Maca Root Health Benefits Explained
While it’s not your standard pantry staple, if you’re a real naturalist then you’ve probably come across maca root (pronounced mah-kuh). Often used in desserts, maca root has not only a unique taste, but also an array of benefits for your physical and mental health. Although it isn’t exactly grown in your typical conditions, it’s worth the effort of sourcing and harvesting this tasty root – and after reading this article, I’m sure you’ll see why!
What Is Maca Root? Where Does Maca Root Come From?
Maca root is originally from Peru, where it has been popular for hundreds of years. It’s quite picky about the climate it is grown in – it grows in the Andes at really high altitudes, and the conditions it grows in would be too harsh for many a plant. I guess its tough nature shows us how valuable it can be, and how strong the positive effects it can have on our bodies are!
This root is used for all kinds of purposes, from culinary to medicinal. Because of its nutty, slightly caramel-like taste, maca has been especially popular in desserts like pies, cookies and cakes, and even in savory dishes, like soups and stews.
Traditionally, maca root is used to increase fertility and libido.
Maca Root Powder Explained
The most common form of maca, which you’re likely to have come across, is the powder form. Maca root is also available in capsules and in liquid form.
Sweet dishes often make use of the powdered form of maca root. The root, which is hard, is harvested and ground down to form a powder. The root powder is loaded with nutrients, including copper, potassium, iron and most especially, a hefty dose of Vitamin C.
Because Vitamin C is an antioxidant, maca root can help your body fight off free radical damage. Free radicals are responsible for damage in many areas all over the body, from forehead wrinkles and age spots, to heart disease and cancer.
Many health benefits attributed to maca root are due to its high antioxidant level, such as its ability to improve your memory.
Top 5 Maca Root Benefits Explained
1. Boost Energy And Mood
Maca root’s traditional use is as a stimulant or a way to increase energy. People who have taken maca have reported having more energy, without the side effects (and eventual ‘crash’) that is common after taking caffeine. Your mood also improves, overall, as a result. (Think about it: when are you in a better mood – when you’re exhausted, or when you’re feeling energized and can think clearly?)
The root’s ability to keep your energy levels high stems directly from its ability to keep your blood sugar regular. Spikes in blood sugar (besides being bad for the kidneys, especially for those with diabetes) can also cause you to lose energy. That’s because, like with a shot of strong caffeine, you go from having a huge surge of energy to crashing all the way down and feeling exhausted. Maca can prevent that spike and keep your energy levels maintained. You don’t suffer from that ‘crash’ which caffeine may bring.
2. Improves Female Sexual Health
Maca can potentially help women suffering from menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, and irritability or mood swings. Also, as I’ve mentioned above, its libido-enhancing effects have been well-known for centuries, and can help both men and women. Maca root is especially powerful at balancing estrogen (a female sex hormone). This can help women suffering from problems such as infertility, irregular menstruation and even weight gain.
3. Boosts Male Fertility
It’s not only the womenfolk who can benefits from this amazing root! Besides increasing libido, maca root is also famous for improving sperm production and quality. This makes it helpful for boosting male fertility.
4. Help Improve Skin Health
Once again, those antioxidants save the day. Taking maca has found to be helpful against acne, a common skin issue (especially in your teenager years). Plus, it can also reduce your skin’s sensitivity, which can help you fare better if you live in an extremely hot or extremely cold environment.
5. Supports Bone Health
Milk sure gets the limelight when it comes to your bone health. But while calcium is super important, there are other foods that can also help your bones. Maca root can also help those suffering from osteoporosis, as it can reduce pain and stiffness in the bones. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also a big help, and it can even increase bone density.
Maca Root Side Effects Explained
For most people, maca root has only positive effects and no known negative side effects. Still, due to the fact that it affects hormones, people who have thyroid problems or are undergoing hormonal treatment should probably not take maca root.
The effects of maca root on pregnant and breastfeeding women have not been researched enough. Therefore, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not take maca root unless your doctor has okayed it first.
Where To Find Maca Capsules
This root is available in capsule form, although powder is the most common form of maca root that you can find. Your local health store, especially if it has a large selection of natural capsules, is quite likely to stock maca capsules. Otherwise, there are plenty of online stores that sell capsules, as well as large online retailers like Amazon. Always make sure that you purchase from a reputable company, and that the root has been properly sourced. Should you see two companies selling what looks like two different roots, don’t be surprised. Maca root comes in a variety of colors.
If you love natural remedies, maca root will be in your possession soon enough. Its hormonal, physical, and mental benefits are too strong to ignore. Even if you aren’t suffering from anything, in particular, we all have days where we can use a little extra energy – without having to pay for it later! Maca provides your body with exactly that, not to mention strengthening your system against free radical damage. So the next time you visit your health store, why not pick up some maca capsules or powder? At the very least, you’ll have a new secret (and delicious!) ingredient for the next cake you bake! And at the most, you’ll be providing your body and mind with some very powerful benefits and nutrients.