Maca powder is made from a root that belongs to the brassica (mustard) family; turnip, cabbage, and watercress are also part of this group. The first recorded use of this root goes back to the Incans, who considered this root a natural super food and cultivated it high in the Andes Mountains of Peru.
The Inca civilization often called the plant Peruvian ginseng because it’s a real storehouse of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, carbohydrates, tannins and amino acids, along with complex alkaloids and approximately 20 essential fatty acids and a number of other phytochemicals. It was a ritual for Incan imperial warriors to eat maca before battles to boost their “fighting spirit,” strength, stamina, and libido.
Maca is even used today by athletes and even bodybuilders to improve overall performance, strength and stamina.
Moreover, there’s new evidence confirming that this powerful vegetable can restore hormonal imbalances, in both men and women, especially in women during menopause.
Maca For Women
1. Reduces Symptoms of Menopause
As maca restores hormonal balance in the body, it also reduces the typical symptoms associated with menopause in women.
According to a 2006 study, maca lessens both physiological and psychological symptoms of perimenopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, and heart palpitations. In the words of the researchers, “It appears that Maca-GO may act as a toner of hormonal processes, leading to alleviation of discomfort felt by perimenopausal women, hence, its potential use as non-hormonal alternative to HRT program.”
As for the link of maca and hormonal balance, it was found that “Changes in hormone levels was accompanied by a substantially-reduced feeling of discomfort associated with menopause.”
Brain fog, which is associated with fluctuating hormones levels, is another common symptom of menopause. One study found that maca can protect against this type of memory loss, while other studies have identified maca as a powerful neuroprotective agent.
An increased risk of osteoporosis is another risk that menopause brings on. A study found that maca nor only preserves bone mineral density, but also stimulates bone growth and calcium levels.
Last, but not least, hormonal imbalances often lead to depression, a condition that maca can also alleviate, according to studies.
2. Regulates Hormonal Imbalances
Maca contains nutrients essential for normal hormone production in the body, which is why it’s regarded as an endocrine adaptogen. DIM (Diindolylmethane) is one such ingredient. This phytochemical, which is also found in some cruciferous vegetables including brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage, has been scientifically proved to significantly improve hormone balance (both estrogen and testosterone) in men and women. Plus, it has shown effective cancer-fighting properties for some forms of cancer.
What maca does in the body is work in coordination with the endocrine system to normalize hormone levels. It’s particularly beneficial for women in menopause when conventional hormone replacement therapies, which provide synthetic forms of hormones, have repeatedly been linked to ovarian cancer, stroke, and asthma, among other things.
Maca, on the other hand, is a natural source of healthy nutrients your body depends on for hormonal balance. Keeping your hormones in balance is crucial for overall health as basically every process in your body depends on it.
3. Lowers Glucose Levels
According to a 2007 study, maca “significantly improved glucose tolerance, and lowered levels of glucose in their blood” in subjects who consumed it regularly for two weeks.
4. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Maca is abundant in plant sterols, including sitosterol, campestrol, ergosterol, brassicasterol, and ergostadienol , all of which help to form the cell membranes in plants. In fact, these chemicals are equivalent to the cholesterol in the human body. However, research has found that these sterols reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol in humans, but also fight three of the most common types of cancer.
5. Reduces High Blood Pressure
Maca also protects against hyperglycemia and hypertension associated with Type 2 diabetes. A study found that maca can significantly prevent “the hypertension relevant angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE).”
Maca For Men
6. Increases Fertility
Maca has also been identified as a potential treatment for male infertility, particularly for the one caused by lead exposure. In addition, maca can significantly improve sperm production and motility, a study found.
7. Reduces Prostate Size
Maca does not only provide health benefits for women. For one thing, a specific type of maca (red maca) has been found to suppress prostatic growth and even reduce prostate size, meaning it’s a potent natural alternative for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a health issues affecting mostly older men.