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Centuries have passed and Maca is still used as a dietary supplement. Ancient civilization have used maca and now the popularity of this revitalizing root vegetable continues to increase through each passing year.
What is Maca?
Maca is considered to be a part of the plant family called Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family), which makes it appear like a radish, mustard, broccoli, cabbage, and turnip. Its leaves look ruffled while the organ that grows within the soil is large, tuberous, and fleshy. Meanwhile, the color of this kind of edible hypocotyls varies from white to black.
Based on legends way back during the prehistoric times, Incan soldiers consumed generous amount of maca (Lepidium meyenii) since they believed that this herb can increase their strength in preparation for a battle. But then, intake of this plant has been forbidden by the leaders for the purpose of avoiding harm that may occur to the women resulting from an intensified libido.
As of the present, people appreciate the existence of this ancient herb for its function in harmonizing the levels of hormones in the body. The stability in the amount of hormones within the human body has been found to heighten energy and to promote sexual health in a person.
Where Does It Come From?
The people living in Peru during the early times knew that this vegetable root has good effects on one’s health that is why its use continued to flourish for infinite number of years already. In addition, Lapidium meyenii was not only found to be helpful in boosting the health of a human being but it also functions in promoting wellness of the livestock.
Maca is also known with the name of “Peruvian ginseng” as it has been believed that Maca can be found in great amounts on the lands of Peru. Even though Lepidium meyenii does not belong to the family of ginsengs, the root still appears to have similar actions because it is useful in amplifying a person’s energy and sexual function.
What Are The Nutritional Benefits of Maca?
Succession of researches established the fact that the hypocotyls maca is a vegetable that truly provides nutrients in high quantity. Unbelievable as it may seem but this product of nature holds a lot of advantages to human health as it can develop the capacity of the brain and it also heightens the sexual performance of human beings.
Vitamins- Based on the studies made on maca, it was discovered that several types of nutrients are present within the herb. Essential nutrients include: vitamins (A, B1, B2, B12, C, D, and E), eighteen amino acids, polysaccharides, glucosinates, and sterols. In addition, it also possess two types of fatty acids namely the linoleic and oleic acids.
Minerals- The minerals found in the Lepidium meyenii are known to be as calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. The variety of nutrients stated above are responsible in sustaining and developing the health of human beings who opt to consume this type of vegetable.
Aphrodisiac- Folklores introduced the basic knowledge that this sort of hypocotyls is useful as an aphrodisiac, which assists in boosting the sexual drive of a human being. Moreover, maca is also functional when it comes to promoting the fertility of a woman and potency of the male species.
Sexual Function Enhancer- Scientists pursued the idea that the herb Lepidium meyenii is actually valuable when it comes to enhancing the sexual functions of men. And, through one of the many successful researches, it was discovered that a four-month-treatment period with maca can actually increase the volume of semen and sperm count. Furthermore, intake of the cruciferous vegetable can also enhance the capacity of the sperm to swim.
Emotional Problem Solution- Clinical experiments showed that maca can also be utilized in dealing with the problems in moods and emotions. As said by some experts, Lepidium meyenii is valuable in a person’s disheartened mood. Additionally, the herb can also help reducing the anxiety being experienced by an individual. Also, by having a regular intake of maca, the person undergoing depression will undertake a progression towards a fairer mental health.
For Menopause Symptoms– According to the specialists when it comes to food nutrition, maca can be of great use to women who are in their menopausal stage. Studies demonstrate the benefit of the herb in lessening the symptoms being experienced all throughout the critical period of female aging.
Hormones are Unaffected- According to some folklore, the quantity of hormones in both the human female and male bodies is affected when taking in the maca vegetable. Studies, however, show that neither the male testosterone nor the female estradiol in the blood is affected by the herb. Consumption of this tuberous vegetable also does not influence the production of luteinizing hormone, prolactin, and the follicle stimulating hormone.
Side Effects- People from the prehistoric era consume the vegetable without limitation and never recorded any major side effects. But then, people living beyond the boundaries of Peru reported certain gastrointestinal problems (like gas problem and diarrhea) as an effect of maca consumption. Hence, it can be stated that just like any other food products, Lepidium meyenii also has its own unique set of side effects.
Several unlikable results were attributed to the intake of the ancient vegetable and these were discovered through the numerous studies on maca. Common side effects recognized from eating this cruciferous root vegetables in general include the simple physical manifestations such as sweating, sensation of heat, and tachycardia (increase in heart rate).
Maca supplements started becoming very popular in the year 2000 and onwards. People learned to love this product due to its positive effects on the human body including: increasing the level of energy, improving sexual health, and boosting immune system. Maca supplements are usually manufactured in the form of:
Maca Capsules– Simple and easy to take, capsules are a great way to get started taking this powerful herb. You can find capsules typically in raw and gelatinized form. Both have their benefits and both are considered healthy, although the raw form is said to be harder on the stomach.
Maca Powder- Great for baking and smoothies, powdered maca is an easy to use and consume for of the root vegetable.
How to Buy Maca?
The companies prepare maca supplements by crushing the root vegetable so that it would be in its powder form. Some, however put the maca through a gelatinization process to get a more concentrated extract of the superfood. The process of extrusion is also done on maca wherein the roots’ fibers are eliminated by using heat as well as pressure.
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