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Is Maca a Superfood?

By Emily Lindholm

If you've paid any attention to health trends in recent years, surely you've heard of maca. Maca is a root, native to Peru, and it is commonly available as a powder form and sold in stores worldwide.  It has gained popularity in recent years due to its reputation as a powerful superfood.  Traditionally, it has been used to enhance fertility and sex drive.  People are now using it for energy and even as a coffee substitute, as it has the ability to improve energy levels and stamina.  

What is Maca?

Maca is in the ginseng family and is sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng.  It grows at high altitudes in the Andes and has a long history of culinary use in Peru.  The root of the plant is the main edible part, which is often dried and used as a powder.  The taste is earthy and a bit nutty.  Pairing well with chocolate, it is often added to many desserts and smoothies.  

The Benefits of Maca 

Maca is famous for being an adaptogenic food, which means that it can support energy levels whether you are too stimulated or too tired.  In other words, it has the ability to bring you up if you need it or calm you down.  It works on your hormone levels, which is why it can help to improve fertility and sex drive.  It can even help alleviate symptoms of menopause in menopausal women.  

Another thing we know for sure about maca is that it is highly nutritious.  Maca has a good amount of fiber and contains a rather high amount of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Copper 
  • Iron

Certain bioactive compounds, such as glucosinolates and polyphenols, can be found in maca, which is beneficial for gut support and immune function. 

Maca as a Coffee Replacement

One reason why maca is so popular and labeled as a superfood is that it is widely being used as a coffee replacement.  Due to its ability to increase your energy and stamina, many people drink it in the morning instead of coffee.  It can also be used in the afternoon for a boost for those who are sensitive to the afternoon coffee that might keep them up at all hours of the night if they're not careful.  

Maca is most popularly paired with raw cacao.  Cacao is a fancy word for cocoa.  It's the purest form of chocolate powder.  The two of these together have been known to produce an energetic effect without giving the nervous system too much of a jolt.  

Conclusion

Maca is a highly nutrient-dense food and used for a variety of reasons, including increased energy levels.  It has gained in popularity in recent years, so more research may be needed, but it has proven to help many people ditch their coffee habits for a healthier nervous system.  Maca could easily be labeled as a superfood, which by definition means "a nutrient-rich food that provides many health benefits."  

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Grand Prairie, Tex.

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