This small tuber, cultivated in the Peruvian Andes, has been found on our plates and at breakfast for a few years, mainly in the form of a powder with a slight nutty taste.
In 2017, Peru exported 50,000 tonnes of maca, and demand continues to increase.
Why such a phenomenon?
History and millennial culture of maca
Consumed for millennia for its fortifying, energetic and aphrodisiac virtues, it was used in particular by the Incas, the warrior empire that ruled South America from the 13th to the 16th century. The latter used it to be more efficient physically, but also more fertile. Today Andean farmers consume it daily to combat the inconveniences of living at very high altitudes.
The maca (Lepidium Meyenii) is part of Brassicaceae, just like cabbage. It grows underground between 3800 and 4500 meters above sea level, in extreme climatic conditions: very high temperatures during the day, frost at night, strong winds ... In order to resist this hostile environment, maca has developed specific defense mechanisms, which would be at the origin of the benefits that are attributed to him, and these are numerous! It is considered to be an adaptogenic herb, like gineng.
Three types of maca are commonly eaten: yellow, red and black. These are real nutrient shots. They are all three particularly proteinaceous, have 19 amino acids including 7 essential, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, minerals and trace elements including iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, fibers and alkaloids.
Maca: benefits proven by science
A source of energy and vitality
Maca increases our energy and gives us tone. It helps fight transient and chronic fatigue, and works over time, without the unwanted effects of caffeine or other stimulants. It is the ideal dietary supplement to start the day in better shape.
Studies have also shown that maca improves athletic performance and endurance.
Boosts sexual energy
Maca has been used for millennia in the Andes for its aphrodisiac properties. It helps increase sexual energy, especially in men, by improving erectile function. Two of the alkaloids it contains, macaenes and macamides, are thought to play an essential role in increasing sexual desire and libido, as shown in the study *.
From the outset, maca has been regarded as a food for increasing fertility. In men, it increases the volume, quality and motility of sperm. In women, it facilitates ovulation and helps regulate cycles. It can also be used in addition to medical treatments for infertility. This study showed that maca increased sperm production in men and improved ovulation.
Fights the symptoms of menopause
Maca regulates the hormonal balance, so it helps to fight against the discomforts caused by menopause. Hot flashes, insomnia and irritability are significantly reduced. A study * has shown its beneficial effects on postmenopausal women consuming it regularly.
Stimulates certain intellectual capacities
Maca, especially thanks to phosphorus and its energizing benefits, helps boost memory, concentration and learning, as this study shows *.
Maca against cancer
Maca is being studied for cancer prevention. Its richness in antioxidants and other bioactive compounds, in particular glucosinolates, would prevent their appearance *.
An article written by Charlotte, co-founder of Darwin Nutrition, the new medium that explores the best of food
* Find the complete study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12472620