Maca powder has been raved about for having so many benefits. It increases your energy levels, aids menopausal women in their blood pressure, helps women balance their mood during periods, and even increases libido. It’s also shown to help build immunity with its anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce your IL-6 levels.
In this article, you’ll learn more about this miracle tuber and how you can incorporate it into your diet.
What is Maca Powder?
Maca powder comes from a tuberous root that can be seen growing on the Andes mountain ranges. It’s been widely known to be an adaptogen, which helps build the body’s resistance against stressors.
Commonly known as the “Peruvian ginseng,” it brings a lot of benefits to your health overall. It’s great in helping your body manage stress and supply your much-needed nutrients. It’s been used to enhance libido and fertility as well as stamina for athletes and even help menopausal women from their symptoms.
History of Maca Powder
During the Spanish conquest in 1653, a chronicler named Father Bernabe Coco has mentioned the Maca plant thrived in the harshest conditions where most plants couldn’t survive. Because of its resistance building properties, Maca was commonly used by Bolivians and Peruvians as a medicinal food, and it served as an important part of their diet and was also crucial in their survival.
What are the Different Types of Maca?
Maca has three different types and has its own unique benefits. The most popular kind is the yellow Maca, which is known for the following:
- Adaptogenic properties
- Balances hormones
- Increases stamina
- Increases energy levels
Next is the black Maca. It’s not as popular as its yellow variant, and you’ll rarely see it being sold. Its benefits include increased mobility as well as increased sperm count.
Finally, the rarest among the three variants is the red Maca. It helps with your bone density and structure. It’s also found to prevent prostate cancer as well.
How Can You Incorporate Maca Powder into Your Diet?
Maca powder is very versatile. It tastes a bit nutty and smells like butterscotch. If this sounds appealing to you, then try adding it to your drinks and snacks. Make sure only to use 1 tablespoon a day. Going beyond that can cause digestive stress so start small by adding ¼ or ½ a teaspoon and build up the frequency from every 2 days to every other day then every day.
So now that you know its properties, benefits, and a little about its history, it’s time to start adding this super ingredient to your food. Here are a few recipes that you can try:
Maca Powder in Coffee
Adding maca powder to coffee is the most popular way to add Maca to your diet. You can drink it during breakfast to start your day or in the afternoon to get that extra energy you need for the rest of the day. Whatever time you choose to drink it with coffee, you’ll surely enjoy it with these recipes.
If you’re lazy or just like having to consume Maca without the fuzz, simply add up to a tablespoon of maca powder into your hot coffee. Mix it, add some cream and sugar, and voila! You get your daily dose of Maca while enjoying a cup of coffee.
If you’re a bit adventurous or you just like to treat yourself, here are 2 ways you can enjoy this super ingredient.
Maca Powder Latte
Are you a latte lover? If you are, then you will surely get more out of your lattes by adding Maca powder. Here are the ingredients that you will be needing:
- 1 tablespoon maca powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon sweetener (honey, maple syrup, and even coconut sugar works)
- 1 ½ tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 cup almond milk
- ½ cup coconut milk
- A pinch of ground cinnamon
- A pink of black pepper
- A pinch of cayenne powder
Whisk the ingredients together over medium-low heat in a saucepan until hot or very warm. If you want it foamy, whisk it vigorously before serving the drink.
Vanilla Maca Coffee
Maca’s nutty flavor goes well with vanilla and hazelnut. After adding a teaspoon of maca powder, add a pump of vanilla syrup (Hazelnut and Irish cream syrup works well, too!) into your coffee. The butterscotch and vanilla scent will surely pick up your mood.
Hot Chocolate with Maca Powder
Not a coffee lover? That’s fine. Here are ways you can add maca powder to your favorite hot chocolate drink:
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 – 2 teaspoons maca root powder
- 2 cups milk (any milk of your choice)
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
1. Heat the milk slowly over low heat.
2. Once it’s hot (not boiling), add the cocoa powder, maca powder, and maple syrup.
3. Whisk it well, and there shouldn’t be any lumps.
4. Once it’s mixed well, serve it and drink up!
Smoothies with Maca Powder
One of the easiest ways to add Maca’s good health benefits is by adding it to your smoothies. Because of its caramel and nutty flavor, maca powder goes perfectly with bananas, almond milk, or even nut butter. Add some kale, or even use coconut milk instead of almond milk in your smoothies. You can get creative and experiment with the ingredients.
Can I Eat Raw Maca as Is?
Traditionally, Maca is consumed by cooking. It’s usually baked or boiled for hours before being mashed and served with their meal. Sometimes it’s combined with quinoa and sugar and served as porridge. They help in building stamina and immunity as well as help in brain development.
If Maca is being used as a medicine, they boiled the tuber then grounded it. The powder is then mixed with water, which they also consume during meals. However the maca root was consumed, it would always be cooked well before eating.
Maca root is made of starches that can be hard for our stomach to break down. If you do this, it can interfere with absorbing the other nutrients from the food we eat. It can even cause intestinal distress.
Besides, Maca has a high water content, which can dilute the concentration of nutrients. Compared to cooked Maca, raw Maca can be problematic to your health and well-being. If you plan on making your maca powder, make sure you do each process carefully to avoid any complications.
Can Maca Powder Help with PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a condition that produces higher amounts of androgen in women. This is the reason why the hormonal imbalance causes women to have irregular periods or even trouble getting pregnant.
The hypothalamus and pituitary glands control menstrual cycles and ovary stimulation. If they are functioning better, the effects of PCOS would be reduced. Maca powder can balance hormones like your estrogen and progesterone levels. It also supports the function of your endocrine glands. It’s a great supplement to help you fight PCOS. You can also use it to reverse the symptoms like increased weight and acne, and even irregular menstrual cycles.
But take note that while it has benefits, it’s not the only solution you need to battle PCOS.
Consult with a doctor first. Your doctor may recommend maca powder to you as a supplement, but you might need some medication as well. Besides, your doctor will tell you how much you can intake and what other ways you can do to recover.
If you’re still waiting for your doctor’s appointment, here are some things to avoid if you think you have PCOS or if you have PCOS:
- Refined sugars
- Vegetable oils
Can Maca Powder Help with Menopausal Symptoms?
As you age, your body produces fewer hormones. The decline in hormone levels can bring some symptoms which cause the discomfort that happens during menopause. Some of these include irritability, mood swings, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and even interrupted sleep. Furthermore, as your body grows older, it won’t be able to get the nutrients it needs, and it can weaken the immune system as well as your bones.
Maca powder can help in strengthening not just your immune system but your bones as well. Since women are at higher risk of osteoporosis during and after menopause, maca powder can be used as a supplement.
It’s also known to help in alleviating menopausal discomforts such as interrupted sleep and even hot flashes. Apart from that, Maca can reduce anxiety, the symptoms of depression, and even reduce blood pressure as menopausal women undergo hormonal changes. This is partially due to the flavonoids.
If you’re struggling with menopause, maca powder can help, but it’s not supposed to be used as a treatment. If you are experiencing problems, consult with a doctor first, so you get treated right away.
Does Maca Powder Increase Fertility?
Although Maca is marketed towards women, it can benefit men too. Numerous studies have shown that Maca increases sperm count, sperm health, and even mobility. It can balance your endocrine system, which is one of the most important things when it comes to fertility.
Apart from that, Maca’s adaptogen properties make it better for your overall health. It can also help support a healthy thyroid function, another important thing if you want to increase your fertility.
Since a key to good reproductive health is still a well-rounded diet, incorporating maca powder is beneficial. It’s rich in the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
In conclusion, Maca is excellent for fertility and can be used by both men and women.
Does Maca Powder Increase Energy Levels?
Maca does not have any caffeine, but if you drink it with coffee, you’ll most certainly get a jolt of energy. However, incorporating maca powder will make sure you won’t crash after a few hours of consumption.
It can boost your energy because you won’t have to rely on sugars as much as before. It is not a stimulant and will not have the side effects of one. Also, Maca doesn’t raise your blood pressure, and you have to be consistent in incorporating it into your diet. It will take up to 2 to 6 weeks before you feel or notice its effects.
Can Maca Powder Boost Libido?
One of the most popular benefits of maca powder, studies have shown that it increases sexual desire. However, there is still limited data on this. If you are hoping to use maca powder as a natural Viagra, you might just get disappointed. It’s shown that it is not a quick fix for that, you need to incorporate it into your diet, and the results will show after 2 to 6 weeks of use.
But if you’re trying to increase your and your partner’s fertility, it’s worth a shot.
Does Maca Powder Have Side Effects?
Maca powder is considered safe. However, if you plan on making your powder, make sure to cook the maca root well first. Maca root is safe for consumption as long as it’s cooked properly.
If you have problems with your thyroid, Maca may not be suitable for you. Maca powder also contains substances like goitrogens that can affect your thyroid gland’s function. Consult your doctor before jumping in. Your doctor may or may not recommend you to add maca powder into your diet.
It’s always advisable to consult your doctor first, especially if you have medical conditions, are taking prescriptions, or pregnant and breastfeeding. A 1 teaspoon dosage of maca powder per day does not have immediate side effects. Still, it can be a factor in the long run if you have persisting conditions.
A Final Word from Energetic Lifestyle
Maca powder is one of the oldest adaptogens that have been used for centuries. It’s a great way to balance your hormonal levels and can help you build stamina. It’s great for both men and women and what’s best is that it can be easily added to your diet.