(c) 2013 peggy kotsopoulosdesigned by eukini
While touted for it’s sex-enhancing properties, Maca does much more than increase libido. This powerhouse Peruvian super food is packed with nutrients and has been used for centuries with claims to increase energy, improve memory and concentration, overcome anemia, and fight depression.
Although technically an herb, this ‘root veggie’ is a relative to the potato and radish family and grows high in the Andes at elevations well above 12,000 feet. The harsh growing environment demonstrates maca’s own test of stamina and endurance as it perseveres through some of the most severe conditions – bipolar temperatures, scorching sunlight, violent winds, rocky soil, below-freezing temperatures come night – and this perennial plant still manages to kick strong as one of the oldest, most nutritionally dense foods around. No wonder it’s called ‘Nature’s Viagra’! But that’s just where all the good stuff begins…
The maca root is a rich source of energy-dense complex carbohydrates and packs in more than 10% protein consisting of 19 amino acids. It’s also super high in B Vitamins (particularly B1 and B2 which help to boost energy and manage stress, respectively), vitamins C and E and a plethora of minerals with significant amounts of iron (more than most red meats, beans, seeds and nuts), potassium, magnesium, zinc, iodine AND calcium. Got milk? No need when maca trumps milk in the amount of calcium gram for gram. Maca is also a significant source of dietary fiber and essential fatty acids including linoleic acid.
Maca’s medicinal use dates back to the Incan civilization as early as 1600b.c. To this day, it is still commonly used as both a food and herbal remedy by the Peruvians to increase fertility, mood, stamina, and endurance. While the long list of benefits remains impressive, here are a few worth noting:
Too good to be true? Here’s how it works:
Similar to ginseng, maca is an adaptogen, meaning it helps to restore balance within the entire body system. It naturally aids the body in correcting any imbalances bringing it back to homeostasis. For example, it can lower high blood pressure or raise low blood pressure, depending on the body’s needs and stressors. The body becomes more efficient and the results are demonstrated through increased energy, mental alertness, concentration, and a feeling of overall wellbeing.
Used for centuries as a natural aphrodisiac, maca is known to increase sex drive, stamina, performance and frequency! It also has claims to increase erectile function and sperm count in men, as well as the ovarian function in women enhancing fertility. While Maca itself is not a temporary sex-stimulator like the artificial, manufactured, chemically-saturated Viagra, it improves overall health, vitality, energy and balance by naturally increasing libido making it sustainable over the long haul. I mean, why only settle for temporary relief???
Maca also contains a pretty decent concentration of phytosterols (plant sterols) that have been documented to lower cholesterol levels. What does cholesterol have to with sexual performance??? Tons! There is a direct correlation between high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction. Fats lodged onto arterial walls constrict blood flow and thus, the erectile response rate. Maca also contains isothiocyanate p-methylbenzyl – a compound that has a reputation for increasing fertility in humans.
The high concentration of amino acids, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals boost and restore both physical and mental energy levels providing a natural ‘lift’. It helps to build stamina, endurance and overall strength. Many athletes and bodybuilders are using maca for it’s stimulant-free energy boosting effects, enhanced endurance and muscle recovery properties.
One of the most significant attributes of maca is its ability to support the body’s endocrine system. Maca on its own does not contain hormones, nor does it actually change blood hormone levels when ingested. But rather, it restores the endocrine system through the hypothalamus pituitary axis by improving communication between the brain and the pituitary gland, as well as the adrenals, ensuring proper hormone balancing and secretion within the body. This regulates the body’s metabolism, stress levels, energy levels, attitude and mental cognition. In women, this natural hormonal balancing is noted to help with symptoms associated with menopause and PMS.
In addition, Maca is a significant source of iodine, which helps to regulate thyroid function, and may benefit those suffering from hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, depression and inability to lose weight.
Maca root can be purchased in powder, liquid or capsule form. The root is typically dried and then ground into a powder and has a long, stable shelf-life. Because maca is a food, it can be taken with or without other foods and there are no known risks. Although, like any food (including super foods) it’s best not to over indulge! Maca can be mixed into your breakfast cereals, blended into your smoothie, or can even be used to substitute a portion of the flour ingredient in baked goods such as cakes and cookies.
When purchasing Maca, do your research or consult with a health practitioner/nutritionist to ensure you are getting the highest quality product and that it’s been grown and harvested in the Andes. Over the years, many supplement companies and pharmaceutical manufactures across North America have caught wind of the maca hype and are manufacturing their own using synthetic chemicals and alternative growing methods.
Whether you are looking for a ‘pick-me-up (and keep me there)’ or just want to improve overall wellbeing, the positive results of this super food may pleasantly surprise you. So go ahead and get your maca on!