Maca: The Peruvian sex plant?

Maca, maca, maca! It reminds me a little of “wocka wocka wocka” from The Muppets. But I’m here to talk about maca. Kind of fun to say, but what the heck is it?

Maca plants look a lot like large radishes

Maca plants look a lot like large radishes

Maca, maca, maca!

It reminds me a little of “wocka wocka wocka” from The Muppets. But I’m here to talk about maca. Kind of fun to say, but what the heck is it?

You may have heard of this miracle food — a root actually. It even looks a little like an onion, varying in all sort of colours from grey, cream, red, black and even purple.

Maca has been consumed for centuries to get more energy and avoid the mental or physical fatigue of normal daily activities.

Harvested from the Andes in Peru, Peruvians have been enjoying the benefits of the amino acids (precursor to protein), trace minerals, vitamins, fibre and fatty acids (an important fuel for our cells) that this root has to offer.

Black maca in particular has been found to increase energy and memory, while red maca is better known to regulate estrogen levels in the bones helping prevent osteoporosis.

When taken daily, approximately one teaspoon a day, maca is also known to benefit women going through menopause or who have difficult times throughout the month with their menstrual cycles.

In particular, symptoms of hot flashes, moodiness, depression and insomnia have been known to be alleviated through its hormone balancing effects.

Heightened libido has been found in small clinical trials with men consuming maca.

It also contains the three basic nutrients required to protect against cardiovascular and oncological diseases: vitamin C, proline and lysine, which the body does not produce.

With our fast-paced, busy lifestyles, our diets could really use this stuff.

Because of its powerful effects, in Norway, it’s actually considered a medicinal herb and you cannot have access to it without a prescription.

That is not the case in Canada. It can be found at most health food stores and is a great way to balance your overall diet and really easy to implement.

So how do you consume it? The easiest way it to purchase maca powder from your health food store and enjoy it in a smoothie.

The taste is quite modest. It goes very nicely with some raw cocoa powder in a chocolate smoothie (see the recipe below).

You can also mix it with some homemade bars or add to any baking if you so choose.

But it’s best to keep it in its raw form to keep all its nutrients intact. Get creative.

If Inca warriors consumed maca before battle, just imagine what it might do for you.

Chocolate Maca Warrior Smoothie

2 cups of rice, almond, soy or whole milk, or just water

1 to 2 bananas

1 tbsp raw cocoa powder or carob powder

1 tbsp honey

Up to 2 rounded tablespoons of maca

1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter 

1 scoop of protein powder — hemp

Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a local freelance columnist. She can be reached at kristin_fraser@hotmail.com