If you want to try a superfood that can give you more energy, stamina and balance your hormones, then Maca might be your new best friend.
It’s actually a plant (a bit like a radish) that only grows in the Andes mountains in Peru. The local people have valued its root for centuries for its dense nutritional content and medicinal properties.
Energy levels – rich in B vitamins, protein, minerals and good fats, all needed for energy production. It even contains B12 so is a good choice for vegans.
Stress response – it helps to regulate your stress response so you feel more in control. Also contains magnesium which is a muscle relaxer.
Mood and memory – maca is high in amino acids (protein) that help with memory and mood.
PMS and fertility – it acts as an ‘adaptogen’, which means that it helps increase hormones if they are low, and bring them down if they are high. This balancing effect helps to keep excess oestrogen in check so that PMS type symptoms are reduced and fertility enhanced.
Sex drive – its Peruvian nickname is ‘nature’s viagra’!
It comes in a golden coloured powder and tastes a bit malty (I love it but its probably an acquired taste!). You can mix it into smoothies, juice, soups, milk or coffee (surprisingly good!). Mix it with raw cacao and you’ve got a double whammy of superfood heaven!
Try this delicious maca chocolate smoothie (great for breakfast!);
- 250ml almond milk (unsweetened)
- half a can of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp maca
- 1 tbsp raw cacao
- small banana
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp raw honey, maple syrup or 2 soft dates to sweeten
- some ice cubes
Blend all ingredients well and enjoy!
Be warned though. Anything that affects our hormones should be consumed in moderation. Start with a teaspoon a day, working up to a tablespoon. Don’t take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and check with your doctor if you have a health condition.
Try it for a month and see if you notice a difference. Come back and share your thoughts!
[toggle title=”Sources” open=”no”]
Balick MJ, Lee R. “Maca: from traditional food crop to energy and libido stimulant.” Altern Ther Health Med. 2002 Mar-Apr;8(2):96-8
Shin BC, Lee MS, Yang EJ, Lim HS, Ernst E. “Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review.” BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Aug 6;10:44.
Valentova K et al. The in vitro biological activity of Lepidium meyenii extracts. Cell Biology and Toxicology. (2006) 22.2:91-9. [/toggle]