If you have asked around for natural supplements that have multiple benefits, maca powder might have been one of the options that you are given. What is maca? It is a root vegetable, similar to radish, that is native to the Andes of Peru. The scientific name of the vegetable is Lepidium meyenii and it belongs to the radish family. People find the taste to be earthy and nutty. Generally, maca root is consumed in powder form. It is also available as a liquid extract and in capsules. People add it to their oatmeal and smoothies.
For thousands of years, maca root has been used for its medicinal properties. But it is only recently that it is taking center stage around the world as a newfound superfood and supplement. Researchers are also coming up with studies which prove that its status is well-deserved. Studies are also showing that there are even more health benefits associated with this powerful root vegetable than earlier thought. However, it is important to note that the research on the root vegetable is still in its early stages.
1. It Is Rich In Nutrients And Antioxidants
One of the main reasons that maca powder has been growing in popularity recently is because it contains several nutrients and antioxidants. Full of amino acids, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamins (including B1, C, B2, and E), a dash of this powerful powder can mean that your normal diet is much more balanced. Out of the 20 amino acids that the maca powder posses, eight are essential amino acids which the body cannot produce and needs to get from the diet. Amino acids are crucial for the breaking down of food and for tissue repair.
2. It Helps Keep Your Energy Up
Maca can help stabilize blood glucose level, which is why people report an increase in energy after having it. Usually, when your blood sugar increases, your body produces more insulin to try and correct it. This will result in an energy crash. With the help of maca in your diet, your sugar levels will be more stable and thus your energy level will also be more stable, with fewer peaks and crashes.
3. It Raises Your Libido
Some research has linked having maca powder to balancing hormones and better sexual health. People have been using it for increased libido.1 2 It is definitely not a cure for all sexual problems but benefits those who have a healthy lifestyle with exercise and a good diet.
Maca can also enhance fertility in men as it increases sperm production and improves sperm quality.3
4. It Boosts Your Brain Power
The fatty acids present in maca help support brain activity. Omega-3s, in particular, help in rational thinking, brain function, cognitive skills, and analytical skills.4 Some research even shows that having enough omega-3s in your diet aids in treating neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.5
5. It Improves Your Mood
Studies have linked having maca to uplifting your mood. It elevates the symptoms of depression and reduces anxiety. It has been shown to have particular effect in menopausal women. Plant compounds called flavonoids is said to be the reason behind these effects on the mood.6
A Word Of Caution
Although having maca is considered safe for most people, Peruvian natives recommend boiling the vegetable first because they believe that having fresh maca root may have adverse health effects. Those who have thyroid problems are also adviced to be careful about taking this supplement because it may interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland if you already have impaired thyroid function. Breastfeeding and pregnant women should also be careful about taking maca (doctors must be consulted before taking maca).
|↑1||Dording, Christina M., Pamela J. Schettler, Elizabeth D. Dalton, Susannah R. Parkin, Rosemary SW Walker, Kara B. Fehling, Maurizio Fava, and David Mischoulon. “A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of maca root as treatment for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in women.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).|
|↑2||Gonzales, Gustavo F. “Ethnobiology and ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a plant from the Peruvian highlands.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012 (2012).|
|↑3||Lee, Myeong Soo, Hye Won Lee, Sooseong You, and Ki-Tae Ha. “The use of maca (Lepidium meyenii) to improve semen quality: A systematic review.” Maturitas 92 (2016): 64-69.|
|↑4||Do omega-3s protect your thinking skills? Harvard Health Publishing|
|↑5||Fotuhi, Majid, Payam Mohassel, and Kristine Yaffe. “Fish consumption, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and risk of cognitive decline or Alzheimer disease: a complex association.” Nature Reviews Neurology 5, no. 3 (2009): 140.|
|↑6||Brooks, Nicole A., Gisela Wilcox, Karen Z. Walker, John F. Ashton, Marc B. Cox, and Lily Stojanovska. “Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content.” Menopause 15, no. 6 (2008): 1157-1162.|