There has been a lot of buzz around the exotic maca root – but what exactly is it? Originating from Peru, maca is a root vegetable that stems from the broccoli family. It is often sold in powdered form and has a distinct nutty and malty flavor to it. It has been termed an adaptogenic species, which means that it strengthens the body’s immune system and promotes the body’s abilities to cope with physiological, psychological, or biological stressors. Throw maca in a smoothie, stir fry, or even in a hot cup of cocoa – just in time for the winter season.
- Hormonal balance: For centuries, maca has been used as a natural way to maintain hormonal balance. Studies show that maca may stimulate the adrenal, ovarian, and hypothalamus glands, which may result in improved menopause symptoms, energy levels, and increased fertility.
- Aphrodisiac: Although studies have yielded different results, maca is traditionally known for increasing sexual behavior, which might make it an interesting Valentine’s Day gift!
- Energy levels: Along with improved hormonal balance, maca may increase endurance, mental focus, and improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Superfood status: Since maca is so packed with vitamins and minerals, it is classified as a superfood. For example, its high levels of vitamin C help to support immune functioning and its high levels of calcium make it a great supplement to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis.
- Packed with protein and fiber: Maca is a great source of protein at 14g of protein per 100g. In addition, the fiber content of maca helps to reduce cholesterol levels and promote regularity.
- High in antioxidants: As if maca didn’t have enough benefits, it’s also high in antioxidants! Antioxidants fight off free radicals and can also prevent the signs of aging.