Maca – The Magical Up & Go Superfood
Yes…we are talking “up and go” in more than one way folks.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is the root of a plant that grows in the Andes of Peru. In fact it has been found in archaeological sites dating as far back as 1600 B.C. and is often refereed to as Peruvian ginseng (1).
Maca has been used for centuries in the Andes to enhance memory, fertility, balance hormones and to improve sexual function.
In fact, it’s thought of as a natural viagra!
It also supports the endocrine system (think hormonal network) and the adrenals (think stress management).
The actions of Maca are likely due to the phytosterols (kind of like plant cholesterol) or phytoestrogens (chemicals that mimic estrogen) present in the plant. Maca also contains magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E (1,2).
Benefits of Maca:
Here’s a few potential benefits of using Maca powder, keeping in mind the studies are all small sample size or on animals so are not conclusive.
One 12-week double blind placebo-controlled, randomised study found that maca improved sexual desire in men. So for the women out there that want more action in the bedroom, try feeding some to your fellas if you know what I’m saying…wink, wink, nudge, nudge. (1)
Another study tested maca over 4 months resulting in increased sperm count and function (7).
34 women were given organic maca in a double-blind, randomized, 4 month trial. Results included a balance of hormone levels and relief from symptoms of menopause (such as hot flushes and night sweats). Maca could be a potential alternative to hormone replacement therapy (4)
Another study demonstrated proapoptotic (leading to cell death) and anti-proliferative (inhibits cell growth) actions on the prostate of rats, with a reduction in prostate size (5).
Another study, reviewed varieties of maca on rats with all varieties showing antidepressant activity. Now I ask you, how does one know when a rat is depressed? Beats me! (6)
Maca may increase energy levels just like coffee, but without the potentially harmful impact on the adrenals.
So…get your Maca on peoples!
Want to know how to use Maca? Try this Maca energy ball recipe…
- 1 cup of dates, pitted
- 1 TB of raw honey
- 1/2 cup of almonds
- 2 TB of Maca powder
- 1 TB of chia seeds
- 1 TB of almond butter
- 2 TB of coconut oil, melted
*Psssst….you can buy Maca at any health food shop, or online HERE