Maca is the buzzword of the day, but what is this superfood, and what can it do for me?
The superfood gaining popularity in today’s health-conscious community is Maca root. But what is it exactly? Where does it come from? What are the benefits? Who should take it? Here we’ll take a more in depth look into just what this “superfood” you might have heard about is and why it might be beneficial for you to take!
Maca is a root that comes from South America, specifically the Peruvian Andes and Bolivia. It is believed to have been domesticated about 1300–2000 years ago by the Natives there. The Andean people commonly use maca root both for its high levels of nutrition as well as a medicinal herb used to treat certain conditions such as fatigue, anemia, constipation and tuberculosis. Interestingly, because the root was particularly noted for its libido enhancing effects, it was used as a form of currency during the Incan empire.
Maca is a root similar to turnips or radishes, and is grown in cooler temperatures and at high elevations. And, like other root vegetables, can vary quite a bit in color, size and shape.
Considerations for Use of Maca Root
While those native to the area where Maca is found typically tend to consume the root in a cooked form, not in a raw state. Most of the root found in the United States is in a powdered form. An important consideration to be aware of is to try to get maca from an organic and gelatinized form, not a raw powder. Gelatinized maca has been cooked to remove the enzymes that can cause gut distress. Raw maca contains some elements that can be irritating to the digestive system.
Additionally, because maca root interacts with hormones, it is not advised to take it daily as such a practice can lead to hormone imbalances and associated problems such as hot flashes, headaches, bloating, and acne. Instead, a better approach is to cycle the use of maca, such as a week on, followed by a week or two without. Furthermore, maca does affect the thyroid and can be goitrogenic, which means daily, or regular overconsumption of it can lead to a goiter.
Because maca interacts with the thyroid, those who are on thyroid medication should avoid consuming it. Also, maca can aggravate already-existing thyroid problems.
While maca root is a food, it can also be used as a supplement. Whether taken as a food or supplement, it’s important not to overdo this root. Because of maca’s effects on the thyroid, hormones, and other systems of the body, it can affect different people in varying ways, so make sure to listen to your body.
Benefits of Maca Root
Vitamins and Minerals:
Maca root is high in many vitamins including the B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin E, and is also high in many minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, iodine, phosphorus, and other trace minerals
Maca is also high in other nutrients including phytochemicals, fatty acids, fiber, and amino acids
Studies show that maca can help balance and regulate the hormones of the body, and therefore can have a multitude of benefits such as treating or preventing acne, boosting fertility, and boosting libido.
Maca has different elements that make it helpful for boosting energy and stamina. It also seems to help boost levels of testosterone.
Because of its effects on hormones, maca is said to help relieve the unpleasant symptoms associated with menopause. It can help decrease hot flashes, increase energy, and can balance out hormone levels.
Also due to its effects on hormones, maca can help relieve the unpleasant symptoms related to menstruation and can decrease or eliminate cramping, can help prevent heavy bleeding, decrease PMS, and can regulate the cycle.
Maca is believed to help alleviate problems of depression, without any of the side effects that you’ll get from medications. This is due to the fact that maca root can help boost serotonin production in the body.
Maca root acts an adaptogen, which means it has the ability to increase the body’s resistance to disease.
Because of the boost to collagen synthesis, which helps the skin to stay more elastic, firm and youthful, maca is believed to help give you beautiful and healthy looking skin by nourishing and softening the skin.
The benefits of taking or consuming maca root can be many, as long as taken appropriately. Look for an organic and gelatinized form of maca and start with small dosages, about ½ tsp, and increase as you gauge how your body reacts.
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Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research.. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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