See also: • Holland & Barrett • Toxic things • Looking after your body
Maca Root

What is Maca root?

Maca root is often sold in health food stores like Holland & Barrett in the UK and Mother Nature in the US because it is classed by many as one of the super foods (like wheatgrass).  It is a plant which grows in harsh conditions on poor soil at high altitudes.  Found almost entirely in the Andes in Peru and Bolivia it has been regarded for thousands of years by the local people as a valuable food and medicine (see the satirical ichthys fish).  More recent research and scientific trials completely support these views.

Maca is a member of the mustard family of plants and is closely related to turnips and radishes.  It is a cruciferous plant high in nutrients and vitamins and has many benefits associated with strengthening the immune system, aiding hormone production and reducing vulnerability to cancer (see giving up smoking).

It is a root vegetable and there are a number of varieties. Typically the root can vary in size and comes in 6 different colours:
cream gold green purple red black
cream maca gold maca green maca purple maca red maca black maca
Local people prepare the maca in a number of ways including boiling, mashing and sticking in a pot. It is also fermented to produce alcohol and the leaves are eaten raw in salads. Typically it is available in the rest of the world in dried and powdered form as a health food supplement.

Both fresh and dried forms are high in nutrients including carbohydrates, protein, dietary fibre and fat. Maca is especially rich in essential minerals like selenium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. It has a host of other stuff including linolenic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acids and 19 amino acids. It is also thought by many to have aphrodisiac qualities.

See also: •• Looking after your body

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