Okay, let’s get to the root of it all. What is maca powder and why do people love it so much?

Maca powder has become one of the most popular wellness food trends over the last couple of years. This superfood comes from the same family as broccoli, cabbage, and kale. Maca, which is sometimes referred to as the Peruvian ginseng, has been cultivated for over 3,000 years, growing in the harsh conditions and high altitudes of the Peruvian Mountains.

Maca powder is produced by grounding up the maca plant’s dried roots. Once dried and powdered, the nutty, earthy maca powder is used as an additive to drinks, meals, and even to some beauty products. 

But is all the fuss about maca these days justified? We tried it out in a few different recipes and found that it was actually pretty delicious! Read on and learn more about the claimed health benefits of maca, plus some maca skincare and food recipes we’ve tried at home!

What Are the Benefits of Maca Powder?

1) Maca powder promotes healthier skin

Studies show that taking roughly 1.5 to 3 grams of maca daily increases the production of antioxidants like glutathione and superoxides, which help give you clearer and plumper skin. When applied to the skin, maca is also said to help stimulate UV protection as it prevents the formation of sunburn cells.

2) Maca can help improve your memory

Some conclusions derived from American research state that Maca may improve learning and memory. Researchers suggested that it could even be helpful in treating conditions that affect cognitive processes, such as Alzheimer’s disease. In Peru, maca is traditionally used to improve children’s performance in school.

3) Energy and mood booster

Maca is a common ingredient found in pre-workout meals due to its properties that aid in endurance and sports performance. There are also reports from Cleveland Clinic that show maca’s promise for stress management and energy boosting.

4) Natural Libido Booster

Maca is Peruvian Ginseng, so a heightened sexual drive as one of its effects shouldn’t be a surprise anymore (it’s actually one of root powder’s claims to fame). A study done in 2008 by CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics proved that Maca can increase sexual libido in women, which is caused by the positive effects on serotonin levels, the “feel good” hormone. A separate study done in the same year from the Menopause Journal claimed this as well.

5) Helps relieve symptoms of menopause

The natural fluctuation and decline in estrogen levels that women in the menopausal stage experience can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms: hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, sleep problems and irritability – to name a few. One review of four studies in menopausal women found that maca helped alleviate menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and interrupted sleep upon daily intake of two tablets containing Maca for four months. 

The range of potential benefits from this plant are promising, but there is much larger scale research required to back up certain beneficial claims. The good news: there aren’t any adverse side effects or health risks linked to the intake of maca. If you’re in doubt, you can always consult your doctors first before jumping into the craze. 

Where Can I Get Maca?

Besides these benefits, another wonderful thing about Maca is that it can be added to just about anything, including popcorn, coffee, chocolate milk, fruit smoothies, granola, baked treats, hummus, oatmeal, yogurt, and soup. Here are some maca powder brands that you can try:

Navitas Organic Maca– Powder Form ($15.99)

This one is a team favorite. It’s more bang for your buck based on the size and price: 16 oz, which will last you a while. The taste is really mild, and being certified organic, vegan, and gluten free is a nice plus!

Herbs America Inc’s Maca Magic-Smoothie Blends ($21.99) 

This brand supports the Indigenous populations’ efforts to preserve their culture and environment while supporting agrarian economies in developing nations. Herbs America works directly with botanists, tribal leaders, universities, and laboratories to cultivate and research traditional medicines which are found to be beneficial for both humans and the land. 

Their Maca product line includes ready-made smoothie formulas like  Maca Pichu Smoothie Mix and Cocoa Maca Loco Smoothie Blend.

The Maca Team’s Morning Motivator – Coffee Blend ($17.84) 

Cutting back on caffeine? Managing your coffee intake? This product by The Maca Team is used as a coffee enhancer or a coffee substitute, depending on what you feel like your body would need. Testimonials claim it’s a great product for boosting alertness and motivation — even for those who aren’t big fans of coffee!

Bearded Brothers’ Mega Maca Chocolate Food Bar ($24.99)

 A “sweet treat that treats you sweet!” is how Bearded Brothers describes their brand. A bar of 43g serves 180 calories. Perfect for a pre-workout! This unique chocolate food bar is made with various other healthy, guilt busting organic ingredients like coconut sugar, Mexican cocoa, sea salt, chia seeds,  and cocoa nibs. Mega Maca Chocolate Food Bar comes in boxes of 5s and 12s.

Maca Recipes We Tried and Loved

MACA POWDER HOT CHOCOLATE- personal ranking of 5/5 stars

hot maca chocolate

I love this hot chocolate recipe and gave it a 5 out of 5 for flavor, and the fact that it’s so chocolatey and delicious with very little sugar added.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of nut milk
  • 1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk (such creamy texture and natural sweetness)
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp of maca powder
  • 1/2 tbsp of honey
  • pinch of sea salt/Celtic salt

What to do:

  • Mix the ingredients together in a saucepan on the stove, medium heat
  • As it heats, whisk periodically
  • For more froth, whisk more often. You can also add to a blender or use a milk frother

 

MACA-CHOCOLATE-BANANA SMOOTHIE Personal ranking of 5/5

banana choco smoothie

I gave this a 5 out of 5 because the textures with the frozen banana and almond butter are perfect, and I love the ingredients and low amount of sugar!

What you will need:

  • 1/2 tbsp maca powder
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any nut milk of your choice, I love it with oat milk too)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tbsp of cacao powder
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (peanut butter can be used as a substitute)
  • pinch of sea salt/Celtic salt
  • Optional: 1 tbsp vegan protein powder (or any protein powder of your choice)

What to do:

  • Mix all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth
  • Add more or less the indicated amount of milk basing on your preferred consistency

 

MACA POWDER LATTE Personal ranking of 3.5/5

maca latte

I gave this a 3.5 out of 5 because the texture is great, but the maca powder is the flavor you taste the most. Maca is a pretty calm, earthy flavor, but I would add some more chocolate or take away some maca next time!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp of maca powder
  • 1/2 tbsp of cacao/cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 cups of milk (if you want non-dairy, we prefer oat or coconut for texture)

What to do:

  • Place all the ingredients in a pot on the stove and set to medium heat
  • Wait for the ingredients to heat up, whisking every minute or so
  • (For an alternative method with extra froth, put the warm milk in a frother or blend for just a few seconds, and add the ingredients after)
HOMEMADE MACA-AVOCADO-CACAO FACE MASK- Personal rating of 3/5

maca avocado face mask

I gave this a 3 out of 5 because I personally have a hard time with honey face masks! I know they’re super hydrating and healing, but boy oh boy it’s sticky. Next time I might switch out the honey for some coconut oil? But if you’re a fan of honey masks, you’ll love it!!

What you will need:

What to do:

  • Mix all the ingredients together by mashing them finely with a fork or by putting them all in your blender––be sure they form a smooth brownish paste.
  • Gently apply an ample amount on the face, avoiding sensitive areas around the eyes and lips. 
  • Wear the mask for 20 minutes then wash off with warm water and/or a gentle cleanser. 

 

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