(Natural News) If you’ve heard of Peruvian maca powder, but aren’t really sure what it is or what it’s health benefits are, you aren’t alone. While it is currently all the rage in health circles and smoothie shops, it’s been cultivated in the Peruvian Andes for thousands of years – and hailed for its health benefits just as long.
Maca is a small, turnip-like root, and comes in many different forms. You can purchase it as a powder, extract and capsules, and it even comes in different colors.
So, what are the nutritional properties of maca powder? Well, maca powder is mainly carbohydrate, with some protein and little fat. It is an excellent source of copper and manganese, and a good source of iron and vitamin B1. It also contains glucosinolates, which are believed to be anticancer compounds. Macaridine is said to be an alkaloid, and the root’s main bioactive substance.
The reported benefits of maca root include increased endurance, libido and fertility, reduced depression, better cognitive function, strengthened immune system and even a reduction in signs of aging.
Current trials have yet to fully determine the actuality of these reported benefits, but a recent study showed a positive relationship between the consumption of maca powder over placebo in reducing the negative effects of antidepressants on libido in women. More research needs to be done to scientifically prove the host of benefits associated with maca powder, but until then – the fact that it’s been used in ancient medicine for thousands of years sounds pretty good.