You Sexy Highland Tuber, You: How to Eat More Maca

High in the Peruvian mountains grows a strange looking homely little knobby root.

Its name is Maca.

Although unassuming looking, it is hiding super powers under its Clark Kent exterior. Legend has it that the ancient Incan warriors used to consume maca before entering into battle to bolster strength and energy. Thousands of years later maca is still cultivated by the Quechua people, descendants of the Inca, and continues to be used for medicinal purposes in Peru.

Today, maca is gaining popularity outside of South America too. Consistent with the original legends, it is still used for promoting strength and performance- both in athletic settings and boudoir settings…

Maca, a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables (other members include broccoli, kale, turnips, and radishes) is considered an adaptogenic herb. This category of herbs help the body to deal with and resist the effects of stress. Adaptogenic herbs like ginseng, rhodiola, schizandra, and astragalus help prevent the fatigue, immune system suppression, hormone dysregulation, libido drain, and low mood associated with chronic stress.

Many wonderful herbs fall into this category of stress resistance, but maca in particular is known for:

  • Reducing levels of depression [1]
  • Enhancing fertility, specifically by increasing spermatogenesis [2]. Black mac has been shown to be more effective than red or yellow maca in this regard.
  • Increasing libido in both men and women [3, 4]
  • Decreasing symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes in menopausal women [5]
  • Improving energy and athletic performance [6]
  • Anecdotal reports claiming improved mental clarity and memory

In general, I tend to favour purchasing maca in its loose powder form. Capsules and tinctures may be better for convenience sake, but if you don’t mind the malty taste of maca and like throwing it in culinary creations recreationally, then powder is your best value. I also recommend getting gelatinized maca as opposed to raw maca powder. The gelatinization process breaks down many of the starches in this tuber and renders the medicinal constituents more absorbable.

Now that you are good and excited to use maca in your next meal (or perhaps before your next date…wink!), here are some recipes to help you incorporate this superfood into your diet.

Maca Miso Salad Dressing

3 Tbsp white or red miso paste

1 Tbsp gelatinized maca powder

6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

6 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 clove of garlic

2 Tbsp filtered water

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Serve over favourite salad. Will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Other Maca recipes:

Magic Maca Peanut Butter Cookies

Macho Maca BBQ Sauce

In addition to the above recipes, maca can be thrown into smoothies, soups, and dressings, and happens to go exceptionally well with another legendary aphrodisiac, chocolate. At the Dispensary, we even have a “medicinal” chocolate bar with maca in it!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this tribute to maca and that you try some of these delicious recipes! I would love to hear your feedback!


Alex Picot-Annand, BA (Psych), Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach

References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24730393
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16174556
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18784609
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12472620
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23674976
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19781622