Maca has been used as a food and medicine staple in the Peruvian Andres for thousands of years but more recently has made a name for itself as an energizing superfood! This root from the potato family is commonly available in the U.S. in dried powder form at all health food stores and some regular grocery stores. Maca is nearly 10% protein and contains 20 amino acids; it's also packed with fiber, iron, and 21% of your daily allowance for vitamin E. Here are some other reasons to think about incorporating maca into your diet:
1. Boosts energy and endurance
Do you feel tired often, even after you get a decent night's sleep? Most of us do these days because life is just super busy and seems to never slow down. Maca offers a non-caffeinated energy boost that gently stimulates the thyroid adrenal glands to give you a natural feeling of energy without a caffeine crash later in the day.
2. Helps relieve symptoms of PMS and menopause
Maca works with the endocrine system to stimulate and nourish the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands which are the "master glands" that regulate thyroid, adrenal, pancreatic, ovarian, and testicular function. It is thought to work as an adaptogen assisting the body to either regulate hormone production upward or downward depending on the body's individual needs. Because of this, Maca has been known to relieve symptoms of PMS and menopause including pelvic pain, cramps, and hot flashes. There are several types of maca, but yellow maca has shown to have the best results in this category for women.
3. Increases libido
Because maca helps to balance hormones naturally, many people also experience a nice boost in libido. It can help to promote sexual function in both men and women and has been described as an aphrodisiac by many. Black maca has shown to be particularly effective for men's fertility as it can help to increase sperm production and motility.
4. Helps to stabilize mood and combat depression
Yet another benefit of a happily nourished and well functioning endocrine system is a stable mood. As maca helps to balance your hormones, you may also notice that it can help to stabilize your mood and decrease feelings of depression and anxiety.
5. Improves skin health
Maca is packed with vitamin E which is a key nutrient for strong immunity and healthy skin and eyes. Getting the right amount of vitamin E can help to protect skin from damage and help to clear acne and blemishes.
Maca powder has a slightly "malty" taste and I prefer it stirred into puddings or added to my morning smoothie. Try our Chocolate-Maca Chia Pudding or add it into your morning green smoothie. Maca can very stimulating for some, so start small with a small dose...try 1/2 teaspoon once daily with breakfast.
A Few Things To Keep In Mind**:
1. Always consult with your physician before adding any new supplement.This includes maca.
2. Do not add maca to your diet if you have high blood pressure, liver issues, or a hormone dependent cancer like breast or prostate cancer or if you are pregnant or nursing.
3. Do not add maca to hot food, as it will lose it's benefits.
4. Start with a small amount of maca until you know how it will affect you. I recommend 1/2 teaspoon every other day, always in the first half of the day. You can work up to 2 teaspoons per day but most people find that 1/2 to 1 teaspoon a day or even every few days is plenty.
5. If you find maca to beneficial to you and begin to use it on a regular basis, I recommend taking 2 days off each week so that you don't get overstimulated or have any adverse affects. So take it Monday through Friday and then take Saturday and Sunday off.
I've been using maca powder consistently now for about 4 weeks as part of my adrenal recovery treatment and I've personally experienced several of these benefits. ~Billie
**As with adding any new supplement to your diet, you should always consult your physician and/or work directly with a licensed health care provider. Maca root is not recommended for kids, pregnant women, anyone with a hormone dependent cancer, or women in hormone replacement therapy unless otherwise directed by a treating physician.
Billie Shellist, FDN-P
I practice functional nutrition, an approach that allows me to look at your entire health history and help you find the "root causes" of your chronic health complaints.
This cuts out the trial and error process and helps you get real symptom relief and resolution!
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