In Mandy’s Pantry: Maca Powder

Have you heard of Maca powder?  Maca root is a food that you might want to pay attention to, especially if you’ve experienced chronic stress or have hormonal imbalances.  Maca is a superfood that I definitely keep in my pantry, so here’s a bit more about it.

What is Maca?

Maca is actually a root vegetable that sort of resembles the radish. Native to Peru, and much like a lot of the superfoods, Maca grows in the mountains at very high altitudes. In North America, Maca root is available in the form of powder, where the maca has been dried and milled, making it easy to consume.  It’s rarely used in a quantity large enough to taste, but I do find it tastes a bit butterscotch-y.

Why use it?

Maca root has been used for centuries and rightfully so. It’s a source of a number of nutrients including calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E which all help to boost the immune system.

More interestingly, Maca is also classified as an adaptogen, which helps the body naturally adapt to physical, mental and biochemical stresses. In fact, one can usually feel a slight energy boost after consumption.

As it is an adaptagen, Maca is a food that can strengthen glands (for example: adrenal glands and pituitary glands) in the endocrine systems.  What’s important to note about this is that when we put our body under chronic or prolonged stress, it’s typically our adrenal glands that take the hit. Since these glands are responsible for the regulation of so many hormones, if they aren’t functioning properly, then it leads to a host of other hormone problems like fertility, sex drive, energy level, menstrual issues and menopause symptoms.

So, as Maca can help re-strengthen your hormone producing glands, it has been known to help alleviate hormone related problems. There are only a few studies that have been done on the power of Maca, however there is research showing proven ‘favourable effects’ on mood and energy, along with showing increased sperm count, sperm motility, and semen volume.  There was also the side benefit of increased libido. 🙂

Where can I buy it?

Maca root can be found in health food stores, generally in the same place as other super foods like goji berries and cacao powder.  Navita Naturals is a brand I really like.

How do I eat it?

I’ve only ever seen it in powder form. I add 1-2 tsp of the powder to my smoothies sometimes.  I don’t do it all the time, but just 1-2 times a week.  You could also add it to morning oatmeal, or to a dessert recipe.

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