Not just any root vegetable, not even just a superfood, yellow maca has been a cornerstone of traditional Peruvian food and medicine for over two thousand years and is now treasured all over the world for its remarkable health benefits. Packed with a cocktail of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, yellow maca is an adaptogenic powerhouse that can enhance your energy levels, stamina, hormone balance, fertility, and immune system. Read on to learn about yellow maca benefits.
Why is Yellow Maca Different?
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An interesting fact about maca is that all three colours (yellow, red and black) come from the same seeds. It’s not possible to isolate each different colour for growing purposes, and yet each of the colours has an identical nutritional profile. The phytonutrients in the skin of the maca root is what determines the unique qualities of each colour.
The typical yield ratio of any given crop of maca is yellow 60-70%, red 20-25%, and black 10-15%. According to Andean shaman folklore, the most abundant yellow maca is considered the choice for daily use. Red and black maca are rare and as such are considered sacred. They are usually saved for specific medicinal purposes.
Yellow maca contains proteins which are highly bioavailable. This means that your body is better able to absorb them than many other forms of protein. It’s a healthy choice for everyone, but if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet you will find that adding powdered yellow maca to your breakfast cereal, yogurt, and smoothies will keep you feeling full for longer as it will help you reach your daily protein requirements. It’s also a great source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre which is great news for your digestive system.
As well as being a good source of protein and fibre, yellow maca is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C. It contains amino acids, iron, magnesium, and calcium.
Yellow Maca Benefits
Yellow maca is now consumed all over the world for its adaptogenic and nutritional properties. Here are the main areas of health it supports:
Yellow maca is known to support cognitive function, alleviate brain fog, and help with memory lapses. It is thought to be the best of the three colours for its mood elevating effects, which are due to compounds known as macamides. These are unique to maca and work to preserve and boost levels of natural endocannabinoids, such as anandamide (sometimes nicknamed the bliss molecule). Macamides do this by inhibiting an enzyme called FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) which would normally break down the endocannabinoids. This results in the brain maintaining higher levels of anandamide, thus giving improved mood.
Energy and Stamina
Yellow maca is loaded with B vitamins which aid in energy production and provide raised levels of stamina. Additionally, it is an adaptogen, which is a classification given to herbs, plants and other natural substances that help the body adapt to stressful issues such as illness, busy schedules and demanding lifestyle. This helps with feelings of being in control and having the energy to cope with what life may throw your way.
Studies have found that maca can have a positive effect on energy and stamina, often improving mood. Maca helps increase energy without the jittery side effects often experienced when taking caffeine or other stimulants.
There is reason to believe that one of the ways in which maca increases energy levels is due to its ability to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar and maintain adrenal health. This helps to keep energy levels higher and constant and may also have a good effect on preventing weight gain.
As an adaptogen, yellow maca can adapt to your body’s specific needs. Because it supports the function of your adrenal glands, it helps with the healthy balance of hormones which in turn alleviates many of the symptoms arising from such issues as PMT, mood swings, and menopausal symptoms which can lead to fatigue and depression.
Yellow maca has been highly prized throughout its history for its ability to boost libido and sexual performance for both men and women.
One of yellow maca benefits for women is its ability to elevate the level of the hormone estradiol, which diminishes following menopause. When supplementing with maca, the symptoms of post-menopause, including lack of energy, anxiety, depression and loss of interest in sex may be eased.
The conventional treatment for menopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but this may result in certain side effects and put women at greater risk of blood clots, heart disease, and breast cancer. However, when using yellow maca to ease the symptoms of menopause, hormones are increased in a natural way by your body. This is due to plant sterols stimulating the pituitary gland which then boosts hormones from the adrenal and sexual glands as well as from the thyroid and pancreas.
During post-menopause, yellow maca also supports the natural heightening of oestrogen levels which has very welcome anti-ageing effects.
The rich array of nutrients, including zinc and selenium, in yellow maca can provide support to your reproductive system, provided you are already fertile. Due to its properties as an adaptogen it has been found in laboratory tests to increases fertility in women during child-bearing years, without altering their level of oestrogens.
Men wishing to boost fertility may like to check out the benefits found in black maca which has been found to increases the level of testosterone more than any of the other kinds of maca.
Strengthening Immune System
One of yellow maca’s much prized benefits is its ability to nourish the immune system, providing stronger and more robust protection against disease and viruses. It also helps your body adapt to external challenges and promotes a state of balance.
The adaptogenic properties of yellow maca provide support to combat stress. Clinical trials have found it to have a beneficial effect on reducing symptoms of low mood and depression. It also has been found to lower blood pressure and this may be due to its high potassium content.
Adding Yellow Maca to Your Diet
You can use maca as a healthy and nutritious food or as a dietary supplement. The taste of yellow maca powder is described as mildly nutty with a slight butterscotch flavour and it mixes well with nut or oat milk.
Maca Drink: A Smoothie Recipe For Using Powdered Maca:
- One tablespoon of maca powder
- Four tablespoons of cocoa powder
- Two pitted dates
- 2 ½ cups of chilled nut or oat milk
Add all of the ingredients to a blendr and blitz!
To store maca powder use an airtight container and keep away from heat and humidity.
Many people around the world are now adding maca to their diet for a variety of specific reasons. If you choose to take maca as a daily supplement it is advisable to choose a product sourced from its native high-altitude regions to be sure of consistent high quality.
Side Effects and Precautions
As a nutritious vegetable, maca is very safe for most peoples, however, because it is rich in properties which can affect hormones, it is recommended that you moderate how much maca you consume if you have certain medical issues. If you have thyroid problems for instance, you may wish to avoid taking maca as it contains goitrogens which are substances that may impair thyroid function. It is best to check with your doctor if you have hypothyroidism.
- Due to maca’s effect on hormone levels, it is advised that maca should not be consumed by anyone who relies on hormone-changing medications for the treatment of such illnesses as prostate or breast cancer or other serious conditions.
- Maca is very rich in potassium and for this reason it should be avoided by those suffering with kidney failure.
- For women who are pregnant or breast feeding it is advised that they avoid maca as there is not yet sufficient evidence to confirm for sure that it is safe.
Ten Key Takeaways
- The individual properties of each different coloured maca root are due to phytonutrients in the skin.
- Yellow maca is a superfood with properties to support cognitive function.
- It provides a sustained energy boost throughout the day.
- Yellow maca benefits includes supporting hormonal balance.
- It enhances libido and sexual function.
- Yellow maca aids in fertility for both men and women with nutrients beneficial to reproductive health.
- It strengthens the immune system.
- Yellow maca’s adaptogenic properties help combat stress and promote overall wellness.
- It may be added to the diet either in powder form or as a dietary supplement capsule.
- Research and studies support the claims of yellow maca benefits.
You may be interested in treading more about maca in our recent blogs.
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