Maca is a native Peruvian plant that grows in the tropical Andes, dating back to approximately 3800 BC. Resembling a small rough stone the size of a walnut, maca is a powerful energy booster that that can be used to boost libido, increase fertility, treat erectile dysfunction, and the symptoms of menopause, improve concentration and memory, and enhance workout performance by increasing strength and endurance.
When I visited Peru to do research for my books, I learned quite a bit about the history and major uses. Story tells us that at the height of their empire, Incan warriors consumed maca before battle to give them strength. However, legend has it they were prohibited from taking it after conquering a city in order to protect the women from their strong sexual impulses. When I went to the open markets in Cuzco and asked a few elderly women what maca is good for, they confirmed what I had heard, as they giggled and said, â€œThe bedroom.â€
Maca is rich in essential amino acids as well as calcium, copper, iodine, iron, protein, vitamin E, and B-vitamins 6, 12, 1, & 2. Aside from the composition, maca is widely understood as a root of energy. So where is this powerful energy coming from? Though not entirely clear as to how maca increases one's energy, two popular hypotheses exist. The first suggests maca does so by allowing the body to increase its efficiency of oxygen consumption. Surges of oxygen naturally awaken the body and mind; allowing us to think clearer and move for longer throughout the day. Another hypothesis states that regular consumption of maca nourishes and regulates the pituitary gland (the Motherland of hormone secretion), which in turn creates homeostasis and allows the body to work more efficiently. When the body is balanced, stimulation of its own ability to energize is effective! However, no matter the hypothesis of how maca works, it has been shown again and again that maca increases energy.
Because it is a starchy food, the maca root is too tough to eat alone, making the gelatinized form the popular go-to for consumption. During gelatinization, the starch is broken down, making it easier to digest, while increasing the potency of its effects. So, how do you use this gelatinized form of maca? Unlike most of the other superfoods that come from fruits or seeds, maca carries a distinctly bitter taste that the natives have learned to mix with other foods to make candy, snack bars and beverages. To mask the bitter flavor, I have had great results pairing it with cacao, cinnamon, banana and other foods. Here, I'd like to present my Gluten Free Maca-Quinoa Power Fudge, which combines maca for energy enhancement, and quinoa for protein to sustain energy.