Also known as 'Peruvian Ginseng', Maca is known for its medicinal, nutritional and healing benefits. Being part of the cruciferous vegetable family, it is high in glucosinolates (a compound known for their anti-cancer effects).
Other cruciferous veggies include cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, boy chow, arugula (rocket), collard greens etc.
Maca is also a tuber vegetable. A tuber vegetable is a starchy root vegetable that grows underneath the ground. Other tubers include sweet potato, yams, kumara, taro, potato, Jerusalem artichoke, beetroot and carrot.
The Andean people of Peru have been growing and consuming Maca for over 2,000 years for a few reasons:
- Because Maca is a tough plant that can survive the harshest weather and climate conditions such as frost. It also is resistant to disease.
- Because Maca is high in nutrients and powerful healing/medicinal benefits
Potential Benefits of Consuming Maca
- Natural energy-booster
- Sleep enhancer
- Bone health (contains calcium)
- Adrenal health (adrenal fatigue)
- Powerful adaptogen (to help the body adapt to stress)
- Fertility (especially for males)
- Libido support
- Prostate support (males)
- Menopause relief (helps to boost oestrogen)
- Muscle function (contains decent amounts of potassium)
- Mood enhancer
- PMS relief
- Cognitive function and memory (brain health for all)
- Thyroid health (contains iodine)
- Respiratory conditions
Women & Maca
Women can greatly benefit from taking maca and these potential benefits are bullet point-listed above. One of the main reasons that women are drawn to maca is because of how powerful it can be for adrenal health (regulating cortisol levels and nourishing the adrenal glands) and balancing hormones.
According to MD Amy Myers:
"Maca can boost the function of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to restore balance and mitigate adrenal fatigue".
There are many studies available online for how maca can help both women and men and many of these links can be found in our references below (if you'd like to dig a little deeper)?
What we love about maca is how yummy it is. It mixes so effortlessly into smoothies, yoghurt, pancakes and more!
Men & Maca
Maca is well-known amongst women as many women have used maca to help with hormone issues (that come with our monthly cycle, perimenopause and menopause, but did you know that men can also hugely benefit?
Men can get a lot out of maca as maca contains some serious nutrition! Nutrients such as EFAs (essential fatty acids), fibre, calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and important protein and amino acids.
Based on a 10g serving (4 tsp0 of maca, this is the amino acid values:
- Alanine – 6.3 mg
- Arginine – 9.9 mg
- Aspartic Acid – 9.2 mg
- Glutamic Acid – 15.7 mg
- Glycine 6.8 mg
- Histidine – 4.2 mg
- HO-Proline – 2.6 mg
- Isoleucine – 4.78 mg
- Leucine – 9.1 mg
- Lysine – 5.5 mg
- Methionine – 2.8 mg
- Phenylalanine – 5.5 mg
- Proline - .05 mg
- Sarcosine - .07 mg
- Serine -- 5.0 mg
- Threonine – 3.3 mg
- Tryptophan - .5 mg
- Tyrosine – 3.0 mg
- Valine- 7.3 mg
Note: getting in enough amino acids as you age is vital for men but also for women. Ageing can cause muscle loss, so ensuring you're getting enough amino acids through your diet is a wise wellness strategy!
Maca is not just a source of aminos (as listed above) but also those other important nutrients which we mentioned. If you're looking to up your amino acids game, I would suggest this maca and also the hydrolyzed collagen powder as it also contains most of the essential amino acids for good health and muscle wellbeing.
If you're a man or woman and reading this, blog you may be also dealing with stress, it's near impossible to avoid in this modern world! So, one of the best things you can do is arm yourself with some great adaptogens like maca.
Adaptogens are herbs (or foods) that help our bodies adapt to stress of all kinds, be that emotional, mental, environmental etc.
Maca is great to have in your wellness stack and it's very affordable too!
Lastly, it may also help to support focus and brain health so it could be great if you're looking for affordable brain-boosters to add to your repertoire.
Raw Maca Vs Gelatinised Maca
Raw maca is the product we stocked first and I love it, but then I learned about gelatinised maca and it's not what I thought.
I had this idea that it involved gelatin, which the name kind of implies doesn't it? The name is confusing as but let me explain...
So raw maca is just the wholefood powdered version of the root vegetable in a convenient form and it contains the full spectrum of goodness.
Some folks though have great trouble digesting starches so enter... gelatinised maca.
The truth is, that 'gelatinised' maca contains ZERO gelatin and is simply the heat-based extrusion process that turns raw maca into a highly digestible product. That is because the starch is removed.
Now while some of the nutrients don't survive the processing, many do so it is still a fantastic food for people looking to boost nutrition.
Advantages of Gelatinised Maca
- Gentle on sensitive tummy's: much easier to digest as the starch is removed, making it low FODMAP
- Higher concentration of nutrients
- Activated nutrients: some nutrients (metabolites + minerals) in maca are boosted through the heating process (not vitamin c though)
Disadvantages of Gelatinised Maca
Now, please don't be perturbed because gelatinised maca is still very good for health and if you can'r digest starch, gelatinised maca will be a great option for you.
- Loss of enzymes and vitamin C
- Loss of glucosinolates
Choose Your Source Carefully
These days, much of the worlds supply of Maca comes from China so the Maca you find in the store and online many be coming from China. The Maca powder that we stock here at Perfect Supplements Australia is grown sustainably in the Andes mountains of Peru.
When you choose Power Super Foods Maca, you are getting the very best quality, quality that you will taste and feel.
There are extracts in maca that are known to act like oestrogen so if you have any hormone-sensitive condition (breast/uterine/ovarian cancer, thyroid issues, endometriosis or uterine fibroids), you may want to avoid maca. Also, if you have any problem that oestrogen exacerbates you may wish to avoid use.
Maca is not known to interact with any herbs, medications or supplements.
Disclaimer: the information in this article is intended purely as information and not health advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and one should always seek expert advice from their trusted health practitioner.