Hailing from the Peruvian Andes of South America, Maca is the highest altitude crop in the world, growing around 4300m. Since it grows in extreme conditions, it is good for people who push their bodies to the extreme. Whether you are an athlete, live in an extreme climate, or need to cope with the stress of modern life, Maca can benefit you in many ways.
Maca comes from the cruciferous family (kale, broccoli, cabbage, turnip) but have more of a nutty or butterscotch flavor. You can find Red Maca, Black Maca and Yellow Maca in powdered form in many health food stores. All three varieties are extremely healthful but have particular areas in which they benefit more or less than the other. Have a look here for more info on the different varieties.
6 Health Benefits of Using Maca
1. Relieves Stress – The oxford dictionary defines an adaptogen as “a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.” Maca increases blood oxygen content, thus helping us adapt to physical and environmental stressors. This normalizing effect is called homeostasis, our body in perfect balance as it should be in nature. Another well-known adaptogen is ginseng.
2. Increases Energy and Stamina – The Incans knew of Maca’s ability to prolong energy and stamina. They even used it as an Incan currency in Pre- and Post-conquest times in Spain.
3. Increases Libido – High in minerals such as calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfur, tin and zinc, Maca has aphrodisiac qualities and has been touted to increase libido for many centuries. Studies have found that Maca increases sperm production, boosts fertility and is also a natural anti-depressant. More of these studies can be found here.
4. Balances Hormones – Because Maca especially supports the endocrine system, it has positive effects on your adrenal hormones and can in fact repair exhausted adrenal glands.
5. Regulates Thyroid Function – Another positive health benefit of Maca is that it can help regulate healthy thyroid function, how fast or slow you burn this energy.
6. Increases Energy – By balancing hormones, providing plenty of protein and amino acids to build muscle, increasing stamina and oxygen in blood, Maca increases vitality and energy throughout the whole body.
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