Maca is one of a very few plants that can grow at altitudes above 14,000 feet. The only place that it grows naturally is in the Peruvian Andes where it has been revered as a magical food dating back to 4000 B.C. Maca is a root vegetable and is most closely related to the turnip in size and shape. Maca is gaining more and more popularity as a “super food” and is now a beneficial source of income and livelihood for farmers in the Andes, where it is broken down into a powder for shipping around the world.
So what nutrition is in maca powder?
Composition and calorific values:
Maca’s approximate composition is 59% carbohydrates, 10% protein, 8% fiber, 2% lipid.
One tablespoon of maca powder supplies 30 calories. Approximately 75% of these calories come from carbohydrates, 23% from proteins and 2% from fat.
Amino Acid Profile:
The protein content of maca is impressive for a plant, making up almost a quarter of its nutrition. What is even more impressive is the range of amino acids, including seven essential amino acids, that the protein is made up of.
Maca is a great source of the first three B vitamins – B1, B2 and B3. It contains vitamin D which is unusual for a plant, and it also contains the antioxidant vitamins A and C .
Maca contains many minerals, but those that are present in a noticeable amount are calcium, copper, iron, potassium, sodium and zinc.
Benefitsfor the Nervous System:
study by the Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche, Università degli Studi di Salerno, via Ponte Don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano, Italy discovered that maca root contains a molecule called “1R,3S”. This molecule has been reported to have many beneficial activities that benefit the central nervous system.
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