Maca: Health Benefits and Everything Else

Maca is a root grown in high elevations in Peru
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A coworker recently introduced me to the idea of taking Maca as a health benefit, good for improving focus on work. There are different colors of Maca root, and its worth doing some research to determine what type of Maca is best for your situation. But also because Maca can only be effectively grown in certain regions of the world, it's good practice to know what pitfalls to watch out for when buying Maca.

What is Maca?

  • Maca is a superfood originating from Peru in high plateaus of the Andes Mountains
  • Grows at altitudes over 13,000 feet above sea level
  • The Maca root is shaped and sized similar to a radish
  • Scientifically known as Lepidium meyenii
  • It's a cruciferous vegetable similar to broccoli and cauliflower
  • Known as the Peruvian Ginseng

Maca Nutritional Value

  • Protein: 13-16%
  • Fiber: 8.5%
  • 19 Amino Acids
  • Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, C, D
  • Minerals: Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Zinc, Sodium, Potassium, Calcium
  • Macaenes and Macamides

Benefits of Maca

  • Balance Hormones: Known as an Endocrine Adaptogen... meaning it doesn't contain hormones, but contains nutrient necessary to produce hormones
  • Rich in Antioxidants: Maca neutralizes free radicals which may help prevent chronic diseases and neurological diseases.
  • Enhances Energy, Mood and Memory: More awake, more energized, more driven, improve stamina, better brain function
  • Improves Female Sexual Health (estrogen levels): Improve sexual dysfunction, boost sex drive, improve sexual libido. Help reduce symptoms like infertility, weight gain and bloating. Alleviate symptoms of menopause.
  • Boosts Male Fertility: Improve sexual desire, improve sperm quality, improve sperm motility
  • Reduce Prostate: Common problem in older men, Maca may reduce prostate size that makes it easier to pass urine.

Taking Maca

  • Can be taken as a pill.
  • To help with absorption, mix Maca powder with room temperature water on an empty stomach, 10-15 minutes before eating.
  • Many have opinionated that Maca does not taste good, so they suggest mixing with a smoothie.
  • Avoid overheating, which may destroy some nutritional benefits. If you want it in something warm, cook your item first, then add maca after it's cooled down.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult with their doctors

Buying Maca? What to Watch Out For!

  • In modern day, the best Maca is grown in Peru and Bolivia.
  • There are different types of Maca: Red, black, and yellow
  • Maca from China as they can be synthetically produced in a lab
  • Maca from China have a high risk of being contaminated. Yunan province is one place in China at the proper altitude to cultivate Maca, but the arable land in Yunan has previously been used to dump chromium (a heavy metal toxic or poisonous at low concentrations).

Should I Buy Red, Black, or Yellow Maca

  • Red Maca: Most antioxidants, studies show effective against prostate cancer, bone density loss, good for bone structure, most effective at balancing hormones, highest amino acids
  • Black Maca: Good for bone structure, best affect for sperm volume
  • Yellow Maca: Moderate affect for sperm volume, increase fertility in women

BEWARE: Side Affects

  • Hormone-sensitive condition: Like breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Extracts from maca might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use Maca.

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