Maca is a supplement that is popular for balancing hormones and increasing energy, along with many other wonderful benefits. There are a lot of supplement fads and gimmicks out there are that are based off of little research, with the main intention of making money. I love maca for personal use and for my clients, because it is a very natural supplement that really works! There are a few main types of maca and they serve different purposes, so read on to see which form of maca is right for you.
What Is Maca?
Maca is a unique plant. It is a root that is grown only in Peru, at high altitudes of 14000 feet, in regions of intense sunlight, winds, and below freezing temperatures. No other crops can survive these conditions but the maca root. Raw maca looks similar to a turnip, and it’s three distinct colours have different properties and therapeutic benefits.
Aside from a supplement, maca is a great food source that is high in amino acids, essential fatty acids, complex carbs, vitamins, and minerals. Dried maca has more benefits than the raw, fresh root. When raw maca is dried, it turns into a completely different product, with different health benefits.
Types Of Maca
Each colour of maca has a different nutritional profile and benefits. Generally, some maca is better for men, while others are better for women. Some maca products are actually a blend of the colours, with a higher ratio of the main colour used for medicinal purposes, and a small component of another colour for it’s supportive benefits.
Red and Purple Maca
Red and purple maca are the main maca for hormonal balance. While all maca can balance hormones, this maca is the best for balancing hormonal conditions such as PMS, acne, cramping, and more. These types of maca provide a calming and relaxing effect on the body, allowing it to repair (where other maca is more energizing). This type of maca still does provide energy, but it is more of a slow and steady release. Studies show that it can also boost sexual function and libido. This type of maca is typically best suited for women, but men can certainly consume it as well.
Black maca is excellent for promoting better energy, stamina, and performance. It provides a slow and steady release of energy rather than a high burst of energy and then a crash, such as when consuming caffeine. It is also great for improving cognitive function and memory. Black maca typically suits men very well, but women can also take this version. While black maca has not been shown to increase testosterone levels, it has still been proven to increase sexual function and libido in men.
Yellow maca does not provide as many strong benefits as the other two types of maca, however it still provides great nutritional value. Many maca products will combine yellow maca with other types of maca. If you are looking for the therapeutic properties from maca such as the ones mentioned above, but you see yellow maca as an ingredient, you will want your maca to have a higher ratio of either black or red/purple maca and a lower ratio of yellow maca.
Maca As An Adaptogen
I love adaptogenic herbs and plants. Adaptogens are substances that adapt to the body. Maca adapts to the body’s stress levels, so if you are feeling high stress or low mood, maca can adapt to the body and bring it back into balance. Plants classified as adaptogens are capable of normalizing functions in the body, raising non-specific resistance to disease, and can be safe for long term use as a nutrient for preventative purposes. Maca is one of the most powerful adaptogenic plants known, as it fills all of the above criteria!
Other Possible Benefits
Some of the other wonderful benefits of maca include:
- physical and emotional well-being
- mental clarity
- reduced stress
- improved athletic performance
- smoother skin
- improved bone health
- reduced aches and pains
- improved menopause symptoms
- improved sleep
- increased immunity
What Are The Best Forms Of Maca?
There are several types of maca available on the market, including liquid, capsules, and powders. Whichever form you choose, ensure it is grown in Peru and ensure it is gelatinized maca. Peronally, I like to use Organic Traditions maca powder for women in my smoothies. The taste is somewhat similar to the taste of peanut butter. You can incorporate the powder into many different recipes including smoothies, drinks, desserts, and much more. I have a maca ice cream recipe in my vegan ice cream recipe book, and I have a Pumpkin Spice Maca Latte recipe on the blog! Always do your research with any supplement and brand to determine it’s quality and efficacy.