Peruvian Maca Root
- what is it & why do you need it? -
Maca root is a medicinal vegetable that grows in the central Peruvian Andes (South America). It is one sturdy vegetable as it survives in extremely harsh climates at 3500-4000 meters above sea level.
The Incan people who consume maca believe that it is sacred and contains incredible power to survive as it does under such extreme stressors. They believe it is this strength, power and resilience is unlocked when it is respected and consumed. Traditionally the roots are harvested annually then naturally sun-dried before being boiled into porridge, teas, broths or elixirs.
But, don't worry, you don't have to travel to the Andes to get it. Luckily, you can head to a health shop or health food store or even get it online in the form of maca powder or in crunchy fragments known as maca nibs.
However, before you rush off to purchase maca, please read on to find the best form to purchase it in, as getting it wrong could be detrimental to your health.
What are the health benefits of taking maca?
improvements in energy, mood and mental health.
promotes hormonal balance to assist with symptoms of perimenopause, menopause and PMS
improves fertility, sexual function and libido
improves metabolic function
reduces levels of inflammation
improves mood, lessens stress, anxiety and depression
and so much more
Furthermore, the different colours of maca are unique in how they work.
Red maca for example is most effective for bone density, female fertility for women and male prostate function for men and it is considered more balancing and harmonising.
In contrast, black maca is more uplifting and effective for improving memory function, learning ability, brain clarity and athletic performance. For men, black maca increased sperm production and enhanced male libido.
Yellow maca is the most common form of maca and is traditionally used for general balance, well-being and resilience to stress.
There are also blends of the different colours available called maca for men and maca for women that contain optimised ratios of the three colours traditionally used by men or women in Peru for those wanting the best of all three colours.
What is the best way to eat maca?
Maca has a sweet and malt caramel flavor that combines well with spices, fruits and bitter foods like cacao. It makes a great addition to your morning breakfast cereals, granola or porridge.
Maca is a fantastic way to add a nutritional hit to your smoothie, fruit juices or fresh fruit salad.
You can also have maca the traditional way by using it as a tea, infused with cinnamon, cloves and dried fruit.
**IMPORTANT** As a starchy root vegetable maca always needs to be cooked before consumption, so ensure your maca is ‘activated’ (sometimes called ‘gelatinised’), as this type of maca is already pre-cooked and can be consumed straight from the bag or jar. Raw maca is like a sponge for bacteria and mould, which can be detrimental to your health.
So what is the best maca products to buy?
Making quality Maca is a blend of tradition, art and science. I absolutely love and recommend buying maca from The Maca Experts and using their Seleno Health products.
The Maca Experts are a small Wellington (in New Zealand) based family business run by Dr Corin Storkey and his partner Sally Huapaya (from Peru). They spend 3-4 months per year working directly with their farmers in Peru and produce farm to table artisanal maca following the ancient traditions of cultivation.
They even run retreats to Peru to connect with both maca and cacao and run a maca research program in collaboration with the University of Victoria in Wellington.
Keen to get your hands on some?
Maca is a wonderful product and, used in conjunction with a holistic approach of nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and mindset changes based on your unique body type, sustainable changes can be made so that you are feeling energised, balanced and vibrant - the way you deserve to feel.
Deciding which maca product is right for you does take a bit of insight. Book in for a complimentary, no obligation 30 minute All About You health and wellness session and you'll receive 10% off all Seleno Health maca products.
Note - all current clients of The Thrive Guide receive a 10% discount on all maca products too.