Maca, or as it is scientifically known Lepidium Meyenii, belongs to the cruciferous family. It has a flattened spherical shape, very similar to a radish, and is one of the few plants that grows above 3500 (m.a.s.l.). it is resistant to extreme climatic conditions of this central highland area of Peru, such as Cerro de Pasco and, especially, Junín. The months of greatest production occur in June, July and August.
Maca is recognized as a historical Peruvian Superfood, because it is an Andean crop originating more than 2,000 years ago. It played an important role in the diet of pre-Inca and Inca cultures, to whom its domestication is attributed. According to oral accounts, it is known that this food, rich in nutrients and energizers, was essential for feeding the warriors of the empire.
Over the years, Maca has been adapting to violent climate changes, notwithstanding, it has managed to preserve a high nutritional value. The part of Maca that is used as food is its root, the tuber, which comes in the colors yellow, red and black. Each one with particular nutritional benefits.
What is Maca powder?
Maca powder is the result of a process that begins with the cultivation of the root, including the collection and selection of the harvest root. In the case of this Superfood, which comes in three variants, 60% of the annual production of Maca can be attributed to yellow Maca; 25% to red Maca; and 15% to black Maca. Finally, these three Maca phenotypes are mixed and processed or can be kept separate to serve market requirements in terms of colour.
For Peruvian Nature, it is important to guarantee the suitability of these processes, the people who make it possible and the environmental repercussions, which is why our processes respect the relevant safety standards and each of the production stages are carefully monitored. We also have the support of international certifications, such as BRC, HACCP, and GMP, and offer organic products apt for markets in Europe and Asia, and the United States.
Is it safe to take Maca every day?
Maca boiled and blended with oatmeal or milk is one of the most popular Peruvian breakfast drinks. Although its daily intake has not presented complications in its consumers, you must bear in mind that all food, no matter how natural it may be, should not be consumed in excess. Considering that there is a higher concentration of nutrients in Maca powder, the maximum recommended daily dose is 3 grams (3 teaspoons), for a maximum of 4 months.
Side effects of Maca powder
No adverse effects have been documented due to the intake of Maca, such as allergies or severe repercussions, but as always, we recommend consuming it in adequate doses and, if necessary, consult your doctor if the properties of this Superfood are counterproductive.
Thanks to its energizing effects that act at the level of the brain, red Maca in high doses could cause insomnia or an acceleration of the heart rate.
With this in mind, it is recommended that people with problems related to severe hypertension, endocrine or thyroid-related diseases consult their use with a doctor. The same recommendation applies to both pregnant and breastfeeding women.
How to consume Maca powder?
In Peru, it is very common to find ‘mazamorras’ or drinks made from the fresh fruit of Maca. In fact, we already mentioned that Maca with milk or oatmeal is one of the everyday breakfast foods. The preparation of this drink is similar to how it would be prepared in powder form.
It is only necessary to consider that Maca as a fresh fruit is raw, so it is necessary to peel it, bring it to a boil and then blend it into juices or smoothies. This requirement does not apply to the preparation with Maca powder given that it can be added without prior cooking.
Maca powder can also be consumed in energy drinks, herbal teas, smoothies or desserts, as well as food supplements in tablets, pills or energy bars.
Benefits of Maca powder
Maca powder contains various properties, thanks to the presence of amino acids, carbohydrates, fiber, glucosinolates, protein and vitamins B, B1, B12, B2, B6, C and E. In particular, each variant of this tuber contributes to the health in different ways:
Yellow Maca promotes muscle development, increases bone density and improves blood circulation. In addition, it reduces anxiety levels, since it increases the body’s defenses when faced with sudden changes that generate stress or cause depression. Hence, it is recognized as a great ally for emotional stability. It also reduces chronic fatigue and intensifies the ability to concentrate and perform physically.
Red Maca serves as a natural energizer, which helps prevent osteoporosis and is ideal for stabilizing hormone levels during menopause. And while popularly known as a food that “facilitates pregnancy”, there are no studies in humans that support this theory; but there is medical history on its benefits for increasing the volume, quantity and mobility of sperm. This is supported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the United States (NCBI) and the biologist and then director of the Endocrinology and Reproduction Laboratory of the Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Gustavo Gonzales Rengifo.
In addition, black Maca is also known as a natural energizer and aphrodisiac, which reduces blood glucose levels, helps prevent diseases related to the prostate, and – similar to red Maca – also contributes to the increase in volume and mobility of sperm.
Where to buy Maca powder?
In 2020, Peru exported more than 6 million kilos of powdered Maca. This is more than triple what it exported in 2019. And the figures for this year appear to continue to rise. Nowadays, Maca powder can be found in many countries across the globe, especially in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Canada, the United States and Brazil. These last two countries are leading in Maca imports, while Peruvian Nature is the leading company in Maca powder exports.
Although Maca powder is one of the most popular presentations of Peruvian Nature, you can also find it as a Maca extract, crushed Maca and HP (high potency) Maca.
The global trend towards a healthier diet represents one of the factors that has increased the sales ratio of this Superfood worldwide over the past few years.
When purchasing natural products, make sure that the brand has a quality guarantee related to its manufacturing processes. It is important to keep in mind that these processes can easily become contaminated, so it is very important that both machinery, personnel and production processes adhere to strict quality standards and are in harmony with the environment, and the producing communities. Peruvian Nature respects there requirements.
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We can all be part of this great change by offering healthy, nutritious and natural products to our clients with Peruvian Nature.