This tasty little concoction is a part of my daily routine. Not even joking, I have a 2 o’clock reminder on my phone that goes off each day telling me to drop whatever I’m doing (unless it’s the baby.. don’t drop the baby) and go take my daily supplements. I supplement for three reasons: overall health, to moisturize from the inside out, and to nudge my hormones back to normalcy post-pregnancy.
That last one is where Maca comes in!
A Little Bit About Maca
Maca is an Andean root, (often referred to as an herb) that resembles a radish or a turnip. It has been used by native Indians in Peru as a vital ingredient to health for thousands of years.
Maca root is classified as a superfood, because it is naturally high in vitamins and minerals the body needs for nourishment. Chemically, Maca root contains significant amounts of amino acids, carbohydrates, and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, iron, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E. Peruvian Maca also includes a number of glycosides.
In it’s powdered from it resembles flour and can be used in breads, cakes, cookies and drinks. (Like my spiced mocha concoction!)
Maca is most famous for it’s use as an aphrodisiac, which makes it kind of awkward to buy in the store, especially when it’s in an “obviously marketed to guys” form. Try this fun little game: Next time you see a men’s libido booster bottle at a truck stop, or sex enhancing pills at the pharmacy, check the ingredients label. Odds are, Maca is listed as the main or active ingredient.
But Maca is increasingly becoming known for it’s hormone balancing properties and benefits to women’s health.
According to Real Raw FOOD:
“As a nutritional supplement, Peruvian Maca has generalized tonic effects on the biochemical functioning of the human body. Chief among these effects is the enhancement of endocrine function. The endocrine system includes all of the glands, and the hormones they secrete, that exist in the body and that control such conditions as fertility, sexual function, digestion, brain and nervous system physiology, and energy levels.”
How Maca Works
First and foremost, Maca balances the hormonal system. It works on the pituitary gland – the master gland – which regulates all hormone production in the body.
Maca also contains adaptogenic qualities. Adaptogens (like ginseng) increase the body’s ability to cope with physical, chemical and biological stress. Adaptogenic herbs work by increasing resistance to stress, fatigue and distress – helping the body regain overall balance.
According to WebMD, randomized control studies are increasingly showing the benefits of Maca. Researchers are looking at how it helps men and women with low libido, and some studies suggest Maca improves semen quality, relieves symptoms of menopause, and reduces enlarged prostates.
Speaking with WebMD, psychiatrist and functional medicine physician Hyla Cass, MD says, “In my practice, I have seen Maca restore hormonal imbalance and related sexual desire and fertility in both men and women.”
According to Health Post:
“Important research shows Maca root is superior to hormone replacement therapy. Because Maca itself does not contain any hormones, its endocrine action is synergistic with the body’s natural functioning, unlike conventional hormone drug therapy which can dangerously affect women’s long term health. Alkaloids contained in Maca root act on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, the master glands of the endocrine system, in a gender-appropriate regulation of function. Fertility increases in both sexes, with improved sperm production in males and egg maturity in females – important factors in preconception health.”
Overall, in medical and holistic circles, Maca is reputed to:
– Increase energy
– Treat sexual dysfunction and loss of libido
– Increase stamina and athletic performance
– Nourish the glandular system
– Increase sperm count in men
– Increase fertility in women
– Improve physical and emotional well being
– Promote mental clarity
– Balance hormones
– Treat PMS and mood swings
– Provide menopause symptom relief
Ready to give Maca root a whirl? Why not try my Spiced Maca Mocha recipe? ^_^
How To Make It
1 cup powdered stevia (or other non-sugar sweetener)
1 cup powdered milk
¾ cup powdered Maca
½ cup powdered creamer
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup powdered instant decaf coffee
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of sea salt
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Store it in an airtight container. For a single serving, place 3 tablespoons of the mixture in a cup and add boiling water. Stir until the mixture is dissolved.
Each batch makes about 18-20 servings.
This drink satisfies my simultaneous urge for coffee and chocolate, while helping me painlessly incorporate wellness supplements into my day. It’s sugar free, and decaf (since I generally drink it in the afternoon or evenings).
The Maca is noticeable in the drink by a woodsy, earthy taste that is present on the tongue, but overwhelmed by the chocolate flavors once swallowed. Try it and let me know what you think!