On our previous article, we did a short introduction on Maca Root where we touched on a few topics such as its origin, uses and scientific based evidence on its various medicinal attributes and benefits.
A brief recap on the previous article: We took a look at Maca root’s history and nutritional components, where we found out that:
Maca root is a herbaceous plant native to the high Andes of Peru, which was typically used as a staple diet by the Peruvian people over 2600 years ago and now due to its increased popularity it is grown for its tap root’s nutritional and medicinal values.
It is considered a superfood and for a good reason because it is high in Carbohydrates, dietary Fiber, Proteins, Fats, Amino acids, Vitamin C, B complex, and E. It is also considered as a great source of Calcium, Iron, Selenium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium.
We also talked about the various physical benefits of consuming Maca, where we mentioned the following: The first 2 points being the best-known benefits of Maca root, which has been backed by numerous scientific research and extended studies conducted on volunteers who were experiencing sexual issues such as low libido in both men and women and erectile dysfunction in men.
- Maca has been used to effectively treat erectile dysfunction and to promote sexual drive in older people. It is also thought to be an aphrodisiac for both men and women with low libido. More studies are being carried out on its ability to balance hormones and increase fertility.
- It is used as a dietary supplement that can help reduce and relieve menopausal related symptoms in women such as mood swings, hot flashes, depression, menstrual irregularities, and anxiety. It may also be used reduce enlarged prostates in men.
- It is used to increase strength and stamina in athletes and active people in general.
- Maca can help in managing various internal systems such as the lymphatic, cardiovascular, hormonal, and nervous systems.
- Maca is used to stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, which in turn balances the adrenal, pancreas, thyroid, testicular and ovarian glands.
- Relief chronic fatigue syndrome and enhance memory. Maca may also help to alleviate symptoms of mood disorders such as anxiety, stress, and depression.
- Treat HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leukemia, Anemia and Help wounds heal more quickly.
- Clears the skin in terms of blemishes, breakouts, and acne for a smoother looking complexion. Maca is known to decrease skin sensitivity in hot and cold weather.
- Helps in restoring stronger hair and hardening brittle nails. It may help in teeth and bone health.
- Lowers cholesterol Levels, restores red blood cell in people with anemia and cardiovascular ailments by supplying the blood with ample iron.
Nutritional and beneficial properties of Maca root are:
High in Protein: We all know that protein plays a vital role to build and repair tissues, to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. It is also an important building block of blood, muscles, bones, cartilage and skin. Maca contains 10% protein, which comes in handy for endurance athletes such as triathletes as it helps in the recovery process from injuries incurred during training.
High in Plant Sterols: Maca root contains quite a number of plant sterols such as Sitosterol, Campestral, Ergosterol, Brassicasterol, and Ergostadienol, which have been proven in more than 50 clinical studies to lower cholesterol and promote hormone balance. While plant sterols may not be nutritionally appropriate for pregnant or breastfeeding women and children under 5 years, it makes for a great dietary supplement for high-performance athletes and individuals who are trying to keep fit or lose weight.
High in Trace Nutrient content: Trace minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and linoleic fatty acids, provide unique benefits such as transporting oxygen to the muscles and boosting the synthesis of neurotransmitters for a healthy brain function, support energy levels and boost stamina and vitality, which can be nothing but the perfect trifecta for sports and health enthusiasts.
Rich in Iodine: Maca contains about 10 micrograms of iodine per 10 grams of the root. Iodine is important for a proper thyroid function as it makes the hormones that help to regulate metabolic rate and keep the heart, lungs, and intestines healthy. The recommended daily intake of iodine is 150 micrograms per day.
High in Carbohydrates: 60 percent of Maca root is mainly carbohydrate in the form of starches and sugars, which is the body’s main source of energy that helps fuel muscles, heart, brain, kidneys, the central nervous system, aids digestion, increases satiety, and keeps blood cholesterol levels in check. This is why Maca root powder is recommended to athletes as an exercise and dietary supplement. It is also a favorite among raw-food foodies in making power smoothies.
High in Selenium: It is an important trace mineral for a healthy immune system, fertility, and cognitive function. The recommended daily intake for selenium is 55 microgram per day for a healthy production or prostaglandins, which regulate and reduce inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate cancer. It can also prevent the formation of free radicals and prevent sunburn when paired with vitamin E. Caution must, however, be exercised because consuming too much selenium may cause toxicity (although rare) such as skin and nail changes, tooth decay and neurological abnormalities.
High in B Vitamins: These 8 B vitamins help our bodies convert food into fuel in order to keep us energized and our bodies running like well-oiled machines. It’s no wonder the Inca people relied heavily on the Maca roots to build Machu Pichu! B vitamins also promote healthy skin and hair, prevents migraines and memory loss.
There is a lot more to be said about Maca root that cannot be exhausted in just one topic. As we continue to explore more about this ancient supperfood, we shall take a look at its benefits when taken as a sports supplement by athletes and those in enduarance sports such as ironman, triathletes and ultra trails .