Maca root, one of nature’s best superfoods, comes in 3 colors, each with its own specific benefits. Take a closer look at BeWellBuzz.
Maca is one of Nature’s best superfoods. This root vegetable is cultivated in high altitude regions of South America and has been used as a food and medicine for centuries.
Maca root is best known for boosting libido, fertility and stamina. It is also being investigated for its importance in dealing with issues such as Osteoporosis and prostrate related problems. Individuals suffering from metabolic syndrome may also benefit from maca ingestion. Maca comprises of mood altering phyto-chemicals while South Americans consume the plant as vegetable and also use it medicinally for dealing with stomach upsets and depression.
Maca is now sold as a vegetable in several grocery stores worldwide as well as in its supplemental form in some drug stores. All maca varieties are related in many ways but slightly different in taste.
There are 3 types of Maca Root providing their own specific benefits, so let’s stake a closer look.
3 Colors of Maca
Peruvian Maca roots grow in 3 basic color groups:
- White to yellow color
- Light pink to dark purple
- Light gray to dark gray
It’s important to note that the color of the roots are primarily found in the skin (similar to the common radish). What this means is that the colors of the actual powders vary only slightly.
Scientific research has shown that these colors have somewhat different properties, so let’s take a closer look.
Yellow maca – energy, vitality, fertility, balance of hormones
Cream colored maca is the most widely grown and are favored in Peru for their enhanced sweetness and size. Yellow maca is often referred to as a natural Viagra because of its instant effect on the body in creating a long lasting libido. Maca yellow can be consumed in its vegetable form or the powder can be used as salad dressings, or consumed with fruit smoothie. Yellow maca comes with a tangy taste.
This type of maca is most prominent for its ability to enhance fertility and enhance the mood of both males and females who consume it regularly. Research has also discovered that yellow maca is very helpful in dealing with symptoms associated with menopause and such include; hot flashes and it is also helpful in balancing hormonal levels in the body.
Black maca – Sperm production, memory, concentration skills, increase bone density
Black maca is harvested from the root of dark colored maca and is considered the strongest in energy and stamina-promoting properties, being both sweet and slightly bitter in taste. The taste of black maca can be compared to the roasted soya beans. Just like the red and yellow maca varieties, black maca is also believed to offer great help in boosting fertility and enhancing sex drive.
With so many couples unable to conceive and the overall hormone balancing effects of Maca that have been well-documented, it makes sense that people should give Black Maca a try if they’re having these issues.
In a 2009 study at the a Peruvian University, Black Maca was seen to be the best of all varieties for increasing sperm production motility and volume as well as for increasing libido. In 2011, 2 different studies, one from China and one from Peru found that Black Colored Maca helped laboratory mice improve their memory and concentration skills.
Black maca is also believed to possess the abilities to strengthen the immune system against common infections such as flu and cold, researches have also shown that black maca helps enhance sleep qualities and reduce aches and pains.
Red maca – reduction in prostate size, anti-tumoral, increase bone density
Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum) is the rarest of all varieties of maca. It is sometimes called pink or purple maca, but is most generally referred to as “red maca.” Red maca is becoming very popular as it contains the highest amount of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein in the body. Red maca is recognized for its malty taste and it has been found to be very helpful in handling stress, and depression.
Red Maca Root almost looks like a beet crossed with purple cabbage, and it provides a large range and supply of antioxidants much as those two popular vegetables do.
A study done on red maca was published in the Journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2005; 3:5. In it, 8 medical researchers report that over the course of 42 days: “Red Maca but neither Yellow/Cream nor Black Maca reduced significantly ventral prostate size in rats.“ The study also goes on to report that in under phytochemical analysis for 7 functional nutrient groups, “Highest peak values were observed for Red Maca, intermediate values for Yellow/Cream Maca and low values for Black Maca.”
Red maca has been shown, under phytonutrient analysis, to be higher in certain compounds that support the body in antioxidant and anti-tumoral activity. It has also been shown that all types of maca contain somewhat higher levels of other phytonutrients including alkaloids, tannins, saponis and steroids.
In 2010 researchers from the Universidad Peruana, Lima published a study on the effects of maca on bone structure in rats that had their ovaries removed. The conclusion was that both “Red and black maca have protective effects on bone architecture in OVX rats without showing estrogenic effects on uterine weight.”
Best Ways To Consume Maca Root
Maca is an adaptogenic. An adaptogenic substance is one that demonstrates a nonspecific enhancement of the body’s ability to resist a stressor. Many herbs have exactly these properties.
It is not recommended that you take two or more adaptogenic herbs together. Only take one adaptogenic herb at a time. Also avoid taking dong quai, black cohosh, licorice root and fertility drugs with maca.
If you are taking any drugs, make sure you consult a health professional before taking maca.
Maca Root is best when “cycled” on and off for about a month at a time. It has quite strong effects at first and it is best not to let your body get to used to, or dependent on it for long periods.
Starting slow is usually best before working your way up to larger doses.
That’s why you should start with a small amount, 1/4 tsp. in the morning. You can repeat the same at night, always taken with meals or just before eating.
Do so for a week or two to notice any changes. Increase the dosage by another 1/4 tsp. if no changes have been noticed.
Maca has an effect on the endocrine system which balances hormone. Some people will notice a difference quicker, while others may take slightly longer.
You should not exceed three teaspoons a day and don’t take it all at once. The latest it should be taken is just before dinner, as it can affect sleep.
Most importantly, give your body a maca break once a month. If you have been on maca for a month, take a weekend off. If you have been taking it for 3 months or longer, take a full week off. This is to keep your body responsive to the phytonutrients.
Where Should You Buy Maca
Personally, we would never purchase non-organic maca because the products are being diluted and cheapened now that more and more people are discovering its health benefits. If you’re looking for red maca, you can try this certified organic variety in a powder that you can mix into smoothies from the company ‘The Maca Team’ by clicking here.
The same kind is also available in capsules, which are great for when you want to get maca into your diet throughout the day to balance your hormones and provide other benefits. You can view the black maca version of the capsules here.