Maca, a perennial plant that can resist adverse climatic conditions such as frost and strong winds grows extensively in the Andes Mountains of Peru at very high elevations.
No other edible food crop grows at such high elevations of 14,500 ft.
The root of the plant is used as a vegetable similar to radish by Peruvians.
It serves as a rich source of nutrients. Chemicals such as alkaloids, terpenes and sterols present in the root serve to treat various diseases.
Pharmacological benefits of the root are harnessed in treatment of hormone related diseases, sterility problems and for improving overall health. It is also being used as a natural remedy for obesity.
Obesity or overweight is the major cause for medical conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart attack.
To prevent the risk of these deadly diseases it is essential to lose weight.
Weight can be lost by regular practice of workouts, regulating diet or by using diet pills. Use of diet pills often results in adverse side effects and is hence, not the preferred way for weight loss by many. Regular practice of exercise and controlling the diet help to lose weight safely.
But, few people with lowered stamina fail to continue practicing workouts for longer period to see a desirable change in the body weight. For such people, maca is an excellent weight loss remedy.
How maca works for weight loss?
Maca directly does not promote weight loss. It provides endurance and energy to practice exercises. This in turn promotes burning of fat and weight loss.
Benefits of using maca for weight loss
Provides essential nutrients: It contains all essential nutrients carbohydrates, unsaturated fatty acids, proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
It is an excellent source for vitamins B12, B6 and B2, vitamin C and minerals such as potassium, iodine, iron, zinc, calcium and manganese. These nutrients help to compensate for the nutritional deficiencies that generally develop in people who are on diet.
Improves the rate of metabolism: Vitamins B12, B2 and B6 that promote synthesis of various enzymes essential for metabolic reactions aid in promoting the rate of metabolism.
This in turn promotes weight loss.
Provides strength and stamina: The carbohydrate content of the root provides glycogen. This in turn provides increased energy and endurance essential to carryout workouts regularly for desired time period.
Practice of exercises promotes burning of fat and hence, weight loss.
Motivates to practice exercises regularly: Regular use of maca promotes functioning of the brain and the central nervous system. This in turn improves mental clarity and hence, develops a positive outlook towards workouts.
Keeps blood sugar levels under control: By improving the glucose tolerance levels of the body cells it keeps blood sugar levels under control. This in turn prevents unwanted fat deposition and hence, obesity.
Improves functioning of the thyroid gland: By improving the functioning of the thyroid gland it controls metabolic processes of the body. This in turn promotes fat burning and hence, weight loss.
Improves muscle mass: Use of maca promotes only burning of unwanted fat without disturbing the muscle mass. Polypeptides, calcium, zinc and magnesium and other nutrients present in the root aid in improving the muscle mass.
They also help in faster recovery from muscle damage that generally occurs after strenuous workouts.
Keep cholesterol levels under control: High cholesterol level is one cause for obesity. Sterols present in the root aid in keeping the bad cholesterol levels under control an essential requisite for weight loss.
Controls stress: Few people eat too much when they are stressed out. It is actually their way of coping with stress. If this continues for a long time then they definitely suffer with obesity.
Maca helps cope with stress efficiently. Thus, the eating habits remain under control reducing the risk for obesity.
Using maca for weight loss
Maca root can be taken raw. But, it is hard to find the fresh root in super markets.
Hence, the best alternative is use of maca supplements that are available in the form of capsules, powder and tincture.
Maca powder can be used in smoothies, salads, juices, porridge and can also be added to baking mix. The unique nutty flavor of the root adds flavor for the foods.
It is very important to follow strict dosage limits to prevent side effects.
If you are using maca for first time then start with a small dose of 500mg and gradually increase depending on the body’s response and the requirement.
However, limit the dosage to 2000-3000mg per day. If you are using any medications or other herbal supplements consult your physician to know about any possible drug interactions.
Stop taking maca or reduce the dose if side effects such as increased intestinal gas or other gastrointestinal disturbances are observed. Pregnant and lactating women should stay away from mama.