Maca, also known as Peruvian Ginseng, is part of the well loved Brassicaceaefamily. Among its relatives are the nutritional powerhouses: mustard, broccoli, kale, and cabbage. It is an edible herbaceous plant that is indigenous to South America in the high Andes mountains of Peru. The most economically important part of this plant is its roots that is composed of an enlarged hypocotyl fused to a taproot which is used for cooking or as an aid in traditional medicine. Although it can be cooked as a root vegetable, it is mostly dried and used as a powder of processed further: gelatinised or made into an extract.
Studies around Maca are still in their early stages. However, many people attest to the many benefits gained from taking Maca root. That is because Maca is extremely nutritious. An ounce of it contains only 91 calories but has 20g of carbs, 4g of protein, 2g of fibre, 133% of the RDI of Vit. C, 85% of the RDI of copper, 23% of the RDI of iron, 16% of the RDI of potassium, 15% of the RDI of Vit. B6, and 10% of the RDI of manganese. It has a lot of bio-active plant compounds, contains all eight amino acids, and is an excellent source of phytonutrients.
Maca is a good source of carbs and it is an excellent source of energy. It is even known to boost energy and performance. It is actually a very popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders. There’s a randomised crossover study done at Northumbria University to investigate the effect of 14 days Maca supplementation on endurance performance and sexual desire in trained male cyclists. It is said to improve their endurance in a 40-kilometer time trial and also improved their self rated sexual desire score.
People take Maca to boost endurance. Maca fans everywhere swear by Maca’s ability to provide a steady and balanced shot of energy without the sudden and dreadful crash that comes from crabs, sugar, or caffeine. Researchers don’t know exactly how Maca delivers this energy boost but it might as well have something to do with Maca being an adaptogenic plant.
You might have already heard the word adaptogenic a couple of times on this blog. That’s because we’re really big fans of adaptogenic plants. After all, adaptogens are herbs and roots or other plant parts that help the body handle stress, help improve your mood, and help you resist all kinds of stressors.
How Maca helps provide energy is by doing to the adrenal glands what exercise does for the muscles. Here’s a simple analogy: exercise puts stress on the body, but as you exercise, you continuously train your muscles to deal with the stress of exercise and so you no longer get tired after a while. Similar to exercise, Maca helps you efficiently handle stress to ensure that your body fires at optimum performance and doesn’t tire out easily and thus, gives you sustained energy over time.
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