For thousands of years, the root of the maca plant has been used for its exceptional medicinal and nutritional properties. Because of all the benefits it offers to humans, it is classified in the category of superfoods.
Maca is a plant native to the Andes, the territory of present-day Bolivia and Peru, and grows at an altitude of between 2,400 and 4,400 meters. According to legend, the Incas gave their warriors maca root powder to increase their strength and endurance.
Its root has been a source of strength and fertility for the natives for centuries. The Spaniards brought maca back home, so they introduced Europe to this plant.
Maca root is very nutritious and is a great source of several important vitamins and minerals. An ounce of maca root powder contains 10% RDI of Manganese, 15% RDI of Vitamin B6, 16% RDI of Potassium, 23% RDI of Iron, 85% RDI of Copper, 133% RDI of Vitamin C, 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs and only 91 calories.
Only this high nutritional value would make maca a highly valued ingredient, but there are many other beneficial properties. Furthermore, maca also contains glucosinolates and polyphenols.
Learning and memory
Numerous studies show that maca can improve brain function. This is, in fact, its original use in the traditional medicine of the Peruvian natives to improve children's performance in school.
Other studies have shown that maca improves learning and memory in subjects that have memory impairment.
Scientists classify maca as an adaptogen - substances for a better adaptation of the organism. As an adaptogen, maca increases the body's endurance and resistance to stress, anxiety, trauma, and exhaustion. Studies show that regular consumption of maca benefits the immune system and increases resistance to physical and mental difficulties. As an adaptogen, maca contributes to the overall well-being of the body.
Calcium, phosphorus, vitamins B1 and B12 and fatty acids have a beneficial effect on the nervous system, stimulate appetite, and have a positive effect on digestion.
Sterols, calcium, and vitamin C from maca help build muscle mass and increase physical endurance. That is why maca is one of the dietary supplements used by many top athletes.
Maca also contains four unique alkaloids - macaine 1, 2, 3, 4 - which are not found in any other plant. Maca alkaloids help utilize all the nutrients from maca that the body needs.
There are literally tens of other potential benefits maca has for health, some of them being reduced prostate size in subjects with increased prostate, boosted energy and sports performance, UV-protecting properties when applied to skin, increased fertility in men, increased libido, etc.