Need an energy kick first thing in the morning? Try adding some maca to your morning smoothie! Maca has also been shown to boost endurance and build stamina.
Maca is a root from Peru that is packed with an array of vitamins and minerals. It is the highest altitude crop in the world growing at around 10,000 feet above sea level in the Andes. Maca has a rich malty flavor that combines well with cacao, another popular superfood. It is typically sold in a dried powder and is available at most health food stores. Maca is a complete protein providing all of the essential amino acids (the ones the body can't produce on its own). It contains an abundance of calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, sulfur, potassium and phosphorous. Maca also contains an assortment of vitamins including C, E, B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin).
This superfood is an adaptogen meaning it normalizes the body and keeps things in homeostasis (at normal levels). Adaptogens allow the body to better respond to internal and external environmental factors such as anxiety and physical injuries.
Maca is well known for its ability to regulate hormones. It does not contain hormones itself but encourages the body to produce or decrease its own hormones by nourishing the master glands of the body (hypothalamus and pituitary). Through its adaptogenic qualities maca is able to increase the production of a hormone the body is low in. Maca can have the opposite effect if the body is high in a hormone.
Some other facts about maca include:
- Maca is a natural aphrodisiac, as it increases sexual desire.
- Maca has fertility enhancing capabilities (increases sperm count) and has been shown to improve sexual function and increase libido.
- Maca is a whole food and as such can be consumed in the amounts desired. As with any food, moderation is always key.
- Maca can have a positive effect on postmenopausal women, increasing libido. It also helps alleviate depression and anxiety.
- Maca may help reduce the number and severity of migraine headaches by helping balance estrogen and progesterone levels in the body.
- Maca has the ability to enhance the immune system.
- Maca has antidepressant effects.
Maca is a nutritionally loaded superfood that provides many health benefits when regularly incorporated into the diet. I highly recommend that you give maca a try and see the results for yourself!
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