Maca root may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a superfood. The vegetable root looks starchy, like a turnip or celery root, if even edible. But once it’s incorporated into foods, commonly after being dried and ground into a powder form, maca provides needed nutrients like vitamins and minerals with little taste. Dark leafy greens, berries, or nuts and seeds might come to mind with similar compounds and nutrients. Maca root, from the maca plant, is in the mustard plant family and originally grows in the Andes Mountains in Peru.
On its own, maca root tastes nutty or even earthly with hints of butterscotch. It’s dark, sometimes deep purple, red, or brown where it comes from the ground (this darkness and color is where antioxidants are found). Traditionally and over time, maca root is consumed for its health benefits and vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, iron, and copper. It’s been known for its improved effect on memory, learning, and energy. Some small experimental and clinic studies even confirm the impact of increased sex drive in men and woman.
The powered version of this powerhouse of an ingredient can easily be tossed into smoothies, soups, and more. Browse LivBar’s recipes for inspiration on where to add maca, like into a superfood smoothie or sprinkled on a refreshing summer salad. Maca is also commonly consumed as a supplement in a capsule form.
Several studies have been conducted on the superfood, concluding over again some of the following health benefits. These are just a few of the perceived health benefits that maca root may provide. Read on and do more outside research to learn more about maca vegetable root and how it can benefit your health.
1. Provides vitamins and minerals that most individuals should incorporate into their diet like vitamin C, potassium, copper, and calcium. It's important to regularly incorporate these vitamins and minerals into your diet. For vegan diets especially, the addition of iron and RDA copper proves helpful.
2. Provides protein including several, if not all eight essential amino acids within the protein. This means complete proteins and feeling full and satisfied. Also, healthy fats like unsaturated fatty acids are present in maca alongside carbohydrates and fiber. These are all part of a healthy diet and give you energy to continue through your day.
3. Contains antioxidants. The chemical compounds in the maca root translate to antioxidant effects when the plant is metabolized. This means assumed improved physical performance and cells protected from harm and illness. Learn more about how antioxidants work here.
4. May boost energy and improve mood. Maca has long been used by natives in Peru and throughout time for its impact on energy and performance. A pilot investigation in the National Library of Medicine is one study that concluded maca can improve endurance and energy. Other aspects of the mind come into play here too— Some studies on maca using animals result in improved learning and memory.
5. Increases libido in many genders, according to an article by Gustavo F. Gonzales in the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Maca has long been rumored to increase sex drive and improve menopausal symptoms, too. Its effect on libido has been researched and studied many times and is historically associated with the superfood.
You can easily incorporate more maca root powder into your diet by looking at everyday recipes and your favorite dishes. Think baked goods, your morning coffee or tea, bowls of loaded oatmeal, or fruit and vegetable juice. Sprinkle the powder into a brownie batter alongside dry ingredients like flour to incorporate it evenly. In juices, consider a liquid form of the superfood or stir the powder well. Most notably, maca root powder can be added to a drinkable smoothie or smoothie bowl.
Smoothies are a quick and easy go-to vessel to incorporate several nutrient-packed superfoods and ingredients like maca in your diet. Blend powdered maca with frozen fruit, dairy free milk or fresh juice, dark leafy greens, and flax, chia, or hemp seeds. Need a recipe? We have you covered. Try our Berry Kale Maca Smoothie for the ultimate afternoon pick-me up. Not feeling a smoothie? Get creative by adding a small amount of maca to soups and stews for some extra depth of flavor. The health benefits will come through in any form of maca, from a liquid like a tincture, to a textured solid, powder, or supplemental capsule.