As we learn more and more about how our bodies work and what nutrients it needs to perform at its peak, the more we decide to go back to natural products such as herbs and plants that come from the ground. It all depends on what they want to improve about their performance. For example, someone may choose egg white protein powder to improve their bodybuilding whereas a runner may choose a supplement that will improve their blood flow to allow more oxygen intake.
Maca is a plant that grows in the Andes of Peru. The root can be dried and crushed into a fine powder that can be taken in the form of a capsule, added into food/shakes, or as a liquid extract. Not only is it nutritious, but there are also several benefits such as increased libido for both women and men, aiding in hormonal imbalances due to menopause, preventing prostate issues, as well as improving mood and energy.
Many bodybuilders and runners state that it helps them “gain muscle, increase strength, boost energy and improve exercise performance” (1). “Maca root (Lepidium meyenii) has been used as a caffeine-free, plant-based performance enhancer since the days of the Inca warriors” (2). Maca also happens to be an adaptogen meaning it will help you manage stress and help naturally lower cortisol levels (2).
One ounce (28 grams) of maca root powder contains (1):
- Calories: 91
- Carbs: 20 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
This makes it easy to dump it into your shakes, mix it in with your oatmeal or batters for pancakes/ muffins/etc. Many people say it has a nutty, almost butterscotch flavor. If you really don’t want to deal with the taste, you can take it as a capsule with the rest of your morning vitamins. It is suggested to ingest the powder 30-60 minutes before your workout for it to properly kick in. Many say that a teaspoon a day goes a long way.
Maca is a superfood that contains 18/20 amino acids that our bodies need. This natural energy booster is stimulant free and helps prevent inflammation (3) so not only is it great for before the workout starts but it will also aid in recovery.
If you are looking for a natural energy and mood booster, pick up some Maca powder from your local herb store or online. Those with known thyroid issues should consult their doctors before taking Maca as it may interfere with the function of your thyroid. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also consult with their medical professionals before taking the herbal supplement.