Maca is climbing the charts as a nutritional supplement

Maca is climbing the charts as a nutritional supplement

Maca is climbing the charts as a nutritional supplement and super food. It’s been called everything from “nature’s Viagra” to Peruvian ginseng, and when taken in powdered form it’s been shown to  increase libido, reduce the risk of prostate cancer and improve sperm count for men, and alleviate period pain and increase fertility for women. It does so without directly raising hormone levels

Maca (lepidium peruvianum) is a root vegetable grown in the Andes at very high altitudes, between 4,100 and 4,500 meters above sea level. It’s not related to ginseng and more closely resembles a radish or turnip.

Maca RootsReputed to help warriors in battle, it was eaten in large quantities by members of the Inca army. Legend has it that after a city was conquered the warriors had to be kept away from women, as it had a powerful aphrodisiac effect.

Such stories have helped modern marketers no end. Maca is now a prominent ingredient in Peruvian breakfast cereals, as a powder and as an additive in a range of products. The roots can be mashed and cooked to produce a liquid or jelly, but they are more commonly ground into maca flour, to be used in baking. You can try it in toffees, cakes, drinks and a range of deserts. In the mountains the fresh roots are added to salads and boiled in stews. Processed maca is sweet with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

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Authored by: Rick Hind

Rick Hind is an Australian journalist who took the plunge two years ago with his partner Anna to explore a new continent and learn Spanish along the way. In the last two years he’s trekked in the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash, explored the Amazon in an open canoe, hiked through Patagonia, tangoed in Buenos Aires and learned to surf in Lima. Peruvian cuisine has captured his heart, and he’s still trying to master ceviche, rocoto relleno and make the perfect pisco sour.

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