Maca powder has gained some popularity recently as an energy boosting superfood. It comes from a plant that grows in Peru, and we get the powder from the root. What I didn’t know about maca root is that it comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors- so it’s a pretty fun plant. The healthiest varieties are black and red (or, at least the kinds with the most energy boosting goodness).
The first time I heard about maca was probably through another blog a few years ago, when I was pretty much solely reading running related material. I’m sure I stumbled upon a few maca related bits when reading Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run too. You can find maca powder in most health food stores, and I’ve also purchased it on Amazon.
Maca has been used for a long time in where it grows natively (South America) but has only recently made an appearance here as a “superfood” (one of those foods/ingredients that goes above and beyond the call of food duty).
It’s full of vitamins. I’m pretty sure this is a #1 requirement for something to be a “superfood.” It has multiple B vitamins (known for boosting energy, I had a sluggish phase last summer and started taking vitamin B6 supplements), vitamin C, and magnesium and iron. Oh wait…those are all great for increasing/maintaining energy levels 🙂 (From Women’s Running)
It increases energy. Probably because of all those vitamins, huh? Because of the affect maca can have on your energy, it is recommended as part of a holistic approach to people dealing with chronic fatigue. The first time I used maca powder was as part of marathon training a couple years ago, but last summer I began using it after dealing with hormonal imbalance and…chronic fatigue.
It balances your hormones. It’s suspected that “Maca stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands” (from Wellness Mama). These glands, as you probably know, regulate the hormones (among other things) and can help get things back on track. As I mentioned a little bit ago, I had a hormonal imbalance last year where I was producing too much androgen/not enough estrogen as a result of physical and emotional stress. The really noticeable effect of this, for me, was constant painful cystic acne outbreaks, to the point where even putting makeup to cover up the 12-20 spots a day hurt too much. I started using maca and cutting back on coffee (among other things after talking to my doctor) and after a couple months I was back on track.
It’s good for recovery and handling stress. As mentioned early, maca helps out some important glands, which also regulate the adrenal glands. These adrenals are put under a lot of stress for people who run, work out a lot, or generally need help with stress management. In addition to other recovery and relaxation techniques, maca can help with the biological side of assisting worn out adrenals.
Almond Butter Maca Madness (from Blissful Basil). I’m a fan of sweeter smoothies that are based in chocolate powder or nut butter (or…both). This smoothie looks delicious and uses almond butter- one of my all time favorites. Maca also goes well in just about any smoothie- I’ve added it at random since it’s taste is so subtle.
Cinnamon Peanut Butter Maca Power Balls (from Kitchen Paper): This is a tasty snack not only for eating generally, but for energy pre or post workout. And, it involves some of my favorite ingredients for baking/making food.
Superfood Coffee Elixir from (The Glowing Fridge): If you’ve ever thought your coffee can do more for you, you’re absolutely right. This recipe combines coffee with some superfoods that are bound to help get your day off to a healthy start. Maca powder, coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper come together to get your day on the right track.
Maca Maple Quinoa Granola (from Simply Quinoa): I love granola, but will rarely buy it since it often has so much sugar and other gross stuff in it. This recipe uses maple syrup and cinnamon as sweetener, which is a healthier, less processed way to go. And with the help of quinoa and maca, this is granola that does more.
What are some of your favorite maca recipes (if any?)
Any future Ingredient of the Week requests?