Maca root, or lepidium meyenii, is a biennial plant (meaning it takes two years to complete its biological lifecycle) hailing from the high altitude regions of Peru and Bolivia. Although a member of the cruciferous family, maca is a root vegetable similar to the radish or turnip family, but grows at high altitudes of 8,000 to 14,500 feet. It is said that Inca warriors consumed large amounts of the root prior to entering battle and their stamina and strength was attributed to this herb. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Health Benefits of Maca to see how it can help you fight your own battles!
1. Adaptogenic properties
Maca is an adaptogen, meaning it works to balance hormones and regulate homeostasis (stability) within the body. It does this by regenerating and stimulating the endocrine system, specifically the pituitary and hypothalamus glands, which in turn positively impacts the functions of the ovaries, testes, thyroid, pancreas and adrenal glands. This regulates under and over-activity, therefore if too much of a hormone is being produced, it will work to reduce it, and if not enough is being produced it will increase its function.
2. Increases energy
Given its nutritional content of over 20 amino acids, 20 fatty acids, vitamins B1, B2, C and E, calcium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, potassium sulphur, sodium, iron, magnesium and that it is a rich source of phytonutrients, it’s not much wonder that maca has such a potent ability to raise energy levels. It helps to stabilize blood sugar which balances fluctuating energy levels. In contrast to caffeine, regular use and elevated doses of it will not lead to nervous irritability. This root can enhance physical performance, stamina and strength.
3. Promotes sexual well-being
Historically maca root has been utilised for proper hormone balance. This can contribute to improving the symptoms of PMS and menopause. For women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), maca helps to control estrogen levels in the body. Regular use of it can lead to an increased sexual libido. Maca also has the ability to raise testosterone levels and increase fertility in men.
4. Improves cognitive function
Improvement in brain function leads to feeling more alert, energized and driven. Maca has also been shown to reduce issues such as anxiety and depression through a calming effect on the nervous system.
5. Powerfully antioxidant
Maca enhances glutathione and SOD (superoxide dismutase) levels, two of the body’s primary disease combatants. An increase of glutathione within the body boosts the immune system and aids in balancing cholesterol. Additionally, it significantly improves glucose tolerance by lowering levels of glucose in blood.
Thankfully it is no longer restricted for use only by members of the royal court and imperial family, so you can make good use of maca’s health benefits by adding it to oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, ice cream, hummus, coffee, tea, baking it into cakes or taking it in capsule form. What experiences have you had with maca? Tell us below or @ Keep fit Kingdom !