Here’s the science behind the incredible health benefits of organic maca

South America is a continent rich in incredible superfoods. From quinoa to acai berries, camu camu and cacao, this fertile land produces some of the best and most nutritionally dense foods you can eat to support optimal health. But among these distinguished natural products, there is one that has been revered for its many health-supporting properties since ancient times. This superfood is none other than the root vegetable, maca.

Maca, known scientifically as Lepidium meyenii, is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the mustard (Brassicaceae) family. This large family of flowering plants is widely studied for their medicinal properties and includes familiar, similarly nutritious vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. [1]

Maca is native to the high Andes mountains of Peru and is sometimes called Peruvian ginseng. Often described as a hardy “wonder crop,” maca thrives in inhospitable environments and grows at extremely high altitudes of over 4,000 meters (15,000 ft), where no other crop can produce good yields. [2] Although maca can be cultivated in other climates and at lower altitudes, reports suggest that foreign maca root is no match for Peruvian maca root in terms of size, potency, cleanliness and nutrient content. [3]

The history of maca as a functional food and medicine

Archaeologists believe that the cultivation of maca likely began some 2,000 years ago in what is now the province of Junin in central Peru. The ancient Peruvians originally used maca only as food for livestock. But after noticing its beneficial effects on the energy levels and health of their animals, they adopted maca as food themselves and began using it as a natural remedy. [4]

Some historians claim that the rise of the Inca civilization, whose empire was the largest ever seen in pre-Colombian America, could be attributed to a healthy diet based on maca. Before marching off to battle, the formidable Inca warriors were said to have consumed maca to increase their strength and stamina and improve their physical performance. [5]

The Inca also used maca as a traditional remedy to enhance sexual function, improve mental clarity and treat various ailments. Some records even suggest that maca was used as a form of currency and was traded for foods like rice, corn, quinoa and beans. [6]

When the Spanish came to Peru in the 1500s, they wrote about maca and how people in the Peruvian highlands, where normal crops are difficult to grow, relied on it for nutrition. In 1549, Juan Tello de Sotomayor, a Spanish conquistador, reportedly received the highly prized maca as a tribute from Peruvian natives. In 1553, Pedro Cieza de Leon, another conquistador and chronicler of the Spanish conquest of Peru, published the first written description of maca. He noted that the root was mainly used by natives to maintain good health. [7]

But it wasn’t until 1653 that the beneficial properties of maca were first documented. In his writing, Father Cobo referred to maca as a nourishing food that can also be used to support healthy fertility. An 18th century writing also referred to maca as a natural stimulant. Modern researchers believe that this refers to maca’s positive effect not only on energy levels, but also on one’s mood and overall well-being. 

Maca can be consumed in different ways. Traditionally, the hypocotyl – the stem just below the seed leaf – of the plant is dried naturally and then boiled to make maca juice. When fermented, this juice can be mixed with liquors or used to make desserts. Maca root can also be boiled and mixed with fruit juice and milk to make a thick broth. According to research, Peruvian natives consume more than 20 grams (g) of dried maca per day.

The health benefits of organic maca

Maca root comes in a variety of colors, the most common of which are yellow, red and black. Red and black maca have a milder taste than yellow maca, although red maca is slightly sweeter than black maca. [8] Each of these three has their own specific use. [9] [10] [11]

Red, black and yellow maca roots contain a wide range of health-supporting phytonutrients, such as alkaloids, tannins, saponins, glycosides and glucosinolates. Glucosinolates, in particular, are extensively studied for their health benefits. Found exclusively in cruciferous vegetables like maca, these sulfur-containing compounds are broken down by your body into isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol. [12]

According to studies, isothiocyanates can support your body’s natural production of antioxidant enzymes. [13] These molecules help protect your body by neutralizing free radicals, which can damage healthy cells if allowed to accumulate. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension also found that an isothiocyanate known as sulforaphane can support optimal cardiovascular function by helping maintain healthy blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range. [14]

Meanwhile, indole-3-carbinol has been shown to support healthy hormone levels. [15] A study published in the International Journal of Obesity also reported that indole-3-carbinol can support a healthy immune system by positively influencing the activities of certain immune cells. [16]

Aside from glucosinolates, organic maca root also contains an abundance of macamides, which are considered to be its signature active components. Macamides have been linked by studies to many of the benefits associated with eating maca. For instance, a study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that supplementation with macamide-rich organic maca root powder can support healthy cognitive function. [17] The researchers attributed this to the protection offered by antioxidant macamides against oxidative stress, which has been linked to brain aging. [18]

Macamides can also help maintain healthy mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are membrane-bound organelles that produce most of the chemical energy cells need to power important biochemical reactions. [19] Thanks to their ability to scavenge free radicals that can damage mitochondria, macamides can support healthy energy metabolism, which allows you to maintain healthy energy levels.

Macamides can also support healthy stamina and endurance. According to a study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology, a macamide known as N-benzoyloleamide can help reduce fatigue caused by exercise. [20] N-benzoyloleamide is said to work by supporting your body’s natural production of antioxidants, which help keep your brain, muscles, liver and mitochondria healthy and functioning optimally.

As mentioned in historical records, one of the earliest uses of organic maca is for supporting healthy reproductive function. An article published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported that maca’s ability to support healthy sexual function in males has been proven in many clinical trials. [21] The researchers attributed maca’s reproductive health benefits to the unique combination of macamides, glucosinolates, alkaloids and other potent phytonutrients found in its root.

Aside from being a natural stimulant, organic maca is also widely known as an adaptogen. Adaptogens are powerful herbs that can help you mount a healthy response to stress by supporting healthy hormone functions. Because of their positive effects, adaptogens are often used to support mental health. [22]

According to research, the macamides in maca root can support healthy anandamide levels that are already within the normal range. [23] Also known as the “bliss molecule,” anandamide is an endocannabinoid produced by your brain that stimulates feelings of happiness. [24] Thanks to macamides’ activities in the brain, eating organic maca can help uplift your mood naturally.

To recap, here are the incredible health benefits of organic maca:

  • Supports healthy immune function
  • Supports healthy cardiovascular function
  • Supports healthy cognitive function
  • Supports healthy reproductive function
  • Supports healthy energy levels
  • Supports healthy stamina and endurance
  • Supports healthy hormone levels
  • Naturally elevates mood 

Where to find clean, lab-verified organic maca root powder

Thanks to the popularity of maca as a superfood, it’s easy to find maca products in the form of powdered supplements. But many maca root powders are made from low-quality maca that was grown in contaminated soil. Like many root crops, maca has the unfortunate tendency to absorb heavy metals, and consuming these contaminated products is harmful to your health.

There are also numerous reports of synthetic maca being grown in laboratories in China and sold as “authentic maca.” What’s more, the Chinese are said to hold a few GMO patents on maca. [25] But research shows that Chinese maca is inferior to organic Peruvian maca in every way. If you’re looking to add this superfood to your daily routine, make sure you get your maca from a source you can trust.

The Health Ranger Store guarantees to provide only safe, clean, non-GMO products that are lab-verified for cleanliness and purity. This is why you can trust that Groovy Bee® Organic Maca Root Powder is one of the best maca root powders on the market and can deliver all the remarkable health benefits of organic maca root without the risk of toxic components.

Groovy Bee® Organic Maca Root Powder is derived from ultra-clean maca grown by our trusted suppliers under strict organic standards. It contains a variety of energy-supporting nutrients and phytonutrients that can support optimal health and well-being. Add our premium maca root powder to plain foods like oatmeal and yogurt, or to soups, stews and baked recipes for a flavorful nutritional boost.

Groovy Bee® Organic Maca Root Powder is also an excellent caffeine-free alternative to coffee and a great emulsifier, so it is a great addition to your favorite hot beverages, post-workout smoothies, shakes and juices. Our high-quality maca root powder is vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free and certified Kosher and organic. It is also rigorously lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology.

Experience the incredible adaptogenic and nourishing properties of organic maca root, an ancient superfood!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases.

References

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com

[2] https://cipotato.org

[3] https://herbs-america.com

[4] https://www.themacateam.com

[5] https://www.redalyc.org

[6] https://oxfordvitality.co.uk

[7] https://www.hindawi.com

[8] https://takecareof.com

[9] https://pubs.rsc.org

[10] https://sciweb.nybg.org

[11] https://themacaexperts.com

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

[13] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu

[14] https://academic.oup.com

[15] https://www.rxlist.com

[16] https://www.nature.com

[17] https://www.hindawi.com

[18] https://www.sciencedirect.com

[19] https://www.genome.gov

[20] https://www.tandfonline.com

[21] https://bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com

[22] https://www.reidhealth.org

[23] https://themacaexperts.com

[24] https://bebrainfit.com

[25] https://www.theguardian.com
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