Raise your hand if you love balanced hormones, improved brain function, and healthy bursts of energy... That's pretty much everyone, right? And that's why you NEED to know about maca! Have you heard of maca yet? If not, we think it's worth consideration. After you read the 9 reasons to use maca, you'll want to grab some and make the Dairy-Free Chocolate Maca Latte recipe below! (We've also included 5 other recipes that you can easily add some maca to!)
What Is Maca?
Maca is a radish-like tuberous root that has been used for thousands of years by the Peruvian natives of the Andes Mountains. Once used as currency, maca was an important part of their lifestyle for both dietary and medicinal purposes. Inca warriors supposedly consumed large amounts of maca before going into battle to increase their stamina and strength. Powder made from the crushed and dehydrated root contains nearly 20 amino acids and 7 essential amino acids. Some of its uses include treatment of menstrual problems and menopause, to boost natural energy levels, and reduce stress. (Source
9 Reasons To Use Maca
If it's good enough for an Incan warrior, it's good enough, right? But, why? Why would you consider adding maca to your diet? And even before science and studies could prove the benefits of maca, why were Peruvian natives so enamored with it?
#1 -- It's an adaptogen.
Adaptogens are natural botanicals that greatly improve the body's ability to adapt to and deal with stressors. Simply put, adaptogens help you adapt. Adaptogens must be completely safe and non-toxic and have broad uses to reduce both mental and physical stress (source
). Maca meets this criteria -- and it's been used for thousands of years to do just that! (Other adaptogens include ashwagandha, holy basil, and rhodiola rosea.)
#2 -- It is energizing!
Maca is stimulating and energizing. It's real energy, without caffeine! Unlike coffee and tea, it doesn't put stress on the adrenal glands (source
). Many people have reported increased energy and stamina when consuming maca (source
#3 -- Maca is a superfood.
How do you know when a food is a 'superfood'? Well, it has to be extremely nutrient-dense with dietary benefits as well as healing potential. Maca is full of potent phytonutrients, nearly 20 amino acids (7 essential amino acids), fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals (source
). Maca contains copious amounts of minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium, B vitamins, as well as vitamins C and E (source
#4 -- Maca may increase libido.
In men and women! Naturally boosting libido with plants and herbs is generally preferable to prescription drugs. A 2010 compilation
of 4 randomized studies shows that maca may possess this capability. After 6 weeks of maca consumption, many of the 131 participants showed evidence of increased sexual desire (source
). There have even been studies that show maca's reported ability to help men overcome erectile dysfunction (source
). Among the native Peruvians, maca was known as a powerful aphrodisiac (source
#5 -- It may be helpful for endocrine and hormone balance.
Hormones are the body's chemical messengers. They're responsible for so many things: our weight, the quality of our sleep, our sex drives, metabolism, and even whether we're in a good mood or not. If we can add something to our lifestyle that might help with that delicate hormone balance, we definitely should. Maca contains no actual hormones, yet it shows evidence that it nourishes the entire endocrine system, including the adrenals and thyroid. Its adaptogenic qualities may help balance and support the endocrine system, resulting in optimal hormone production and balance. (Source
.) Furthermore, the minerals and fatty acids in maca support hormone balance, especially for the 2 main hormone regulators: the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland (source
#6 -- It may help relieve symptoms of menopause.
As women enter and go through menopause, symptoms such as hot flashes, irritability, mood swings, and sleeplessness may occur because of the decrease in estrogen. Because of maca's ability to potentially balance hormones, it has been shown effective in relieving the discomforting symptoms of menopause (source
#7 -- Maca might make you smarter!
Or at least, studies have shown maca's potential to improve brain function. ;) Experimental evidence has shown maca to have a beneficial effect on memory and learning (source
#8 -- Maca can reduce depression and anxiety.
Owing to maca's positive impacts on hormone balance, it makes sense that it may benefit those who suffer from anxiety and/or depression. One of the root causes of depression in women is often related to estrogen -- specifically not enough of it. (And if low estrogen isn't the case, then inadequate thyroid hormones is the next place to look. Luckily, maca has shown positive impacts on BOTH!) (Source
.) A study of 14 postmenopausal women who were given 3.5 grams of maca per day for 6 weeks and a placebo for 6 weeks showed a significant reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms after maca consumption (source
#9 -- It's pretty tasty.
While some report a chalky taste in maca (which may be due to low quality), we think it has a nutty, almost graham-like quality. It goes great with nuts, fruit, and chocolate! Because maca's reported benefits are greatest when it's raw, we recommend adding maca to recipes that don't require cooking or baking.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Maca Latte + 5 More Recipes For Maca!
A Dairy-Free Chocolate Maca Latte can replace your morning coffee. (And no, it doesn't have caffeine. We want to introduce you to the natural energy boost from a caffeine-free source: maca
.) To a blender add:
Blend on high for 30 to 45 seconds and serve! Try adding a couple of tablespoons of maca to the filling or crust of this Raw Avocado-Lime Tart
. Or add a teaspoon of maca to some Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa
or Power Coffee
for a really energizing start to your day! Our amazing Homemade Nut Butter Cups
already have maca in the nut butter filling! An Anti-Stress Strawberry Smoothie With Maca & Mint
is a cold and refreshing way to get your daily dose of maca!
Do you consume maca? Why do you love it? Will you try adding maca to any recipes?