What’s the scoop on maca? One of our newest local vendors, Dave Nulson of 44th Parallel Superfoods, hopes to fill us in on the wonders of this traditional Peruvian superfood. Dave resides in Middlebury but makes frequent trips to Peru where he first encountered this nutritional powerhouse. He now supplies gelatinized maca powder to our bulk department and is excited to get the word out about this wonderful new product:
Maca For Vitality
It’s hard to walk more than a block through any town in the mountainous “sierra” of Peru mid-morning without running into a vendor selling “maca”, a warm drink made from water, cinnamon, clove, brown sugar and, of course, maca. Although it has been gaining popularity over the last decade in the natural health community of the United States, many health-conscious people are still not familiar with maca. As someone who is married to an (amazing) Peruvian woman (and therefore married into Peruvian culture), I have been consuming maca consistently now for over ten years and have experienced many of its benefits firsthand. Cultivated by ancient Peruvian cultures for several thousand years, maca is a root vegetable that is grown in a limited geographical area in the Andes Mountains. Entire books have been written about its health benefits, but in an effort to provide introductory information I have compiled a list highlighting some of these benefits. Oh, I forget to mention, on top of all these incredible health benefits, IT’S DELICOUS!
Top 5 Health Benefits of Maca:
- Concentrated nutrition – Maca contains high levels of protein, essential amino acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, D and E, minerals iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, potassium and calcium. It is also packed with antioxidants and is especially effective in boosting levels of SOD (superoxide dismutase) and glutathione, two of the most important disease fighters in your body.
- Increased energy and endurance – Maca is unique in that it has been proven to provide a sustained and even boost to energy while not stressing the adrenal (unlike coffee or tea). It is believed that the energy and endurance-boosting properties of maca are primarily due to its concentrated nutritional makeup (see above benefit).
- Mood balance and reduction of stress, depression and anxiety – Recent studies have shown that, when taken regularly, maca has a positive effective on mood and is effective in decreasing stress, depression and anxiety. It is categorized as an adaptogen, which is a term used to describe substances that decrease cellular sensitivity to stress and promote homeostasis.
- Increased libido for men and women – Among the traditional Peruvian cultures, maca has been regarded as a potent aphrodisiac. More recently, studies have shown that it is indeed effective at increasing libido in both men and women.
- Regulates hormone balance – Maca is an endocrine adaptogen, meaning it does not contain any hormones but rather contains the necessary nutrients to promote hormone balance. It has been proven beneficial for PMS, menopause and hot flashes.
You can find 44th Parallel Superfoods gelatinized maca in the bulk herbs and spices section here at the Co-op. “Gelatinized” refers to a process in which all starch is extracted from the maca, making it more digestible and the nutrients more bioavailable for increased absorption. In Peru, maca is always consumed in its gelatinized form. In addition to the warm drink mentioned above, maca is great added to smoothies, juices, yogurt, oatmeal, baked goods, pancake mix, cereal and more! We hope you’ll give it a try!