When we’re looking for ways to support our wellness and feel a little better, food and nutrition is a natural place to turn. While eating a balanced diet of fruits, veggies, protein, whole grains, and healthy fats is a great way to ensure that your body gets what you need, superfoods can give you a much-needed boost of essential nutrients. Maca, also known as Peruvian ginseng, is an ingredient that is often touted as an energy-boosting superfood, but what exactly is this ingredient?
You can find maca in all of our energy ball recipes. Let’s take a look at what exactly maca is, and what benefits it can have for our health.
What is Maca?
Maca is a Peruvian root that is related to the radish family, but has a nutty, butterscotch-like taste. With a rich history of being used to support health, maca was historically used by the Incas as a way to boost their strength and energy levels during battle. Today, maca is often used in powdered form, added to smoothies, baking, and health tonics for its health benefits. Maca is an adaptogen, which means that it adapts to what your body needs to support your personal wellness.
What are the Benefits of Maca?
It Boosts Your Energy Naturally
Maca is frequently promoted as a natural energy booster and supplement. Unlike caffeine, maca helps to promote slow burning, sustained energy, making it a great choice if you need an energy boost mid-day. Because of it’s energizing benefits, maca is often used as a pre-workout and has been shown to help increase endurance levels in athletes. In addition to being a great alternative to caffeine, maca can help to promote learning and memory, again making it a great mid-day pick-me-up, or to support you through a time when you’re needing a little extra focus.
It Helps to Balance Your Hormones
Maca helps to balance female hormones, which some evidence showing that adding maca to your diet can help to regulate estrogen levels, which can ease PMS and perimenopause symptoms. This is because maca contains a compound called I-3-C, which works to metabolize any excess estrogen. Some women have found that maca helps to relieve menstrual cramps, prevent hormonal breakouts, improve fatigue, and calm any feelings of irritability.
It’s High in Antioxidants
Like so many plant-based foods, maca is rich in antioxidants. And it’s these powerful compounds that help your body to fight off free radicals which can damage cells, and lead to issues down the line like diabetes and heart disease. It’s also important to choose foods that are packed with antioxidants to help to support your immune system as your immune system uses antioxidants to help fight off infections.
It’s a Superfood
Simply put, superfoods are foods that are rich in a variety of nutrients, making them an easy way to add a punch of power to your meals and snacks. Maca contains several nutrients that can have powerful effects on your body, including:
- Vitamin C: In addition to helping support your immune system, vitamin C helps your body to form collagen and absorb iron, making it another great nutrient for whole food vegans.
- Copper: A lesser-discussed mineral, copper is still an essential nutrient and is actually the third most abundant mineral in our body. It’s necessary for the formation of red blood cells and is an important component of bone health.
- Zinc: Like vitamin C, zinc is another important nutrient for immune health. But, it’s also essential for reducing inflammation and can help prevent age-related diseases
- Iron: Your body needs iron to increase energy and focus, plus it’s also important for our immune system. Along with beans, lentils, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and cashews, maca is a good source of plant-based iron.
- Potassium: Potassium acts as a counterpart to sodium, meaning that it helps you to flush out excess sodium from your body so your system remains in balance. Because of this, making sure you get enough potassium can help to reduce blood pressure and prevent your body from holding onto excessive fluid.
- Iodine: This powerful compound is essential for thyroid health and function, energy levels, and metabolism. Because iodine isn’t found naturally in many plant-based foods, adding maca to your diet can help ensure that you’re getting enough iodine.
- Calcium: Because it’s a building block of your bones, calcium is an important nutrient for maintaining bone health. Maca is a great plant-based source of calcium, and also helps your nerves, muscles, and heart stay healthy.
It Helps to Boost Your Mood
In addition to being a natural energy booster, which can certainly help with uplifting your mood, there are also specific mood-boosting benefits of maca. This adaptogen helps boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, partially thanks to its content of flavonoids.
Why We Use It
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