(NaturalHealth365) Maca is a root vegetable belonging to the Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables. It is most similar to radishes and turnips in growth habits, size, and proportions. Maca is extremely mineral rich with ample amounts of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, potassium, copper and zinc.
These minerals are extremely important for healthy skin, bones, eyes, and joints. In addition, minerals are essential for effective cellular formation, communication and regeneration.
Maca is one of the highest altitude crops in the world – growing atop 8,000-14,500 foot regions of the Andes Mountains in Peru. In this climate, it faces extreme cold, intense sunshine, powerful winds and challenged agricultural areas. Due to the challenging climates that maca grows it doesn’t harbor pests and therefore is always grown organically. In fact, many Peruvian farmers have begun planting it with other root vegetables as the plant naturally repels pathogenic nematodes and other pests.
Does your diet help you to adapt to the environment?
The survival of the fittest principle of ecological evolution helps us understand the unique benefits of maca. Over thousands of years, maca has developed the ability to thrive in some of the worst soil and environmental climates in the world. Maca has adapted effectively to these stressful conditions and developed certain factors that enhance human adaptability.
Maca is an adaptogenic in that it helps the body adapt to environmental stressors effectively. Adaptogenic substances support the nervous system, endocrine system and immune system to allow the body to effectively manage homeostasis under challenging circumstances. This enhances energy levels, stamina, mental clarity, spiritual outlook and the ability to handle oncoming stress.
Maca contains a certain balance of alkaloid and polysaccharide compounds that help improve control and coordination of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. These regions are the master regulators of the bodies stress response and reproductive systems. Through this mechanism it helps stabilize adrenal output and regulate inflammatory hormones like cortisol.
If you want to balance your hormones – eat maca
Maca has an ability to help balance hormones in both men and women. Studies have found it effective for reducing hot flashes, painful menstrual cramps, improving mood and increase your desire for “intimate” activities. It hasn’t been demonstrated to consistently increase reproductive hormone production but instead to modulate and coordinate the role of these hormones more effectively.
A 2008 study, published in Menopause, showed that about 3.5 grams of maca per day reduced psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression and lower measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women independent of estrogenic and androgenic activity. Another 2006 study showed that maca improved cognitive function and reduced depression in surgery induced menopausal rats that couldn’t produce sufficient reproductive hormones.
Maca has also been demonstrated in several studies to improve libido and fertility in male and female rats. Many people have blogged their unique anecdotal testimonies of maca improving their “passionate” activities and overcoming their struggles with infertility.
Red maca has been shown in 2 studies to reduce prostatic hyperplasia in testosterone induced male rats. This demonstrates the glandular modulating effects of maca as it works to balance hormones. Red and black maca have the greatest anti-oxidant content and therefore the greatest health benefits.
Eliminate the threat of diabetes and heart disease
A 2007 study demonstrates Maca’s ability to reduce inflammation at the cellular level. The results of the study indicated that Maca was effective at improving glucose metabolism, lipid profile and anti-oxidant status. This improves cardiovascular function and decreases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Another 2006 study showed that Maca was able to inhibit bone loss in an ovariectomized rat. Typically, a lack of the estrogen-secreting ovaries leads to increased catabolic state and subsequent bone loss. Another study showed a specific extract from maca (RNI-249) was able to help to preserve cartilage cells by inhibiting catabolic pathways, activating anabolic mechanisms and enhancing blood flow into the cartilage cells.
About the author: Dr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga. He is a Maximized Living doctor. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition & exercise, & structural corrective chiropractic care. For more information – visit: DrJockers.com. Dr. Jockers is also available for long distance phone consultations to help you beat disease and reach your health goals.
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