Superfood of the Week: Maca!
Maca has been cultivated and grown high in the Peruvian Andes of South America for approximately 2,600 years. Legend has it that during the height of the Incan empire, Incan warriors would consume maca before entering into battle to make them fiercely strong, but after conquering a city, the Incan soldiers were prohibited from using maca, to protect the women from the excessive sexual desires of the men.
Growing at an altitude of 9,000-10,000 feet above sea level, it makes it the highest-altitude crop in the world.
Maca’s reputation as a powerful strength and stamina enhancer as well as libido-enhancing superfood stretches back into history. It is a powerful adaptogen, which means it has the ability to balance and stabilize the body’s glandular-hormonal system, nervous system, cardiovascular system and musculature. As an adaptogen, maca can provide more energy if it is needed, but if it is not, it will not over-stimulate. According to most studies, adaptogens also boost immunity and increase the body’s overall vitality by 10-15 percent. Rather than addressing a specific symptom, adaptogens improve the overall adaptability of the whole body to challenging situations and stress.
• Increases Energy
• Increases Endurance
• Increases Oxygen in the Blood
• Increases Physical Strength
• Increases Libido
• Increases Neurotransmitter Production
• Supports the endocrine system, the adrenals and the thyroid.
• Improves one’s mood, and helps support healthy hormone production.
Maca is known to improve the following conditions:
• Chronic fatigue
• Infertility and sterility in humans and livestock
• Lack of libido
• Menopausal symptoms
• Menstrual discomfort and disorders
• Prostate problems
• Poor memory
• Stomach cancer
• Stress tension
Rich in Nutrients & Delicious
Maca is rich in calcium, magnesium, phospherous, potassium, sulfur, sodium, and iron and contains trace minerals including zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, bismuth, manganese, tin and silicon. It is also rich in vitamins B1, B2, C, and E. Maca is a rich source of immune-enhancing sterols and it is delicious!
“Women with menstrual irregularities using maca have experienced greater consistency, while women with hot flashes, mood swings, and most associated pre-menopause and menopause symptoms have diminished dramatically using maca.” –Beth M. Ley, PhD | Maca: Adaptogen and Hormonal Regulator
Fertility and Pregnancy
Maca is one of the greatest superfoods not only because of its caliber of nutrients, amino acids, and fatty acids, but also because it helps to increase fertility so if you’re having trouble conceiving a child, maca is a great superfood to add to your diet. After pregnancy, maca also helps women to produce more breast milk.
Improves Prostate Health
For men wishing to regain their prostate health and sexual vigor, maca may be mixed with diindolylmethane [(DIM) a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as brocolli, kale, and brussels sprouts that help regulate hormone balance and cell behavior.]
In David Wolfe’s book on Superfoods, he mentions that he’s had numerous individuals report to him that the regular use of maca have either decreased or eliminated their thyroid issues.
What types of Maca to look for
Only select reputable, organic brands of maca root—not other parts of the plant. Look for dried powdered maca root, red maca, black maca, yellow maca, maca chocolate and energy bars, and liquid concentrates. Ideally you will need to ensure maca product you buy comes from a dependable supply and it has not been too processed (not irradiated, no fillers).
My favorite place to shop for super foods is SunFoods. They offer quality organic Maca products:
How to Use it
Since it’s a superfood, it can be used in greater quantities than medicinal herbs. Maca is generally purchased as a dried root powder. You can used a tablespoon or more of this powder in smoothies, teas, nut milks, dressings, deserts, soups, and puddings. However, it is a powerful superfood, so start with half the recommended amount for the first few times you use it.
Source 1: Maca: Adaptogen and Hormonal Regulator by Beth M. Ley PhD
Source 2: Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future by David Wolfe
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