You’ve probably heard about maca and think it is one of those amazing wonder drugs being sold in health shops and specialty stores. You could be wrong as it is neither a drug nor a vitamin supplement. Maca is, in reality, a food that is packed with a lot of natural nutrients that acts beneficially on the body. Maca root, a South American vegetable, has become an immediate sensation due to the benefits that men and women can derive from it. However, there are many incorrect ideas about its effectiveness and safety. Thus, it makes sense to know about it even before you try it out.
What is Maca?
Maca is a vegetable of the crucifer family that has been grown for thousands of years in the Andes mountain regions of Peru. It is related to the radish, cabbage, and broccoli family of vegetables. The high -altitude Andean regions have harsh weather conditions and uninhabited wilderness. These extreme conditions, however, produce high mineral content which is conducive for highly nutritious maca crops to thrive. The ancient Inca culture raised and harvested maca as a food crop. Apart from that, the plant is also used as an energizer by Inca warriors before a battle, and as an aphrodisiac. These two properties of maca root are just two reasons why it is very popular today. Because it has similar effects as the Siberian ginseng, many people refer to maca as the Peruvian ginseng. Various cultures after the Incas have adopted the use of maca for many generations, partly because of its claim to increase libido and fertility, particularly in men. A few years back, other beneficial qualities have been discovered about maca. One of these is its adaptogenic qualities.
Maca Root as an Adaptogen
In herbal medicine, an adaptogen refers to any natural herbal substance that is supposed to help the body cope with stress. It helps increase one’s natural resistance, particularly to environmental stress. It also increases the body’s resistance to disease by promoting physiological and emotional health. Maca is known to be one of the most potent adaptogenic plants.
How Maca Affects the Body
As was mentioned, maca is neither supplemental nor medicinal. It is a food that’s packed with life-sustaining nutrients in easily absorbable forms. The nutrients in maca work synergistically to help the body in its regeneration process, providing the utmost well-being and balance and, as a result, help to recover from various problems. Maca’s beneficial actions are primarily aimed at the pituitary glands and hypothalamus. These glandular activities help the body to balance hormones where it derives such benefits as reduced stress, added energy, increased libido, improved moods, and others.
Benefits of Maca
- Increases energy and sex drive
- Improves the endocrine system functionality and prevents hormone imbalance
- Helps to trim belly fat through the reduction of cortisol
- Helps women cope with menopausal symptoms like mood swings and hot flashes
- Contains significant mineral content that includes potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, and magnesium. Vitamins like B1. B2, C, and E are also found in maca
How Maca Root Can Help You Lose Weight
Little information is known to bolster the claims that maca root helps in weight loss. While it is not generally associated with weight loss, maca’s health properties can help to contribute to a reduction in weight. While there is inconclusive evidence that maca per se can help one lose weight, many believe that maca root’s energizing effects will stimulate movement and exercise. Every person knows that movement and exercise burn calories which eventually lead to weight reduction. By getting caught up in a world of endless stress, highly-strung individuals tend to overlook essential things in life like good nutrition and a healthy diet. Maca aids you to cope with stress and weight loss by assisting your body in regulating and balancing good and bad stress hormones. Since hypertension and heart disease are linked to stress, this is a priceless benefit specially for those trying to survive in today’s tension-filled world.One of the big problems that come with stress is binge eating, mostly the kind of foods that make one overweight and obese. Stress can also encourage one to turn to alcohol and cigarettes to cope with life’s daily tensions. These problems make it easy to put on weight but very hard to lose it. You could be eating a healthy diet, but you can still ruin your health if you eat a lot of junk foods all the time. Constantly going on a food binge will make you fat, and that’s it. If you use maca, you will experience renewed energy and reduced stress hormones to help you survive even when under a lot of pressure. Stress levels will go down naturally so you can concentrate on more important matters in your life. You can stop your unhealthy bingeing, regain control of your diet, and stop yourself from getting fat. Maca is known to keep hormones well-balanced and, due to this, put a stop to stress-related binge eating. With these claims, and a lot of others, maca has recently gained center stage and earned the title of “superfood”. Mary J. Shomon’s book “The Thyroid Diet: Manage Your Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss” refers to maca as an “adaptogenic herb that can help with increasing energy in the body.” By boosting the body’s energy, this plant can speed up your metabolic rate, expend more calories and induce weight loss as a result. This certainly gives maca’s effect on the body a strong case in favor of weight loss. If you’re using maca, you would get better results if you start moving around with your newly found energy instead of just sitting around waiting for weight loss to happen.
One of maca root’s downsides as a health food supplement is its disagreeable taste and odor. To minimize its unpleasant taste and odor, many users include it in smoothies with more prominent flavors.
Side Effects of Maca Root
While there isn’t much information available involving maca side effects, it is reportedly inadvisable for individuals with thyroid problems and those with POS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Remember that just because there are no reported side effects on a food supplement doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. In the case of maca, clinical studies and trials failed to gather information regarding secondary and usually harmful effects. One more possible downside is the arbitrarily changing dosage recommendations. This may lead to different ways of processing maca root and ultimately result in supplements that vary considerably in strength and potency. So check out a more comprehensive guide to maca side effects.
Studies and Evidence
Scientific data is too inadequate to reinforce the claims that maca promotes weight loss and releases more energy. Studies that were made on maca root usually centered on how it can fix hormonal problems and its potential use to treat impotence in men. While maca root showed positive results in these aspects, researchers feel that they need to conduct more tests and collect more evidence to back up their claims. Though maca root would be an excellent supplement to add to your diet, always bear in mind that it is not a magic bullet that can totally improve your health . Consult your physician before you try maca root for weight loss.