Benefits of Maca Root
Maca or Lepidium meyenii is a root vegetable. The plants are grown and harvested in the mountains of Peru. Maca root is also referred to as the Peruvian ginseng. They grow in several colors namely cream, red, purple, black and green and are triangular, flattened circular or spherical.
Maca is food and also a medicinal herb for Peruvians. Both the leaves and roots are used in cooking. The leaves are also eaten raw and the roots made into flour for baking and flavoring.
Studies made showed that maca roots contain a high amount of carbohydrates. They also contain protein, dietary fiber, amino acids and fatty acids such as linolenic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acid. Except for palmitic acid, linolenic and oleic acids are unsaturated fatty acids. Maca also contains phytonutrients, alkaloids and minerals such as selenium, calcium, magnesium and iron.
What makes maca famous around the world now is because it is claimed to have aphrodisiac properties. It is reputed to increase libido and also improve semen count and quality. The substance that is said to be responsible for the aphrodisiac effect is p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, a chemical that is present in maca roots.
Because of the demands, maca root extracts are now sold as maca powder, capsules and tablets and also in liquid form or juice. If you use the powder or liquid, you can add it to your smoothie or any drink. If you see the words gelatinized maca on the label, it means that the fiber from the root is extracted. A gelatinized maca it is easier to digest and provides stronger effect.
Maca is being widely marketed as a libido supplement and reproductive support.
Maca is recommended for both men and women. It increases sperm count in men and supports women's fertility.
Maca root contains a molecule that can positively affect the activities in the central nervous system. So one of the benefits of maca is it may help you fight against stress.
Since maca is packed with nutrients, it is only natural that it helps in boosting energy and providing extended stamina.
Linolenic acid, oleic acid, phytonutrients and selenium could be responsible for the effect of reducing blood pressure.
One of the benefit of maca root is it helps regulate hormone levels. This is especially helpful for women with polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. It may help you get back to your normal cycle. Women who are experiencing hot flashes would find maca supplement beneficial. It is safer than going for hormone replacement therapy.
Tests done on rats showed that maca reduced enlarge prostate glands. Though no studies were made on humans, it may work too.
Maca eaten cooked and as a vegetable may not cause any side effect. Otherwise, the Peruvians would have stopped consuming it. But maca supplements may cause side effects or show no effect at all to some people.
If your diet is low in iodine, you may have to reduce your maca consumption of eat maca that are cream or green in color. This is because red, purple and black maca contain high amounts of a natural compound called glucosinolate which may cause goiter. Or you can increase your foods that are rich in iodine such as haddock, cod, condensed milk, eggs and cheddar cheese.
Just like any other herbs, foods and drinks, some people may be allergic to maca root extract. Some other people's body system may reject it. Before you decide to take maca or any herbal or health supplements, always check with your doctor or do your research.
Anyway, here are some maca effects that indicate that it may not be right for you.