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What I Need to Know about Maca Root before Including It in My Diet
Internet is loaded with tones of information about the "magical" qualities of maca. It's quite hard to find the right and true answer that we are looking for, as in different placed you might find absolutely different answers. We tried to concentrate here many questions and answers about maca and its properties to help you find the info that you need with no effort. Please feel free to send ask questions that you didn't find answers for them here, and we will supply you the best possible answer in the shortest period of time. Hope that you find our efforts helpful.
Maca Root – What Is It?
Maca is a Peruvian root plant that grows in the high Andean mountains of Peru and Bolivia. Its other names are Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum or Peruvian ginseng. And the part of the plant that is used for medicine is its Root that includes all the nutritional and health benefits that are associated to maca. It's been in use of natives for about 3000 years and is considered to be one the best natural foods due to its excellent and scientifically tested properties.
Maca Root is recommended by medicine practitioners and herbalists for next Health Benefits:
Some of the benefits were scientifically proven by human studies, but some of the benefits are yet to be proven scientifically. Most of the benefits are known from thousands of years of use by native Peruvians. Read more about maca root benefits in Maca Benefits Section.
- Maca Root is a solution for chronic exhaustion syndrome (Fatigue), it increases energy and vitality
Maca Root helps to control the glucose level in blood
Maca root helps to prevent osteoporosis
Preventing skin damage caused by UV radiation
Maca can boost learning and memory capabilities
Maca enhances both men's and women's fertility
Maca root helps to relieve menopausal symptoms such as heat flashes, unstable moods including depression, dryness in vagina and is used as a replacement to HRT (hormone replacement)
Maca root contributes to hormonal balance
Maca improves sexual functioning in both men and women and helps impotence.
Is Maca Root Safe and Who Shouldn't Use it?
Native Peruvians have been using maca for thousands of years and the use it in their daily diet starting from very young age of three years old till very old age. Peruvians use maca root as a part of their regular everyday diet and they have much lower rates of prostate and breast cancer than in our western part of the world.
Maca isn't recommended for pregnant women and women that are breastfeeding, because there aren't enough studies on this group of people. People with problems of high blood pressure shouldn't be taking maca root or should consult their physician, because after taking large quantities of maca there might be a slight rise in blood pressure.
Gelatinized Maca – What Is It?
Gelatinized Maca is received by gelatinization method of using low heat to heat maca under pressure for a few seconds. This method separates from maca root its fibrous parts. It has the following advantages:
- It preserves all the nutritional content of maca root. Most part of the minerals and vitamins of maca are preserved during the process, which make maca such healthy food.
- The main benefit of maca is not in its enzymes, it's in maca's secondary metabolites that include amines, isothiocyanates, amides, and sterols – all of those aren't harmed by Gelatinization process.
- Gelatinization produces very concentrated maca by destroying carbohydrate part of maca and some of the moisture content, and that makes a very concentrated and maca form.
What Form of Maca is Recommended to Take – Raw Maca or Gelatinized Maca?
Traditionally native Peruvians who have been using Maca for many hundreds and thousands of years don't eat Raw Maca and they boil or roast maca root before eating it. Usually they mash cooked maca root like potatoes. Many tried Raw Maca and felt that it irritates their stomach causing stomach pain after taking raw maca root for some time. If you do want to try Raw Maca, try to heat it lightly, it will make it easier for your stomach to digest. If after a while you do pay attention that raw maca hurts your stomach, you can use maca products that come from cooked maca root and not raw. Another great option to try is gelatinized maca which is much easier digested by your stomach and you can absorb essential nutrients better as gelatinization process concentrates the Maca root active ingredients. An additional advantage of Gelatinized Maca is its taste, which is much more pleasant than regular maca powder. Gelatinized Maca has a sweet nutty taste, when regular maca has kind of bitter taste.
Why Raw Maca Might Be Bad for You?
Native people of Peru rarely eat raw maca root because it is hard to digest and after using it for some time, stomach pain might appear. The secondary metabolites of the maca root are much more bioavailable for our body in a cooked form of maca root that in its Raw form. Another reason for preferring another form of maca products over raw maca is that maca root has high moisture content, and that fact causes in many cases bacterial contamination, yeast and mold.
What Form of Maca is the Best for Me and What Maca Dosage is Recommended to Take?
Maca is available in many forms and the only recommendation for you is to take whatever suits your lifestyle and digestion the best way. Maca comes as a capsule, gelatin, powder or liquid. If you like to mix your maca supplement with a sort of smoothie, liquid or powder forms are the best to use. It's important to take your maca consistently over a period of time to give it a change to affect your body. If you have some issues with taste of maca, you might consider taking it in a form of capsules. People might react differently to different forms of maca, as it might be absorbed in different ways in your body. There might be a difference in price between the different forms of maca, liquid is often more expensive than powder.
Maca is a natural food supplement and it shouldn't be harmful even if you consume it in large doses. For your preferred maca dosage you should consult your pharmacist or physician. General recommended dose is between 1500mg to 3000mg a day, which is half teaspoon to full teaspoon a day in powder form, or 3 capsules of 500mg to 6 capsules of 500mg on daily basis. It's important that you start from small doses and increase it gradually, and always pay attention to your body. You might not feel the expected results, if you take smaller doses than the minimum that is required. Maca doesn't require a doctor's prescription as it is not a drug, but it won't hurt consulting your physician before including it in your daily diet.
Should Maca be Taken Only to Treat Health Conditions or It Can also Be Taken for General Well Being?
Native Peruvians have been using Maca in their daily diet for thousands of years starting from very young years. Besides the well known health benefits of maca that were mentioned earlier, daily use of maca boosts our energy and vitality, improves memory and concentration and balances our hormones and improves unstable moods. So it's not even a question, of course it's good to take maca on daily bases to maintain general well being!