Maca is related to the turnip and radish, and has the same proportions, size, and growth habits. The cream colored root is the most widely grown and has enhanced size and sweetness. It also comes in darker root colors such as red, black, and purple, which are richer in iodine.
Maca is rich in calcium, potassium, iron, iodine, copper, and zinc. It has become popular as a supplement to enhance libido for both men and women, but has an array of other health benefits. Maca should be introduced to your system in small doses (start with 1/2 teaspoon, and slowly increase to 1 Tablespoon over a couple weeks time). It has been known to increase energy, stamina, helps improve skin, balances mood, and helps alleviate symptoms of PMS and menopause.
The main reason I've been advised to start taking this supplement, is to help me acclimate to the elevation of Cusco. Because maca is rich in iron, it helps to improve the oxygen transport through the body, making it easier to breathe in high altitude. It's good for restoring red blood cells, thus improving oxygenation throughout the body. Since maca is from the Andes, the properties it has that make it possible to cultivate it at such a high elevation, are passed along to you when you consume it.
- Historically, maca was traded for other food staples, such as corn, rice, quinoa, and papaya.
- Maca was used as a form of payment for Spanish imperial taxes.
- Maca was eaten by Inca imperial warriors to give them energy and stamina before battles.
Is maca right for you? Everyones body is different, and requires different care. If you feel like your energy is low, you have a decreased libido, you're having major mood swings or difficult PMS symptoms, or if you're going to be traveling to cities in the clouds, consider adding a small portion of maca to your smoothies, juice, or yogurt for a couple weeks and see how you feel.