Maca: What is it?
What’s the deal with Maca? You’ve probably seen this at the health food store but have no idea what it is or what to do with it. Here our Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor Melissa Fine answers all your questions on maca.
What is Maca?
A heart-shaped root vegetable that resembles a radish, Maca belongs to the Brassicaceae (cruciferous) family, making it a relative of broccoli and kale.
Colour-wise, maca can be anything from creamy yellow or pale pink to dark purple or even black.
Where Does Maca Come From?
First identified in 19th century by German botanist Gerhard Walpers, maca was originally cultivated in the Peruvian Andes Mountains, around 14,000 feet above sea level.
This altitude makes for a harsh climate – ‘extreme frost, intense solar radiation, gale force winds, and regular lightning strikes are the norm – and very little vegetation other than Maca, mosses, and cactus grow here’, explains Power Superfoods. The Peruvians believe that maca’s unique health properties are attributed to this environment.
What are the Health Properties of Maca?
I’ll let Power Super Foods do the talking: “A uniquely revitalizing and energy containing superfood celebrated in South America for its concentrated nutrition – rich in amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements.” Think of maca as a nutritional booster.
What Does Maca Taste Like?
Maca fans describe its flavour as nutty, with hints of vanilla or butterscotch. So, maca works well with milky foods like yoghurt or milk - or almond milk and coconut yoghurt if you don’t do dairy.
We also love maca mixed with cacao at GoodnessMe Box HQ, like in Power Super Foods’ Maca Smoothie blend – this contains the perfect 50:50 ratio of maca to cacao and is great if you’re new to maca because it’s nice and chocolate-y.
How Do I Eat Maca?
While the Peruvians eat maca cooked or dehydrated (in the form of a chip or biscuit), out of South America maca is typically available as a creamy yellow powder.
Whether you buy your maca powder at the health food store or online, it’s worth looking for a high quality brand of the stuff, like Power Super Foods; Their Peruvian maca is processed in a certified organic production facility.
So what can you do with this Incan superfood? A teaspoon is all you need.
- Stir through a smoothie; Try it with ¾ - 1 Cup of milk, a frozen banana (peel and chop before freezing), 1 Tablespoon of almond butter and a teaspoon of cacao.
- Stir through your porridge or cereal and milk.
- Add a teaspoon into a homemade bread, muffin or biscuit mix before baking – Delicious in a nutty banana bread.
- Stir into hot milk with a teaspoon of cacao for a superfood hot chocolate; Sweeten to taste with coconut nectar, rice malt syrup or stevia for a sugar free option.
Power Super Foods Maca Smoothie: This heavenly blend is great for those who prefer the taste of chocolate to that of Maca, or anyone who wants to amp up Maca's nutrient power by adding high antioxidant Cacao to the mix. For more head to www.powersuperfoods.com.au