What is Maca Powder?
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root vegetable which belongs to the brassicaceae (mustard) family and mostly found in powdered form.(1) It is grown in the mountainous regions of Peru and has been used for over thousands of years for its medicinal properties and benefits.(1) It comes in yellow, red and black forms with the edible part of the plant being the root.(1)
What are the benefits of Maca Powder?
It has traditionally been used throughout ancient Peruvian tribes for boosting energy, stamina, immune and libido.(1) Maca Powder is a great addition in the diet, particularly beneficial for those leading active lives wanting to bring balance to their day.
- Sexual function – Has been widely used to promote and enhance sexual function, libido and endurance in both men and women. Whilst at the same time can balance your hormones and increase fertility. In men it is believed to enhance sperm function, seminal count, sperm count and sperm motility.(1) As well as enhancing sexual performance.(2)
- Women’s Health – Assists in relieving menstrual issues and menopausal symptoms.(3) Alleviates cramps, body aches, hot flushes, anxiety, mood swings and depression. Maca is believed to have a role in balancing E2, FSH and Progesterone hormones.(3) It is also being tried as an alternative to HRT with promising results.(3)
- Boosts Energy Levels – Has been found to improve overall health status.(1) Also has been found to increase energy levels and stamina and has been used for athletes to enhance peak performance.(1, 2)
- Skin Health – It is believed that Maca Powder can assist in reducing skin complaints especially assist in clearing acne and blemishes. It also is said to assist your skin in decreasing your skin sensitivity overall.
- Mood and Hormone Balancing – Maca may assist in alleviating symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression and mood swings due to having a role in hormone balance and increasing mental focus and energy.(1, 3) Maca appears to promote optimal functioning of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which influence all of the endocrine glands.(3) Thus why it has several enhancing and balancing effects on hormones.
- Reduction in Osteo-Type Conditions – Studies have found that people that consume Maca have a reduced rate of Osteoporosis fractures.(1) Maca has been found to increase calcium and phosphorous deposition in bone.(3) Also studies have shown that consuming Maca can assist in Osteo-arthritic conditions by improving joint mobility to reduce pain and stiffness.(1)
What is the nutrient profile?
Maca powder is:
- High in protein
- Rich in essential amino acids
- High in minerals especially Iron, Calcium and Potassium(1, 4)
- High in dietary fiber
- High in Vitamin C, B3 and B6(4)
- Contains the phytonutrients: glucosinolates and isothiocyanates(1)
Are there any side effects?
There are no known serious side effects but like any other supplements it shouldn’t be taken in large doses or as a sole source of nutrition.(1) If you are pregnant or lactating you should check if it is suitable for you with a health professional. Recommended safe daily dosage is 1gram/kilogram/per day.(1)
How can I use it?
Maca Powder is a highly versatile superfood that features a subtle, sweet malty flavour (if you can imagine the taste of toasted oats it’s similar to that – but obviously it works best when added to your smoothies or sweet dishes). It makes a great addition to boost your juices, smoothies, yoghurts, raw sweets, porridge, baking and cooking for that added nutritional superfood boost.
Recipe – Maca Banana Protein Smoothie
Blend the following ingredients in a blender for a delicious nutritious smoothie.
- 1 cup Almond Milk
- 1 Banana (frozen if possible)
- 1 tbsp. Maca Powder
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon
- Dash of honey
- Gonzales GF. Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii(Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2012;2012:193496. doi:10.1155/2012/193496.
- Stone, M, Ibarra, M, Roller, A, Zangara, A, Stevebson, E. A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2009;12(3):574-576. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.09.012.
- Meissner HO, Mrozikiewicz P, Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska T, et al. Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (I) Biochemical and Pharmacodynamic Study on Maca using Clinical Laboratory Model on Ovariectomized Rats. International Journal of Biomedical Science : IJBS. 2006;2(3):260-272.
- nutritiondata.self.com Maca Powder Nutrition and Facts. 2014. Available from: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/2193874/0