few decades to this part, medical studies have confirmed the increase in fertility caused by the consumption of maca in both animal species and humans. Maca helps in the same way to the production of breast milk once it has given birth.
Why is it considered the superfood of women?
This plant, known as “the Jewel of Complements” is a highly beneficial superfood for women because its antioxidant properties cause hormonal disorders to be regulated that specifically affect the female gender.
If you are a woman and you are going through a time of great changes in your body, more specifically in your hormonal system, with the disadvantages that means, trust the Andean maca and the process will be much more bearable, whether it is menstrual disorders , menopausal symptoms, pregnancy or pregnancy wishes.
The ideal complement for athletes
All athletes know the importance of consuming nutritional supplements that improve their fitness and resistance level. However, there are certain supplements of this style that produce unwanted side effects or that may even contain substances that are prohibited in the practice of certain sports.
For this group, the ideal solution is maca, as numerous analyzes have come to show that this root is the most natural way to replace these artificial products, without losing an iota of effectiveness.
Athletes will be delighted to know that this food is not limited to reducing fatigue symptoms, but that it increases muscle mass without using steroids .
As for its qualities as a nutritional supplement, it contains a higher calcium concentration than any other plant of its genus. Its vitamins and proteins are also commendable.
Side effects and safety
Maca is probably SAFE for most people when taken in small amounts. Maca is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in large quantities as a medicine (up to 3 grams daily) for up to 4 months. Maca seems to be well tolerated by most people.
Special precautions and warnings:
Pregnancy and breastfeeding : There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking maca if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
References and sources:
- Antioxidant activity of the cruciferous vegetable Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
- Ethnobiology and ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a plant from the Peruvian highlands
- Antioxidant activities of maca
- National Institutes of Health
- US National Library of Medicine