Maca root grows at altitudes of 7,000 to 11,000 feet in the mountains of Peru, and has been part of local population’s diet for thousands of years. The superfood is loaded with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that provide a wide range of health benefits.
Maca powder, made from the root of the plant, has the ability to strengthen the immune system, increase energy levels and stamina, as well as act as a powerful aphrodisiac. The qualities of maca are not yet fully explored, but the studies done so far show very promising results.
When you head to your local health foods store or look at websites that offer the powder, you will come across two main forms of the product – raw and gelatinized.
Here’s a quick look into each one of them, to help you decide which form of maca root powder will work best for you.
Raw Maca Powder
Raw maca powder has the plant’s full spectrum of nutrients preserved in it, including all minerals, vitamins, enzymes and glucosinolates. Because the sugars and starch in raw maca are not destroyed during the processing, it is the best choice for athletes and other people who want to build their muscle mass.
For the same reason, raw powder is also better at increasing energy, reducing recovery time and fighting fatigue, all associated with the effects of enzymes. Glucosinolates present in the raw powder are secondary metabolites that have a lot of beneficial qualities, such as the ability to fight diseases and even decrease the risk of cancer.
However, some studies suggest that they can also be toxic in high amounts, so it’s important to stick to the recommended dose of one teaspoon to one tablespoon of raw powder a day, and regularly take breaks from consuming it.
Gelatinized Maca Powder
During the production of gelatinized product, maca is put under pressure and light heat. This type of processing removes all starch from the plant, making it easier to digest. Gelatinization removes some of the nutrients present in the raw powder, but it also makes the remaining nutrients more concentrated and bioavailable.
Some people, especially those with weaker digestive systems, have reported stomach pain and gas after consuming raw maca powder. The gelatinization process takes care of these issues, as it separates the fibrous parts of the plant and makes it easier to digest. Some people are concerned by the fact that glucosinolates are removed from gelatinized maca; however, the fact is that other important secondary metabolites are preserved in it.
This means that the gelatinized product still does a great job at balancing hormones, healing, preserving a better looking skin, slowing down the aging process and many other beneficial properties that maca is known for.
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