What is Maca?
Maca plant root is a very popular medicinal plant as it has been known for various benefits these years. It is a native plant to Peru as it is mostly grown in the Andes of central Peru.
To grow maca, it is put into harsh conditions on very high altitudes above 13000 feet which is 4000 meters. It is scientifically known as Lepidium meyenii and is also known as Peruvian ginseng sometimes.
Maca is basically a cruciferous vegetable, so it is considered to be the same as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. People have been using it as a medicine for years and it does hold a history for being used as a culinary and medicine in Peru. the most important and edible part of this maca plant is its root because it grows underground. Underground soil has many nutrients in it and you will find these roots in various colors ranging from black to white.
You will commonly find this plant in form of powder because it is consumed in dried form as a supplement and even found in form of supplement. But that does not mean you cannot find it in any other form. It is even available in form of capsules and the form of liquid as it is extracted directly from maca.
You must be wondering by now about the taste of Maca so for your information, people don’t appreciate the taste of Maca root powder because the taste of maca root is described to be nutty and earthy. To consume maca root powder, people prefer adding it to their meals like oatmeal, smoothies, sweet dishes as the earthy and nutty taste of maca root is decreased after adding it to other flavorful meals.
Maca root is very well known and used for enhancing fertility as most men and women go through infertility. It also helps in improving sex drive among both men and women. not only this, it is even claimed that maca root is beneficial in improving stamina and energy.
The research on Maca has still been very limited and is under review which means it is in its early stage.
Most of the research is done by the companies that sell or produce maca root products, but this research is only limited to animals right now so before considering maca root as an essential, one must wait for further studies.
Very High Nutritional Value
Maca root powder Is loaded with nutrients including several important ones like minerals and vitamins.
Considering 28 grams that are once of maca root powder, its nutritional value would be-
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbs: 20 grams
- Calories: 91
- Protein: 4 grams
- Vitamin C: 133% of the RDI
- Potassium: 16% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 15% of the RDI
- Copper: 85% of the RDI
- Iron: 23% of the RDI
- Manganese: 10% of the RDI (1)
Maca root is a very good source of carbs as well. What makes it the best source of consumption is its low-fat content and a minimal number of fibers. Maca root plants powder also contains very essential minerals and vitamins for instance vitamin C, Iron, and Copper.
In addition, the maca root plant is also rich in polyphenols and glucosinolates which are plant compounds.
Health Benefits Of Maca Root
- It increases libido in men and women: The most common issue that is faced by most adults is decreased sexual desire which leads to low sexual drive. For increasing sexual drive, your body needs an increased amount of libido. And what else is better than natural herbs and plants that can naturally boost your libido. Maca root plan has been one of them. Research claims that consuming the maca root plant has done wonders in improving sexual desire. It is the most marketed product which has been proved effective in improving sexual drive. There has been a reviewed study from 2010 which included 4 minor clinical studies with a total of 131 participants have found evidence that consuming maca root plant for a minimum of six weeks has improved sexual desire. (2)
- It may rise fertility in men: In men, the most important thing is the quality as well as quantity of sperm because male sperm is only responsible for male fertility. Some of the research have proven evidence that the maca root plant increases men’s fertility. The latest studies that are reviewed have included nine healthy men who consumed maca root for four months. The results have shown a rapid increase in the count, volume, and motility of sperm which means maca root can do wonders in men facing difficult infertility.
- It may help in relieving symptoms of menopause- Before understanding the benefits of maca in menopause, let us understand what is menopause? Menopause is a term defined as the time when women stop menstruating permanently in her life. It happens due to low estrogen levels or declined estrogen levels which happen with time and cause various symptoms that may sound unpleasant. These symptoms can range from mood swings, hot flashes, sleeping problems to irritability and even vaginal dryness. In a review of four studies of menopaused women, researchers found that the maca root plant helped women in alleviating menopausal symptoms like sleeping difficulties and hot flashes. In addition, it also helps in protecting bone health which has been suggested by animal studies. It is helpful for women with menopause because after menopause women have a higher risk of being diagnosed with osteoporosis.
- Helps in ameliorating your mood: Many studies have proven that consuming maca root plant can help in enhancing your mood especially when you are suffering from frequent mood swings. Menopausal women go through a lot of stress and anxiety, so it has been effective in reducing stress and anxiety symptoms of depression in these women. As natural plant compounds have always been beneficial it is said that the maca root plant also accommodates natural plant compounds like flavonoids which have been declared at least partially in charge for providing benefit to psychological health.
- It helps in boosting energy and athletic performance: Maca is usually consumed in powder form and as a supplement so considering its nutritional value it has been a great source as a supplement for athletes and bodybuilders. Research have claimed that consuming maca root as a supplement has helped people in gaining muscle, boosting energy, increasing strength, and improving workout performance. In addition, a few animal studies have shown that maca root improves endurance performance. Besides this, a very small study in eight male cyclists has suggested that after consuming maca root extract for consecutive 14 days it improved their time which took more time to complete almost 40 km which is 25 miles. For now, there is no proven research that indicates its efficiency in improving muscle strength and mass.
- Helps in protecting skin from the sun when applied on skin: Entire our lives we have been using sunscreens to protect our skin from harmful ultraviolet rays (UV RAYS) from the sun which is responsible for causing burns and damage to exposed and unprotected skin. UV rays have been responsible for increasing the risk of cancer as well as causes wrinkles. There are some proven shreds of evidence about maca extract being helpful on skin. The plant compound like polyphenol antioxidants and glucosinolates present in maca helps in protecting your skin from UV radiation. An animal study on rats has shown that applying maca root extract on 5 rats for about three weeks helped rats from preventing skin damage that was caused due expose to UV rays.
Note- Always keep in your mind that maca root extract cannot be replaced with sunscreen because it protects your skin only when applied directly to the skin, not when it is consumed.
- It might help in improving memory and learning habits: Consuming maca has been effective in improving brain function. In Peru, people use it to improve their children’s performance in schools. In animal studies, it has been shown that rodents who had memory impairment, consuming maca root extract have helped them in learning and memorizing. Maca is found in white and black varieties but in this case, black maca is effective.
- It might help in reducing prostate size- The prostate is a gland that is only found in men. Men who are aging, are common to find enlargement of their prostate gland which is also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is a big reason to worry and can cause problems in men while passing urine because enlarged prostate surrounds the tube which helps you in draining urine out from your body. A student of rodents has shown that red maca helped in reducing prostate size. Red maca contains a very high amount of glucosinolates which has been effective in reducing the size of the prostate gland. This substance is associated with decreasing the risk of prostate cancer as well.
Maca Root Uses
Add maca to your diet as it can be consumed as a supplement or can be added to oatmeal, smoothie, baked items, energy bars, or sweet dishes and the list goes on. Although there is no optimal dose established to consume maca root as medicine minimum value ranges from 1.5-5 grams per day. It is easily available in supermarkets, retail stores, food stores, or various shops. For easy search, you can find it on amazon after considering reviews. It can be found in various forms like capsules, liquid, or powder, it is your choice as to what you choose. FYI, yellow maca can be found easily but finding black and red ones may be a bit difficult due to their different biological properties.
Safety And Side Effects
Although maca root is generally safe Peruvian people say that consuming freshly obtained maca root can show major health effects. It is recommended to boil maca before consuming it, in addition, if you are a thyroid patient then you have to be a bit safer while consuming maca root because it has a substance called goitrogen which can affect the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. It usually affects people who have been diagnosed with thyroid or are on the verge of being thyroid patients. In conclusion, it is recommended that women who are pregnant and breastfeeding must consult their doctor before taking a step forward towards the consumption of maca root extract.
“HealthLink.news does not have any intention to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide its users and/ or the general public with information to better understand their health. All content (including text, graphics, images, information, etc.) provided herein is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment. HealthLink.news makes no representation and assumes no responsibility/ liability for the accuracy of the information, advice, diagnosis, treatment provided herein or on its website. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY IN SEEKING TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ IT HERE OR ACCESSED THROUGH THE HealthLink.news WEBSITE.”