Monday, January 12, 2015

Maca Powder

I was browsing through recipes and came across a smoothie recipe that sounded good. However it included 3 tsp Maca Powder. Could you please explain what this is, its nutritional benefits, negative factors if any, and why it is included in a smoothie recipe? Thanks.

Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable and is traditionally thought to increase energy and stamina along with increasing both fertility and sex drive. Historically high-altitude living Peruvians lived mostly on a diet of cooked maca root, not the powdered form, and potatoes.

In menopausal women, maca has been shown to work on all of a woman’s menopausal symptoms instead of any one specific symptom alone even though maca does not contain estrogens or hormones.

Nutritionally powdered maca has about 10 Kcal per teaspoon and breaks down into approximately 70% carbs and 15% protein.  It is also high in Vitamin C and minerals like potassium, calcium, copper, and iron. 

Generally eating a whole food rather than a concentrated powder or supplement is better for your health overall.  So if you are going to add maca powder to smoothies make sure it is just ground maca (i.e., less processed) and not a concentrated maca powder.

According to WebMD, maca is likely safe for most people when taken in food amounts (e.g., 1-2 tsp in a smoothie).  People with a hormone-sensitive condition please check with your doctor or other healthcare professional before using maca.

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