Maca powder is a versatile and exceptionally nutrient-dense food extract made from the root of the Peruvian maca, which has been cultivated in Peru for thousands of years.
We use organic maca powder as a natural supplement in our ever popular Stressbuster and Blueberry Stressbuster smoothie recipes as well as the ‘Hangover Cure’. You can also choose to add it in to any of your favourite juices as an additional ingredient or in place of another supplement.
Maca’s benefits have long been treasured – considered by some to be a powerful adaptogen (a natural substance that many believe can help the body adapt to stress).
Thanks to its impressive nutrient content, unique flavour and handy versatility, maca powder is rapidly becoming a much sought-after item on our nation’s weekly shopping list. But what is maca powder and where exactly does this exotic-sounding ingredient come from? Well, to answer the question, it’s first necessary to travel to the other side of the world, to the fascinating continent of South America.
It is a natural, nutrient-dense food extract made from the root of the Lepidium Meyenii – a tuber crop that’s native to the high Andes of Peru. The root, which is somewhat similar in appearance to a small turnip or radish, is the most prized part of the maca, a hardy plant that flourishes at extreme altitudes and is thus especially suited to organic cultivation.
Maca powder is prepared by drying this special root at low temperatures (in order to preserve an optimal number of its naturally occurring nutrients) and then grinding into a fine powder. As a completely natural powder the colour of maca can vary considerably - from white and yellow to red, purple and even black.
Maca Powder Benefits
Maca powder contains a wealth of beneficial nutrients, including vitamins (B1, B2, C& E), minerals, complex alkaloids, fatty acids and sterols.
In fact, maca powder is rich in both vitamin C and calcium.
Vitamin C, which is is also known as ascorbic acid, performs several important bodily functions - it helps to protect our cells and keep them healthy for example, and is important for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body, and it too fulfils several vital roles including help build stronger bones and teeth.
Is certified organic by "Organic Farmers & Growers", the UK’s leading government accredited organic certification body
Has been dried and processed at low temperatures in order to preserve an optimum number of its naturally occurring nutrients
Is totally pure and free from fillers or any other artificial additives
Is also suitable for those following a vegetarian, vegan or raw food diet
It makes an ideal partner to raw cacao products and thus makes a mouth-watering addition to raw chocolate.
As well as being used as a smoothie supplement you can also buy Organic Maca Powder in pouches from Barannes in Colomberie. We stock the Superfoodies brand, which has been the source of content for this blog.
How well researched are the benefits and risks of maca?
This article from BBC Good Food indicates some positive research on the benefits of Maca. One small trial in 2015 was carried out on 29 Chinese women who were postmenopausal. Over a period of 12 weeks the women took 3.3g of maca a day, compared to a placebo group, and at the end of the trial it was concluded that maca appeared to reduce both blood pressure and depression.
A test tube study in 2014 found that maca has a high antioxidant content which could be of benefit to health with more research as a bioactive compound. This has been further supported by another in-vitro study in 2017, which found maca to have potentially neuroprotective benefits. More research is required before we can confirm this is of benefit to humans, but it’s a positive start.
Are there any side effects of maca powder?
Based on 1 teaspoon of maca a day, the amount we add to our smoothies, there doesn’t appear to be any immediate side effects, but always check with your GP first if you are concerned or are taking any prescription medication.
However, high doses of maca may provide too much of certain nutrients and so should be used cautiously if you are exceeding more than one teaspoon a day. 100g of maca powder (20 Stressbuster smoothies!) provides almost 200% of your RDA for iron in men and women over the age of 50 years old, which could cause some stomach pain and constipation. This amount of maca would also provide around 400% of your RDA of copper which may cause liver and kidney damage if used over a prolonged period and is therefore not advised.
Being a cruciferous vegetable, maca powder may be problematic for those with a thyroid problem or on thyroid medication, as it contains substances known as goitrogens which may interfere with normal thyroid function and therefore should be avoided.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should check with their doctor first before consuming maca.