Welcome back to snack hacks; simple bite size life hacks for you to get the most out of your human biology.
Today’s snack hack looks at The Maca root, also catchily known as lepidium meyenii. Maca is a member of the cruciferous family, like broccoli and cabbage, but due to it’s unique properties it considered one of the world’s natural ‘super foods’.
Maca is grown high in the mountains of South America, mainly in high altitude regions of Peru. It is a distinct tasting root usually available in powder form. It is very rich in nutrients and actually has a higher calcium level than milk.
The maca root benefits include a positive effect on hormone balance, energy levels, and a health booster. It is a supplement packed with minerals, fatty acids and vitamins.
Maca root is widely known as an adaptogen, which balances the hormones and the endocrine system within the body. Adaptogens are a unique class of healing plants as they help balance, restore and protect the body. An adaptogen doesn’t have a specific action, It helps you respond to any influence or stressor, normalising your physiological functions.
Pants which are adaptogens harness their strength from phytonutrients. Maca is a rich source of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are the compounds in plants that fight off fungi and bugs but when digested by humans act as an antioxidant and have anti-inflammatory qualities. Should you want to read more about the superpowers of especially cruciferous veg, check out my earlier piece titled ‘The Powerhouse Veg’, (http://whatsuppblogblog.com/2017/05/07/the-powerhouse-veg/)
Another unique fact about maca root is that historically it has been considered a very potent aphrodisiac and a traditional fertility secret of populations living in the Andes.
Maca reportedly often makes people feel more ‘alive’, energetic, and leaves them with a sense of well-being, all of which are thought to be due to its ability to restore proper hormone balance and elevate the body’s ‘feel good’ endorphins.
Sexual (& Emotional) Healing
Although maca itself contains no actual hormones, most of maca root’s benefits are attributed to its ability to help restore sexual, endocrine (hormonal), and mental health. Here is how maca may be able to benefit both men and women:
A 2008 study from the journal Menopause showed for the female participants that the improvement in mood led to increased sexual libido. The same study showed maca benefits had positive results on boosting menopausal women’s moods and decreasing levels of anxiety and depression.
A separate study done in 2008 by CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics showed that maca had the ability to increase sexual libido in women, likely due to its positive effects on serotonin levels, another ‘feel good’ hormone.
Maca is believed to restore women’s hormonal balance by supporting the endocrine system and aiding in the regulation of healthy adrenal and thyroid hormone production.
In regards to the fellas, clinical studies showed serum levels of testosterone were not shown to be affected by maca. Black maca however, has been shown to have positive effects on sperm production, more than both yellow maca and red maca.
In other studies, maca has also been shown to improve sperm production, mobility, and volume, which are all important factors of increasing fertility
Maca root powder is comprised of approximately 18% protein, 76.5% carbohydrates, 5% fat, and 8.5% fiber (indigestible carbohydrates).
As mentioned, Maca provides a powerful source of nutrition including:
– Over 20 amino acids, including 8 essential amino acids
– 20 free-form fatty acids (such as lauric, linolenic, palmitic acid, oleic , and steric acid)
– Vitamins B-1, B-2, C and E
There is no particular recommended serving size of maca according to experts, however most people feel best when starting with about 1 tablespoon daily (in powder form) and possibly working their way up to 2-3 tablespoons, spread throughout the day.
I like to include a scoop in my morning bullet proof coffee. Although it will serve to break your fast and potentially impact your ketone production, it will give a healthy dose of prebiotics and nutrients first thing in the morning, not to mention an often well needed energy boost!
One other quick tip before we depart, as maca can help increase energy and stamina, many people like to consume it before exercising so consider it in any home made pre work out formulas.
Ok, so we’ve had a pretty good look at maca and looked at its powerful effect on your well-being. Thanks as ever for reading, please do comment and share!