The benefits of Maca
Maca’s botanical name is Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum and is part of the same plant family as cauliflower, cabbage and sprouts. Maca is a pleasant tasting supplement with a creamy, butterscotch, nutty flavour. Maca is often referred to as Peruvian ginseng, and has been cultivated and traditionally used for thousands of years to enhance fertility, increase energy, relieve menopause and regulate menstrual cycles.
Ideally buy a product which is raw, organic and 100% pure. Maca powder can be added to foods such as smoothies, cereals, yoghurt or porridge. For general wellbeing most people will take 1-2 tbsp daily. It is generally considered a safe supplement.
Antioxidant Antioxidant modulation is a major benefit of taking maca powder. It has the capacity to scavenge free radicals and protect cells against damage. Maca is considered more a more potent antioxidant than vitamin E.
Enhance nutrition Maca root powder is an excellent source of carbohydrates, fibre, amino acids and fatty acids. It is rich in the minerals iron, calcium, manganese, sodium, potassium, copper and zinc as well as niacin, riboflavin and vitamin C. There is also a range of phytonutrients which contribute to many of the pharmacological benefits.
Reduce stress, increase energy and improve memory Maca is an adaptogen which means that it can help us to adapt to the stress we are experiencing, including preventing increases in cortisol, adrenal size and feelings of fatigue. Clinical trials have shown a positive impact on mood, energy and stamina. Several studies have found that maca root also benefits memory and focus.
Improve sexual function and desire There is a long history of use of maca as a sexual stimulant and aphrodisiac. Trials have shown great improvements in 8-12 weeks in sexual function, particularly with an increase in libido and orgasm.
Menopausal symptom relief Various clinically trials have found maca can help with a variety of menopausal symptoms including night sweats, hot flushes, fatigue, headaches & anxiety.
Enhance fertility There are some studies carried out on men and animals that show an improvement in reproductive function, but much of what we know is based on traditional uses. In animals, maca extract exhibits oestrogenic activity and increases levels of luteinising hormone which is essential for ovulation. Interestingly, maca is traditionally used for enhancing fertility of livestock living at high altitudes. Perhaps we can learn from this. Lipid and glucose metabolism Maca has been shown to support cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reduce blood glucose levels. It has also been shown to decrease blood pressure for some. With cardiovascular disease and diabetes at epidemic proportions, Maca is a simple and easy, cost effective addition to our diet.
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