Cruciferous vegetables have been one of the most healthy vegetables out there for us. Broccoli, cabbage, and Kale are some examples of these types of vegetables.
Maca also falls into the same category. This Peruvian plant grown in the Andes mountains has more benefits than your usual food in the diet.
Not quite famous yet very healthy, maca is a vegetable that you must add to your diet once a month at least.
If you are also interested to know more about this vegetable, then you are in the right place. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Maca.
Maca Nutrition Analysis
Maca, also called Peruvian ginseng, is a root vegetable mainly grown in Peru. It is popular for its high nutritious value.
It is rich in manganese, iron, copper, and several vitamins.
100 grams of maca provides –
- 14 grams of protein
- About 40%the of the daily requirement of manganese
- 82% daily value of iron
- 7 gfiberof fiber
- About 30% daily value of vitamin B3, 20% daily value of vitamin B2, 57% daily value of vitamin B6
- 475% daily value of vitamin C
- 57% daily value of potassium
- 300% daily value of copper
- 25% daily value of calcium
Maca Health Benefits
Libido is a hormone that is responsible for the sexual activity and sexual desires of a person.
There are many biological, physical, and sociological factors affecting the functionality of this hormone.
As per this study, maca root has great potential in increasing your libido to healthy levels.
Maca consumption has resulted better than the effect of a placebo. On the other hand, Maca has also been studied to reduce sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women.
The route of this plant vegetable also has a good effect on depression.
Reduction In Erectile Dysfunction
One of the most depressing dysfunctions a person can have is Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Luckily, this condition can be improved and eradicated from your body.
Maca root is said to have a sexual-well being effect as males with mild Erectile Dysfunction (ED) had experienced significant improvement and a reduction of dysfunction.
Surprisingly, Maca root has turned out to have better results than the consumption of placebo the users of it.
This indicates maca is an organic replacement for a placebo. This benefit also explains the tag of natural viagra given to maca.
Effects On Energy And Stamina
Maca roots are a great source of gaining energy and stamina in the body. This is why athletes and bodybuilders tend to consume more maca vegetables.
This also needs for you to indulge in a good amount of endurance-increasing activities.
Athletes consuming this vegetable have been witnessed with increased libido and sexual drive even with quite a low amount of maca consumed, as per the study.
Since this vegetable is closely related to libido and sex drive, therefore, it also has few effects on the fertility of men and women.
A study has concluded that consumption of this vegetable root has a good tendency to increase the semen quality in men.
This vegetable has a good effect on the semen quality of both fertile and infertile men. This is one of the reasons behind the widespread use of maca root.
Since this vegetable works as an antidepressant for depressed patients, therefore it also works as a mood enhancer.
The flavonoids present in maca root have a good tendency to reduce anxiety and improve the mood of a person.
The consumption of this item works quite well on the postmenopausal women consuming maca root for anti-depressant results.
The study showed mood enhancement results in postmenopausal women with positive effects on their sexual function independent of the estrogenic and androgenic activities.
These women also witnessed a reduction in anxiety and depression after the consumption of maca.
Blood Pressure Reduction
Blood pressure is an important phenomenon of a human’s body that needs to be on the right level.
High blood pressure or low blood pressure can cause major problems. It can also cause death.
Therefore it is quite important to keep your blood pressure intact. Many supplements help you achieve so.
Luckily, an organic method to keep your blood pressure intact is the consumption of maca root.
The study has shown that the consumption of maca root helps you improve blood pressure. It majorly helps you to reduce your blood pressure.
Helping Through Sun Damage
A study on animal models has shown that consumption of maca root helps in the reduction of Sun damage.
It has been seen that the maca root has a good effect on protecting the skin from ultraviolet rays. On the other hand, it has also shown the effects on sunburn cells.
This study has shown that maca leaves can help in the prevention of the formation of sunburn cells on the skin of rats though human trials are yet to be performed.
Fights Free Radicals
Free radicals are the unpaired ions in your body that are not required by them. Excessive free radicals in the body may lead to oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress can further cause DNA damage. Therefore, fighting these free radicals and preventing the production of these ions is quite important.
Maca root is a good source of promoting antioxidants in your body. These antioxidants help in reducing the number of periodicals in your body.
This activity further helps in preventing oxidative stress and reducing it. Maca root increases the amount of glutathione and superoxide dismutase.
As per the study, these antioxidants fight the free radicals of your body. People also claim that antioxidants can help a few conditions like cancer and heart disease.
Reducing Menopause Symptoms
Maca root is closely related to menopause and the psychological effects on your body.
Therefore it is easy to conclude that maca could help in the reduction of menopause symptoms.
People claim that some proponents of maca can help in balancing the estrogen of a female body.
During Perimenopause (the stage before menopause) women tend to have a lot of symptoms that fluctuate the level of estrogen.
Luckily, a study has found that the consumption of a few proponents of maca can help in the reduction of the symptoms. This further will help you balance the levels of estrogen in the body.
Few pieces of evidence suggest that maca consumption can help with the improvement in memory of a person.
An animal sample study in mice has proven that it improves the memory of the animal. It has been seen that the consumption of maca helps a lot with learning and memory performance.
Therefore, scientists believe that the use of maca can help in the treatment of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease but further studies are required on human models to confirm this effect.
Maca Side Effects
Currently, the Maca Peruvian plant hasn’t yet been observed for any health risks or side effects for a moderate dosage.
Like the other cruciferous vegetables, Maca tends to give more benefits than drawbacks.
Even so, it has been claimed that people with thyroid problems must prevent the consumption of this cruciferous gem.
On the other hand, consumption of this item in undergoing treatment for increasing hormone levels is also prohibited.
Hormone-sensitive conditions like breast cancer, uterine cancer, and endometriosis might worsen with the use of maca.
Maca acts somewhat similar to estrogen. Hence, the body might respond to this change in a negative manner in hormone-sensitive conditions.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should first speak to the doctor and then consider maca consumption in any form.
How To Use It?
Maca is available in numerous forms like powder and capsules. It is easily accessible. You can find it in stores or online.
It goes well with sweet flavors. So you might find maca combining perfectly with smoothies, bars, and bakery products.
You can even try out recipes that make use of maca.
A generally prescribed dose of maca powder ranges from 1-3 grams. However, your dietician can help prescribe a better and safer dose personalized for you.
Maca is a cruciferous vegetable that has many benefits for psychological and physical conditions. It helps keep you healthy enough while also helping you improve your sexual well-being.
This plant should be added to many people’s diets except the ones undergoing hormonal treatments and thyroid patients.
This plant has no side effects as of yet. Therefore, it becomes a huge success for the cruciferous vegetable family.
However, it is better to discuss regarding the inclusion of maca in your diet with your healthcare expert.
Your healthcare expert could prescribe you the dosage according to your body type and medical history, this will avoid any adverse effects on your health.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
- Gustavo F. Gonzales Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 193496. Published online 2011 Oct 2. doi: 10.1155/2012/193496
- Christina M. Dording, Lauren Fisher, George Papakostas, et al. A Double‐Blind, Randomized, Pilot Dose‐Finding Study of Maca Root (L. Meyenii) for the Management of SSRI‐Induced Sexual Dysfunction CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall; 14(3): 182–191.Published online 2008 Aug 13. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00052.x
- Christina M. Dording, Pamela J. Schettler, Elizabeth D. Dalton, et al. A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Maca Root as Treatment for Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction in Women Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015; 2015: 949036.Published online 2015 Apr 14. doi: 10.1155/2015/949036
- T Zenico, A F G Cicero, L Valmorri, et al. Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial Andrologia. 2009 Apr;41(2):95-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2008.00892.x. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19260845/
- Mark Stone, Alvin Ibarra, Marc Roller, et al. A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Dec 10;126(3):574-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.09.012. Epub 2009 Sep 23. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19781622/
- Ana C Ruiz-Luna, Stephanie Salazar, Norma J Aspajo, et al. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) increases litter size in normal adult female mice Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2005; 3: 16.Published online 2005 May 3. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-3-16
- Ingrid Melnikovova, Tomas Fait, Michaela Kolarova, et al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii Walp. on Semen Parameters and Serum Hormone Levels in Healthy Adult Men: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015; 2015: 324369.Published online 2015 Sep 1. doi: 10.1155/2015/324369
- Nicole A Brooks, Gisela Wilcox, Karen Z Walker, et al. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content Menopause. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):1157-62. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181732953. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18784609/
- Gustavo F. Gonzales, Manuel Gasco, and Ivan Lozada Role of maca (Lepidium meyenii) consumption on serum interleukin-6 levels and health status in populations living in the Peruvian central Andes over 4000 m of altitude Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2013 Dec; 68(4): 10.1007/s11130-013-0378-5.doi: 10.1007/s11130-013-0378-5
- Cynthia Gonzales-Castañeda, Gustavo F Gonzales Hypocotyls of Lepidium meyenii (maca), a plant of the Peruvian highlands, prevent ultraviolet A-, B-, and C-induced skin damage in rats Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2008 Feb;24(1):24-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0781.2008.00330.x. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18201354/
- Rostislav Vecera, Jan Orolin, Nina Skottová, et al. The influence of maca (Lepidium meyenii) on antioxidant status, lipid and glucose metabolism in rat Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2007 Jun;62(2):59-63. doi: 10.1007/s11130-007-0042-z. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17333395/
- Lien Ai Pham-Huy, Hua He, and Chuong Pham-Huy Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health Int J Biomed Sci. 2008 Jun; 4(2): 89–96.
- Myeong Soo Lee, Byung-Cheul Shin, Eun Jin Yang, et al. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) for treatment of menopausal symptoms: A systematic review Maturitas. 2011 Nov;70(3):227-33. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2011.07.017. Epub 2011 Aug 15. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21840656/
- Julio Rubio, Wang Qiong, Xinmin Liu, et al. Aqueous Extract of Black Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on Memory Impairment Induced by Ovariectomy in Mice Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011; 2011: 253958.Published online 2011 Feb 14. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nen063
- Maca Last reviewed – 07/11/2022 Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/555.html
- About the Author
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Alisha Matthew has been a practicing nutritionist since 2016. She holds a master’s degree in nutrition from the University of IOWA. She is a staunch believer in improving the human health index by educating people about nutrition and the importance of nutrition in leading a healthy and happy life. Her long-term goal is to keep educating people on general health and keep herself updated with the latest trends in the field of health.