Maca Powder – How To Use It Properly - by The Superfood Blog
Posted on May 25 2014
If, like many, you enjoy a daily superfood smoothie, shake or protein drink, then you’ll want to make sure that yours is as delicious and as nourishing as possible. Smoothies, shakes and protein drinks are the ideal way to boost your nutrient intake in one simple serving, especially if you’re frequently pushed for time. And organic maca powder is the ultimate nutrient-dense addition to your smoothie of choice, not only because it’s loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals and other salutary ingredients, but also because it’s unique flavour goes remarkably well in just about every conceivable concoction!
So what makes organic maca powder the must-have superfood supplement for those who are mad about smoothies? Let’s find out…
More about maca
Organic maca powder is made from Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) – an herbaceous biennial plant belonging to the crucifer family, which is native to the high Andes of Peru. Known locally as ‘Peruvian Ginseng’ or the ‘Aphrodisiac of the Andes’ (for reasons we’ll go on to explore!), maca has been cultivated by a variety of different peoples, including the Pumpush, Yaro and Inca tribes, for in excess of 2600 years. In addition to serving as a valuable source of food and medicine, maca was once prized so highly that it was also used as a form of payment. The Incas supplied maca to their warriors to increase their energy, alertness and strength and today, shamans still believe that when someone eats maca their spirit will descend upon earth to reincarnate.
The tuber crop, which resembles a small turnip, flourishes at extreme altitudes – it has even been known to survive at 4300 meters – making it especially suitable for organic cultivation. Organic maca powder is made from the most important part of the maca, the root, which is dried at low temperatures to preserve as many of the naturally occurring nutrients as possible. Organic maca powder boasts a variety of colours, from matte white and yellow to red, purple and sometimes a curious shade of black. It is pleasingly low in calories (one teaspoon contains a mere 10 calories) yet absolutely brimming with beneficial nutrients that are essential for your general health and mental wellbeing, including:
- Fibre – organic maca powder contains around four times more fibre than your average potato
- Vitamins – organic maca powder contains a wealth of vitamins such as, vitamin B1, B2, C and E
- Minerals and trace elements – such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, tin, iodine, phosphorus, sulphur, silicon and bismuth
- Essential fatty acids – organic maca powder possesses over 20 different fatty acids, which boast both antiseptic and antifungal properties
- Amino acids – the high hormone precursor and amino acid levels in organic maca powder allows it to deliver an almost equal performance to that of high-quality protein powders
In fact, organic maca powder is classed as an adaptogen – adaptogens are a powerful group of herbs that improve the health of your adrenal system, the system that manages your body’s hormonal response to stress and fatigue. And as well as managing stress, a healthy endocrine system can help you to prevent a number of unpleasant diseases, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), hypercalcemia (raised calcium levels in the blood) and certain types of tumours.
Not surprisingly, organic maca powder has become an incredibly popular superfood, especially since leading Peruvian biologist, Gloria Chacon de Popovici, Ph.D, highlighted its many health benefits in a series of scientific studies in the 1960’s. Indeed, enjoying just one small teaspoon of organic maca powder in your daily smoothie can offer the myriad of amazing health benefits explored more thoroughly below.
Organic maca powder – how one smoothie a day can help keep the doctor away!
A superfood smoothie a day really can help keep the doctor away, particularly if it’s loaded with organic maca powder! When enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced diet and coupled with regular exercise, organic maca powder is associated with the following compelling health benefits, some of which are immediately noticeable whilst others accumulate gradually with regular consumption:
Organic maca powder delivers a powerful energy boost
Scientific studies have indicated that animals benefit from significantly increased energy levels directly after the administration of maca, and high performance athletes swear by the superfood for increased energy, stamina and endurance. That’s because, as well as containing large amounts of amino acids, as an adaptogen, organic maca powder also manages your thyroid gland, which in turn controls the rate your body produces energy from the food that it receives. Indeed, many delight in the non-caffeinated burst of energy that they get from stirring organic maca powder into their smoothie of choice, usually within just minutes of drinking.
Organic maca powder heightens libido and improves fertility
Again, the adaptogenic properties of organic maca powder have a considerable impact on both your sex drive and fertility. Organic maca powder regulates the:
- Adrenal glands – which produce a number of important sex hormones
- Pancreas – which manufactures female sex hormones, such as oestrogen
- Testes – which makes male sex hormones, such as testosterone
The consumption of organic maca powder has been directly correlated to an increase in men’s testosterone levels, allowing them to retain their sexual virility for longer, whilst a 2001 study by Dr. Gustavo Gonzales published in the Asian Journal of Andrology, revealed that men who consumed maca for four months saw an increase in seminal volume, sperm count per ejaculation, and sperm motility. Further research suggests that maca can help to prevent erectile dysfunction and prostate problems, and also increase sexual desire in both men and women.
Organic maca powder strengthens immunity
Organic maca powder contains a number of special ingredients that are specifically known to strengthen your immune system, including fatty acids, vitamin C, which helps to keep your cells healthy and heal wounds, and zinc, which also helps to heal wounds, and manufactures new cells and enzymes. A 2011 Cochrane review into zinc and the common cold indicates that zinc can help to speed up your recovery from colds and lessen the severity of your symptoms.
As an adaptogen, organic maca powder also restores balance to your thymus, the organ that manufactures T-cells (which combat infection and disease) and is responsible for the overall health of your immune system.
Organic maca powder relieves stress
Clinical studies indicate that maca has a positive effect on mood and drinking a smoothie containing organic maca powder on a frequent basis can help to provide effective relief from a variety of conditions, including anaemia, chronic fatigue, depression, aches and pains, poor memory and mental stress and tension. Organic maca powder has a normalising effect on your body’s physiology, thus helping to control the release of stress hormones (such as cortisol) to prevent one of our nation’s biggest contributors to ill health – stress.
It also helps to restore general hormonal balance and can be used to manage the type of mood swings typically associated with the menopause and eliminate the cause of migraines.
Organic maca powder promotes beautiful, healthy looking skin
According to the British Skin Foundation, some eight million of us Brits suffer from some type of skin condition, including acne, eczema or psoriasis, and many more of us are troubled by unwanted fine lines and wrinkles. Looking after your skin from the inside by eating organic maca powder, will reward you with both a radiant complexion and beautiful, healthy looking skin. For research shows that organic maca powder can actively enhance the firmness of your skin and simultaneously bolster its protective capabilities – laboratory studies demonstrate that it stimulates the proliferation of fibroblasts in vitro, and increases keratinocyte production, which in turn boosts collagen synthesis, improving the overall integrity of your skin’s structural matrix and leaving you with visibly smoother, younger looking skin. Which is why maca is also an increasingly common ingredient in some of our most popular skin care products!
Ready to put maca where your mouth is?
Organic maca powder is not only an ideal ingredient in your daily smoothie shake or protein drink – this incredibly versatile superfood extract, which boasts a faintly nutty flavour with lovely butterscotch notes, is the perfect addition to your favourite rawfood snacks too. It’s particularly delicious when paired with raw cacao products, such as organic cacao powder – try your organic maca powder in raw chocolate bars and desserts for utterly spectacular results!
Please note that it is recommended to abstain from organic maca powder for one week in every month, in order to optimise its many benefits.