I need to tell you about maca… and why we should all be incorporating it into our diets.
Have you heard of maca already? No? Let me tell you about it because it is something that I recommend to many of my clients with hormonal imbalance or fertility issues – but don’t stop reading if this doesn’t apply to you. The indigenous people of the Andes have used this superfood as a natural remedy for a huge range of conditions for thousands of years and there are benefits for every single woman.
WHAT IS IT?
Maca is a root vegetable that is dried and sold in powdered form (either as loose powder or in capsules). You can find it widely in high street health food shops and on the internet.
There are enormous benefits for women, and these are now backed up but a large body of scientific research. Here's why you should be taking it daily:
REDUCES MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS
There is plenty of evidence to support maca’s use for decreasing some of the most pesky symptoms of menopause, including hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, low libido and depression. The women in a number of studies took up to 2g daily to achieve their positive results.
BOOSTS YOUR SEX DRIVE
Low sex drive in women is a very complicated affair, involving both physical and psychological elements. Even if your GP were to provide you with a prescription, the drugs offered arefrequently laden with side effects. Not so for maca, where studies show it to boost sexual satisfaction in those who took 3g a day. Maca is also an aphrodisiac, as it’s loaded with minerals like zinc and iodine as well as fatty acids.
LIFTS YOUR MOOD Research shows that fatty acids found in foods (including maca root) are important for brain health. Macacontains omega 3 fatty acids, which is useful for relieving depression, anxiety and stress.
ENHANCES FERTILITY The South Americans have used macaas a fertility wonderstuff with centuries of anecdotal success. So far, much of the actual scientific research has been on animals (don't worry, most theories are tested on rats and mice before later being researched in humans) but the results are very promising. One of the mechanisms for enhancing fertility is through increasing levels of luteinizing hormone. If you’re now wondering whether you should be taking it to try to get pregnant;don’t worry. Studies have shown that it IS safe. It’s certainly not going to do you any harm, just that the mechanisms are not yet well tested…
GIVES YOU ENERGY The trouble with hormone imbalance is it does really zap your energy. Well, here’s the good news: maca is high in vitamins and minerals, which is why the indigenous people used it as a general health tonic through the ages. You might also be interested to hear that, in research, maca has also had a positive effect on athletic performance.
WHAT TO DO WITH MACA
I recommend using maca as an ingredient in smoothies or your daily NutriBullet, or sprinkling a little on top of your yoghurt. You can also use it in soups, casseroles and baked goods. It has a slightly caramel flavour, making it perfect for sweet or savourydishes. Start with half a teaspoon, especially in smoothies and yoghurt and work up to more. If you’re heavy handed, the result will be not quite as delicious as you'd hoped (and, believe me, I’ve been there). I’ve also heard of people having it in a glass of water. Each to her own. It’s not my thing, but I implore you to try it and figure out what works best for you. You’ll probably want to go for 2 teaspoons spread over the day to get a therapeutic dose.
You can buy the stuff from pretty much any health food shop. If you're struggling, check out this link on Amazon.
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