Maca for Hormonal Health | Charu Naava
What is maca?
Maca is an Andean crop that belongs to the brassica family, along with cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and turnips. It’s been cultivated for over 3000 years, looks similar to a turnip, and has a malty, nutty flavor. Maca root can be found as a powder, pill, plant extract, and flour, and has traditionally been used to boost fertility in both animals and humans. Maca is frequently cited as a superfood.
What is maca used for?
Maca has gained a reputation for helping balance hormones and reverse hypothyroidism. It is an endocrine adaptogen, meaning that it does not contain any hormones, but rather it contains the nutrients necessary to support normal hormone production.
Maca is good for your hair, skin, nails and digestion system keeping your gut healthy and regular.
Maca is also used to remedy sexual dysfunction, increase energy, improve memory and treat depression/anxiety, however many of these benefits are not substantiated by research
Maca nutrition facts
Maca powder is fairly energy dense with 91 kcal per ounce (roughly 2 tablespoons), most of which comes from carbohydrate. Two tablespoons of maca powder also provides 133% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C, 23% of the recommendation for iron, and 16% of the recommendation for potassium. These nutrients help maintain the immune system, regulate blood pressure, and transport oxygen.
Maca root powder also contains copper, vitamin B6, and manganese, as well as phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogen are believed to weakly mimic the actions of estrogen, and may help alleviate menopausal symptoms.
What does science say about maca?
Evidence for the health benefits of maca products is limited. Animal models and a handful of (small) human trials indicate that maca preparations may boost sexual desire in men and women, and improve semen count, sperm motility and erectile dysfunction in men, when taken daily . However, this research is preliminary and further investigation is needed before maca can be confidently prescribed for sexual dysfunction.
A small pilot study suggests that maca may also be useful for alleviating symptoms experienced by peri-menopausal women such as hot flashes, night sweats, nervousness, and depression. Again, more research is needed before maca can be recommended for menopausal symptoms
Incorporating Maca into your diet
Maca powder can be added to milk to make a maca lattes, or used as a mix-in for smoothies, oatmeal, and soups. It can also be roasted and eaten than way, although this is said top be less common in America and Australia.
I love adding one full scoop of Maca to my homemade smoothie.