If you’ve been feeling a little less frisky than desirable lately, maca powder might be the all-natural solution to your predicament. Traditionally, this root has been used to boost sex drive and fertility.
It’s also been shown to help with energy and stamina in other areas of life as well, so it can be good for everyone, not just those hoping to increase the heat in their bedroom.
Maca is actually a cruciferous vegetable, like broccoli or cauliflower, but the part that is eaten is only the root. It’s been used in cooking as well as medicinally in Peru since the dawn of time, or thereabout.
As it’s gained more mainstream popularity, the more common way to use it is in a powdered form, made from drying and pulverizing the root. You can also get liquid extracts or capsules though.
If you’d like to benefit from a bit of an energy boost in your life, maca might be for you, but you’ll want to make sure you take it safely.
So how do you cook maca powder? Maca should always be cooked before consuming, and this article will go through all the best ways to get maca into your eating plan. Traditionally, preparing maca powder as a tea is the most common and easiest way to cook maca powder.
Read on to learn more about how to cook maca powder, how to consume it, as well as our top 3 picks of maca powders on the market!
Health Benefits of Maca Powder
As is the case with most plants and roots that have risen to fame in the USA despite their local unfamiliarity, maca root has a long list of associated health benefits.
If you look at macros specifically, a 1-ounce serving of the powder has less than 100 calories, 4 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 20 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber. On the surface, that’s not an overly impressive profile.
However, if you look deeper into the vitamins and minerals, everything starts to sound a lot more appealing. In the same 1-ounce portion, you’ll also get:
- 130%+ of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C
- 85% of your RDI of copper
- 20%+ RDI of iron
- And more than 10% of your RDI for vitamin B6, manganese and potassium
Not too shabby for 1 ounce of powder, is it?
As alluded to in the introduction, maca has long been used to enhance the various abilities of our sexual organs. This seems to be linked to the amino acid L-arginine, which helps to balance sex hormones and increase testosterone.
In a world where everything seems to mimic estrogen, most of us can use a hit of testosterone to level us out again.
Studies have shown improvements in libido, fertility, reduction in menstruation-related distress and menopause, prostate size and even skin conditions related to hormonal imbalances. For the same reason, energy levels improve, sports performance enjoys a boost, and mood elevates.
So now you’re probably wondering what’s the best way to actually consume this powder.
How to Consume Maca
In its native country of Peru, maca is one of the only crops that will grow at such a high altitude, so it’s eaten frequently, like a potato or other root vegetable. They always cook the root first and believe that it might have adverse health effects if eaten raw.
I always remember my mother telling me never to eat raw potatoes, and though I didn’t know it until many years later, for similar reasons.
Both raw maca and raw potatoes have high levels of starch that can be very difficult to digest, so if you eat them raw, you can suffer from indigestion, ranging in distress depending on your personal gut and tolerance levels.
It goes beyond the starch, however. Raw maca is particularly susceptible to mold growth. The type of mold that really loves maca happens to be a carcinogen, which we don’t need any more of, especially when we’re trying to do something good for our health.
In America, the most common way to purchase maca is in powder form, as mentioned, and sometimes as a liquid extract. Either way, the preparation uses fresh, uncooked maca.
This leads us to the assumption that you should cook your maca powder before eating it, though many people don’t.
How to Cook Maca Powder
Most people who jump on the maca bandwagon without understanding the supplement first will add the powder to their smoothies or use it in raw food.
Traditionally, Peruvians drink the powder as a tea, which is a safer way to ingest this potent powder. The boiling water will not only kill any mold, but it also makes the healthy compounds more bioactive, or easier for our bodies to extract and put to work.
You can also mix it into your coffee, just make sure that your coffee is extra hot in the making. The same goes for hot chocolates or golden lattes.
Maca does have a somewhat malty flavor, so be prepared to get used to the unique taste of your beverages.
You can also bake with maca. Any cookies, cakes, breads or loaves that you are making can get a little extra something-something when the special ingredient is maca.
If you’d like to work raw maca into your breakfast routine, you can cook it with your oatmeal, instead of sprinkling it on top after the oats are cooked. You can also mix it into your batter for pancakes or waffles.
If you’re ever able to get your hands on the entire maca root, boiling it like a potato will make the flavor and texture more appealing as well.
Other Ways to Use Maca Powder Without Cooking
If you don’t want to be bothered making tea out of your maca powder, or cooking it in other ways, then what you’ll want to do is search for activated or gelatinized maca powder. Essentially, what this means is that the powder was pre-cooked.
With gelatinized maca, you can use it in a variety of fun ways, such as (but not limited to!)
- Add to your smoothies and smoothie bowls
- Sprinkle on your breakfast cereals and oatmeals
- Add to raw protein snacks like bliss balls, bars or granola
- Melt chocolate, mix in some maca, and let it set in a mold for yummy, extra-healthy chocolate treats
- Mix some into your yogurt, ice cream or chia puddings
Of course, if you buy extracts or gelatinized capsules, you don’t have to worry about preparing the maca powder at all, you simply take it as a supplement.
The 3 Best Maca Powders
|Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder
|Red, black, and yellow maca, non-GMO
|Healthworks Raw Maca Powder
|Organic, no additives or preservatives
|Anthony's Organic Red Maca Powder
|Purple and red maca, non-GMO
1. Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Gelatinized Maca Powder
Terrasoul is a very trustworthy company, putting a lot of effort into the quality of their products. They do have raw Maca powder as well, but this gelatinized version is activated and consumable as is, making it perfect for smoothies and desserts.
- Certified organic, non-GMO, vegan-friendly and gluten-free
- Super concentrated and full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids
- A mix of red, black and yellow maca
Main Drawbacks: The package doesn’t list how much maca to use or how often, so you’ll have to keep some notes or recipes on hand for using it.
2. Healthworks Raw Maca Powder
This option is a premium raw powder and is perfect if you’re looking to add maca to your baking practices.
- Certified organic and processed without any additives or preservatives
- Available in bulk, making it easy to stock up for the best price options
Main Drawbacks: Because it’s raw, it’s very important to cook this powder before using it, though the company does suggest that it can be used in smoothies and otherwise eaten raw. Do so at your own peril, as it can cause significant gastric distress if not cooked first!
3. Anthony’s Organic Red Maca Powder
This company manufactures several plant-based organic products, including this high-quality, organic, raw red maca root powder.
This maca powder is made in Peru but packaged in California and is certified gluten-free and non-GMO.
This particular product includes both purple and red maca roots.
- Red maca has the highest concentration of incredibly healthy phytonutrients, and it’s the most popular type of maca to supplement with
The flavor can take a bit to get used to and isn’t appealing to everyone. This drawback isn’t product-specific but relates to maca produced by any company.
How Does Maca Taste?
Good quality maca will have a malt-like flavor that some people compare to butterscotch or caramel. That is a bit of a best-case scenario, however, and most people do adjust to the taste over time.
If your maca has gone off, it will have a bitter or rancid aftertaste, so stop using it if the flavor is really bad.
Does Maca Contain Caffeine?
Maca does not contain caffeine, but it may be consumed with caffeine, such as in a coffee or a latte. It also is quite energizing, but won’t give you the jitters like caffeinated beverages will.
It can keep you up at night though, so try to consume it earlier in your day with plenty of time to work its way out of your system before you’re ready to fall asleep.
How Long Do You Have to Take Maca to See Results?
Some people can notice results the first day they take a maca supplement, but with most herbs, the suggestion is to take it on a regular basis for at least 6 weeks before determining whether or not it’s the right solution for you.