What is gelatinized maca powder, and how does it compare to other kinds of maca?” This is one of the most common questions we receive, and we’re happy to answer it in full here.
Maca, also known as Peruvian ginseng, is the world’s highest-growing agricultural plant, thriving at elevations above four thousand meters (fourteen thousand feet) in the Peruvian Andes. It is typically grown as a biennial (planted one year and harvested the next), but left to its own devices (and depending on the climate, since maca cannot grow in warm climates), it is likely a perennial plant—that is, returning every year.
The maca plant is part of the Brassicaceae family, so it’s botanically related to broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower (among many other well-loved vegetables). The leaves have a slightly spicy flavor, and the root is a turnip-like tuber that tastes (depending on whom you ask) creamy with hints of butterscotch, faintly nutty, or a touch bitter. However, while all parts of the maca plant are edible, it’s the root that is the superfood. And just how super is this food? Read on!
Andean natives have been growing, preparing, and eating maca for thousands of years, and it might not be an overstatement to say that maca’s nutritional density and energy-enhancing properties have made life possible in the extreme elevations and challenging weather of the Andes mountains. Maca is a truly functional food in that it supports endurance and adaptability. Incan warriors used to consume maca before battle, and Peruvian children are fed maca porridge several times a week to support brain growth and build muscle.
Maca powder vs capsules
Many people enjoy the unique nutty and earthy flavor of maca — a great compliment to coffees and desserts. For those who aren’t interested in the taste, there are capsule options available. While capsules are a bit more expensive on a per-serving basis, they may be more convenient. The benefits of maca root can be acquired in either powder or capsule form, so it will ultimately come down to preference of flavor and use.
Best time to take maca root
Take one or two capsules, first thing in the a.m. on an empty stomach. “You should feel a difference in a week to a month,” says Cwynar, noting that women should watch for any cycle changes. “Maca can sometimes cause irregular periods if the dose is too high. In that case, scale back.”
How long does it take for maca root to work
Take 1 teaspoon, or 3.1 grams, of maca powder daily for 6 to 12 weeks to see the benefits take effect. Dosages used in studies ranged from 3 to 3.5 grams daily.
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