Superfood Spotlight: Maca
Explore the origins, nutritional benefits, and believed medicinal benefits of Maca root in this article.
Native to the mountains of Peru, the maca plant is a cruciferous vegetable (related to kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) that grows underground and looks similar to a turnip or parsnip. Maca grows exclusively at very high altitudes, and is actually one of the only plants that can grow at such heights. For centuries, people have consumed maca for its nutritional and presumed medicinal benefits, ranging from the mood boosting to increasing libido. In the 1980s, international organizations like FAO actually promoted maca production worldwide for health purposes. As of recent years, maca’s gained popularity in the US and has been deemed both an adaptogenic herb and a superfood. Learn why and about some of the benefits of maca below!
A nutritional powerhouse, maca is an excellent source of several important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C (get that glowing skin), copper (helps form collagen), and zinc (boosts your immune system). The high levels of iron and iodine maca possesses are great for promoting healthy cells and keeping your metabolism on track. Maca is also relatively high in fiber and calcium, and contains all eight essential amino acids.
Adaptogenic herbs are “defined as agents that support the body’s ability to accommodate varying physical and emotional stresses”. Considered herbal pharmaceuticals, such herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic healing traditions as they counteract effects of physiological, biochemical, and psychological stress in the body.
Main Potential Benefits of Maca
Several studies have shown that maca can enhance your mood, potentially even reducing anxiety and symptoms of depression, especially in menopausal women. This relates to the fact that Maca has been shown to balance hormones, which might help ease cramps during that special time of the month.
- Improves Energy and Endurance
Maca root has been shown to provide energy that will sustain you throughout the day. Avoid the caffeine crash by opting for maca, which will help you feel more awake and may even improve athletic performance.
Maca has been proven effective at improving sexual desire in both men and women. Although long considered an aphrodisiac, recent research on maca similarly suggests the root’s ability to boost libido.
Maca and Daily Crunch
With these benefits and superfood properties in mind, the Daily Crunch team infused our Cacao + Sea Salt Sprouted Almonds with maca! The cacao and monk fruit add even more to the superfood punch in this snack. Get crunching our Cacao + Sea Salt snack to get in your vitamins and boost your mood!