The Maca root is one of the Superfoods that is packed with nutrients and vitamins.
Scientifically known as Lepidium Meyeni, this root bulb from Peru is a herbal plant that looks like a turnip or radish. It is 8 cm in diameter, and comes in various colours i.e. red, purple, blue, cream and gold, which is the most common colour . It grows annually (as it takes seven to nine months to produce the root that is later harvested). It yields small, off-white flowers similar to those of a mustard plant, ( typical as it belongs to the mustard family). In Peru it us used as porridges, flours and soups. In more westernised societies it is mostly sold for medicinal purpose as it is an acquired taste.
The nutritional value of the Maca root increases when its dried and crushed into a fine powder. The dried root can be stored for up to seven years. It is very high in fibre, calcium, potassium (with very low salt/sodium content). It also contains essential trace elements of zinc, carbohydrates, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, as well as amino & fatty acids and iron. It stabilises fluctuating energy levels, increases endurance and stamina in your body, and helps regulate hormonal processes and your central nervous system. The root also acts as an aphrodisiac, increasing sexual strength and fertility especially in men. For women, it assists with menopause and menstrual irregularities.Since it is rich in amino acids, it is a superb memory enhancer which increases neural activity in the brain. Anaemia in the body is reduced, as Maca powder assists in the increase of blood circulation, giving your skin a clear radiant appearance.
As Maca is an adaptogen, it raises the body’s resistance to diseases through emotional and physiological health improvements. This means it can help fight the common cold, fatigue and improve your overall well-being.
This superfood has been used to alleviate symptoms associated with the following conditions:
- PMS/ Menopause
- Skin Conditions like Acne
- Weak Sex Drive
- Weak Memory
- Mood Disorder
- Sleep Disorders
In as much as there is so much good about Maca root powder, it is important to be aware that it is not a miracle worker and should not be taken in large doses to try and alleviate symptoms ‘overnight’. The old saying of ‘too much of a good thing is not good’ rings true in this case as there are certain health risks that you should be aware with the over-use of Maca powder. Goiter -Maca contains a class of compounds called glucosinolates, and excessive intake of glucosinolates results in the thyroid swelling up and thyroid function is reduced, especially if your diet is low in iodine. Symptoms include the following, coughing, difficulty in breathing and swallowing.
Avoid using it as a supplement when you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as sufficient research has not been done on women, and therefore may impose a detrimental risk to the unborn or breastfeeding baby.
Try it out
David Wolfe, one of the best world renowned nutritionists, uses Maca as an ingredient for teas, smoothies, nut milks, ice cream and cacao to bring out a nice rich flavour in your drink.
Try out this recipe for a healthier smoothie:
Strawberry Banana Maca Smoothie
2 cups almond milk
1 organic banana1 cup organic strawberries
1 tablespoon organic hemp oil
2 tablespoons organic Maca powder
1 tablespoon honey
Place all the ingredient in a Vitamix or Super blender
and blend until a smooth consistency is obtained.
Enjoy, it is delicious.