Could Maca Root be nature’s way to support hormonal balance for women in their later years?
Maca is a root vegetable native to the high altitudes of Peru and Bolivia, and belonging to the brassica plant family. Its long history as a nutrient-rich endurance food and medicinal plant among the peoples of the Andes reaches back several millennia. In their oral histories the root of the maca plant is revered for supporting mental clarity, longevity and hormonal health. This gives an indication of maca root’s wide-ranging tonic action on the human body. It was particularly prized for its aphrodisiac qualities, assisting libido, sexual function and hormonal balance in both sexes.
Extensive research in modern times has confirmed the use of maca root as an adaptogen which means it acts as an adrenal restorative, is useful in fatigue and to support stamina. It has an affinity for the endocrine system supporting healthy thyroid function and hormonal activity.
Maca root also supports pancreatic function which helps to balance blood glucose. In fact, as a whole food rich in amino acids, complex carbohydrates, fatty acids, fiber, vitamin C and minerals like potassium and calcium, maca’s tonic properties support and nourish the whole body in both men and women.
Maca root is available in dried powder or capsule form. Although some maca root products may be marketed as raw, those that have been heat-treated in some way are recommended. Traditionally maca root was cooked and eaten. Mixing the powdered form into a hot drink will achieve the same effect. Maca supplements come in powder or capsules, raw or gelatinized. The advantage of the gelatinized maca product is that it is easier to digest and the nutrients are more concentrated than in the raw form. Gelatinized maca has been used in research projects.
There are many recipes and serving suggestions for Maca root on the web. Maca root powder presents with a nutty taste and can be used in sweet or savoury dishes. It can be sprinkled over fruit or cereals or enjoyed in smoothies and hot chocolate or used in raw food treats like maca snack bars as well as in cooked recipes like pies, muffins or porridge.
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