Just when you think that you’ve learned about all the superfoods that there is to know, here comes black maca to prove you wrong. If this is your first time hearing about this superfood, you might want to pay attention and take some notes because this superfood might be your next favourite one.
But before we go straight to the meat, let’s do some refresher first.
What exactly is maca?
Maca is a plant that is native to the central Andes and has been a staple in the Peruvian culture. It’s the cousin (or maybe first cousin, we lost track) of what they call the cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and others. But unlike these more popular veggies, maca is grown for the roots, not the leaves.
Maca roots can either be fermented into an earthy beer or ground into powder that can be mixed in a lot of delicacies. But aside from the Peruvian diet, maca is also an important piece of Peru’s traditional medicine. And in the modern world, the powdered root of maca is considered a superfood that promises a ton of benefits.
Here are only some of the acclaimed health benefits:
- Balances hormones and energy levels
- Increases fertility rate
- Improves memory
- And a lot more. But we’ll get into them later.
But what’s so special about the black variety of maca?
Maca roots come in three colours: yellow, red and black. Amazingly, these colour variations are not the result of cultivating each type of maca independently. They actually grow from the same seed crop. It just so happens that one root realized he wanted to be yellow, while the others desired to be red and black.
Just to be clear, though, these colour differences are not skin-deep. Once these roots were sun-dried and ground into fine powder, they all just look the same. But make no mistake, they still differ in uses and potential benefits.
Of all the variants, yellow maca has the highest chance of growing its roots (60-70%), and therefore the most abundant. This variant is milder than the other two that’s why it’s great for daily use and applicable for men and women, of all ages including the little ones. It is said that the yellow maca powder can help those with hormonal imbalances, fatigue, inflammation and thyroid dysfunction.
On the other hand, the red maca is rare, with 20-25% chance of getting harvested. Because of its rarity, people thought that the red root is a sacred one that’s meant to be used only for alleviating chronic conditions. It’s also said that the red maca root is dedicated for our inner well-being and can help in treating anxiety, osteoporosis, hormonal imbalance, and blood flow.
And now for the root of the hour. If red maca is one in a thousand, the black one is even rarer. In fact, it’s the rarest of the three, with only 10-15% harvest ratio. Now you know why it’s so special. According to the ancient Peruvians, the black maca is the representation of the external energy in our bodies. That’s why it’s believed that it works best in improving the cognitive function, physical performance, sexual function and libido.
How does black maca benefit you?
More than its rarity, black maca is one of the most sought-after superfoods for its potential health benefits. Below are only some of those:
1. May Increase Sexual Function and Libido
This is one of many claim-to-fames of the black maca. Traditionally, this “Peruvian ginseng” was taken as an aphrodisiac. While there are supporters and doubters weighing in on maca’s sexual benefits, a 2002 clinical study put a more credible light on the subject. According to that study, black maca successfully increased the sexual desire in male participants after eight weeks of intake.
In a different study in 2015, after a 12-week trial of maca root in 45 pre-menopausal and menopausal women, it was concluded that maca may alleviate antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction of females.
2. Can Help Boost Performance and Improve Bone Strength
If you’re an athlete or a bodybuilder, you might want to include black maca in your diet. Not only can it increase your energy and physical performance, but it can also help in improving and protecting your overall bone structure.
Maca was proven to do just that in a 2009 study when male cyclists, who took maca extract for 14 day, recorded better performance in a 40-kilometer time trial.
3. May Help in Enhancing Memory, Mood, and Concentration
Surprisingly, black maca root is a good mood enhancer. And there’s some science to back it up. In 2016, a large group of esteemed international researchers found out that the black root can reduce the hemoglobin levels of those with abnormally high levels, and reduce the blood glucose levels. Both of which are deciding factors in mood and energy changes.
People who participated in that study did not show serious adverse effects so it’s safe to assume that black maca isn’t potentially dangerous.
But even before the 2016 study, black maca was already deemed to be helpful in improving memory and concentration. Although the successful experiments that prove these were only done in mice, they still stand as two of the most popular health benefits of maca.
4. Helps Improve Metabolism
If you’re having problems in the loo, consider taking black maca. Black maca extract may help prevent metabolism disorders as it has the ability to regulate glucose levels. Glucose, the sugar that we get from carbs, are a vital metabolite for us. A study in 2008 showed that black maca increases the production of glucose and therefore may promote a healthier metabolism.
These are only some of the many potential benefits of black maca. But how do you get them into your system, though? Easy. Read on for some quick and delish recipes using Black Maca Powder!
Black Maca Recipes
Black Maca Smoothie
This is probably the best and easiest way to get the most of the nutritional goodness that black maca can provide.
1-2 teaspoons of maca powder
2 tablespoons of almond butter
2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups of milk or dairy-free mylk
Step 1: Just throw them all into the mixer and blend until desired texture is achieved.
Step 2: Adjust to taste, if necessary.
Step 3: Top it off with some whip cream, or ice cream, and enjoy!
Black Maca Chocolate Ice Cream
Who wouldn't want a tub of ice cream, especially in the heat of summer, right? Enhance your favourite dessert by throwing some black maca powder into the mix. Here’s how:
3 cups of full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder
¼ cup of cocoa
2 tablespoons of black maca powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dark chocolate chips
Step 1: Mix the ¼ cup of coconut milk with the arrowroot powder and leave it for a while.
Step 2: Pour the remaining coconut milk in a pan with the cocoa powder, maca powder and maple syrup. Bring it to a boil while stirring the mixture. As soon as it boils, pour in the arrowroot mixture a while ago to thicken the mixture.
Step 3: Take out from the heat then throw in the vanilla extract and chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate melts.
Step 4: Put the mixture in the fridge until cold then churn.
Step 5: Lastly, transfer the ice cream to another container then leave it in the freezer overnight.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Giving in to the Black Maca hype
Certainly, black maca is the superfood that you wish you knew before. With all those benefits and easy applications, it’s hard not to love this root crop. While the black maca takes many forms like capsules and extracts, the Black Maca Powder is the most popular one.
And you’re in luck because we got it on our shelves. Superfoods Australia is a haven for superfood lovers out there. We got almost everything from super mushrooms, super berries, tonic herbal extracts, and other tinctures.
If you’re tempted to buy the wonder powder that is Black Maca, just give in. You can get them easily, delivered right to your doorstep. Just scroll through our collections and hit the order button! Check them out here.