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MACA - Ancient Peruvian Superfood!  

 

Peruvian MACA

1-lb PKG  454g

$24.95 + s/h

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Sunfood Organic Raw Peruvian Maca is considered to be a "Superfood" by many....and although some may believe these incredible little roots do indeed possess "magical powers", a thorough scientific analysis and chemical breakdown documents them to be a nutritional storehouse of vitamins, minerals, and building blocks that fuel brain function, ease hormone irregularities, and nourish the body.  Organic Raw Maca is a superfood-food-herb with an outstanding ability to increase energy, endurance and strength. Maca is a favorite of raw-foodists, vegetarians, adventurers, extreme athletes, dessert chefs and food alchemists.

Maca has traditionally been a staple superfood-food-herb in the harsh cold climates of the high Andes in Peru for thousands of years. Maca grows at an elevation of 11,000-14,000 feet making it likely the highest altitude food-herb crop in the world. The character and properties of Maca have been developed by the extreme conditions under which it grows. This makes Organic Raw Maca an excellent food-herb choice for individuals living in extreme and/or cold climates, high altitudes and/or with extreme lifestyles or determined health consciousness. 

Use in all your favorite recipes.   Try it along with Raw Cacao!

Dried Maca powder contains 60% carbohydrates, 9% fiber, and slightly more than 10% protein. It has a higher lipid (fat) content than other root crops (2.2%), of which linoleic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acid are the primary fatty acids, respectively. Maca is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur and iron, and contains trace minerals, including zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, bismuth, manganese and silica, as well as vitamins B1, B2, C and E. Maca contains nearly 20 amino acids and seven essential amino acids. Maca is also a rich source of sterols, including sitosterol, campestrol, ergosterol, brassicasterol, and ergostadienol. As a root crop, maca contains five times more protein than a potato and four times more fiber.

Today maca is becoming increasingly popular in Peru among native and non-native people, and the effects of maca are creating market demand in Japan, Europe and the United States. Maca cultivation is on the increase, a number of government experts and agencies are actively promoting maca agriculture and development, and maca is poised to be a major botanical product on the international superfood and herbal scene.

How to Consume Maca

We deliver Maca to you as a dried, raw, organic root powder. You may use a tablespoon or more of this powder in smoothies, teas, nut milks, coffee, raw cacao beverage or just about any food or drink you can think of.  As previously mentioned, maca has an unusual relationship with cacao nibs (cacao beans or raw cacao powder) and all cacao products in general. Mix Maca into all your favorite chocolate treats and experience real culinary magic.  Additionally, Maca may be added to homemade jams, broths, puddings and fresh juices.  Maca has major flavor notes that are sweet and full. It has some minor taste qualities reminiscent of other cruciferous vegetables; these add some mildly spicy elements.  Maca is a great addition to desserts and sweet treats. Use in all your favorite recipes.   Try it along with Raw Cacao!

Our maca powder is a great emulsifier. It can be used to draw fats/oils together with starches/sugars in a beverage, dessert or recipe. For example, if one makes a drink containing agave nectar and cacao powder, maca may be used to draw these two foods smoothly together and create a beautiful, rounded flavor. Another example, would be a raw fruit pie with a nutty crust containing figs or dates. If one makes the crust with Maca, the nuts and figs or dates will be drawn together for a more wholesome and complete flavor.

Can you eat too much MACA?  Yes, Of course. Maca is a powerful superfood-food-herb and should be consumed with respect.  If you really love maca, use 1-2 tablespoons each day and it is recommended that you take a week off during every month of consistent use. 

Are there any side effects or interactions to overeating Maca? In toxicity studies conducted in the U.S., maca showed absolutely no toxicity and no adverse pharmacological effects. In animal studies, the more maca animals consumed, the stronger and more sexually active they became. Maca is consumed as food for humans and livestock, suggesting any risk from consumption is rather minimal. However, maca does contain glucosinolates, which can cause goitres when high consumption is combined with a diet low in iodine. Though this is common in other foods with high levels of glucosinolate, it is uncertain if maca consumption can cause or worsen a goitre. Maca has also been shown to reduce enlarged prostate glands in rats though its effects on humans are unknown. In spite of all this, moderation is advised.
 

Historical and Traditional Use of Maca

For approximately 2000 years MACA has been an important traditional food and medicinal plant in its growing region. It is regarded as a highly nutritious food and as a medicine that enhances strength and endurance and also acts as an aphrodisiac. During Spanish colonization maca was used as currency. Maca has been harvested and used by humans in the Andean Mountains for centuries. It was eaten by Inca warriors before battles, and was used a form of payment of Spanish imperial taxes.

Maca is a member of the cruciferous family of plants. It is a distant relative of the common radish. The maca plant produces leaves that grow close to the ground and the plant produces a small, off-white flower typical to the cruciferous family. The main part of interest for this plant, however, is the radish-like tuberous root.  Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacón) is an herbaceous biennial plant or annual plant (some sources say a perennial plant) native to the high Andes of Peru. It is grown for its fleshy hypocotyl (actually a fused hypocotyl and taproot), which is used as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb. Its Spanish and Quechua names include maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, and ayak willku. 

In Peru, maca is prepared and consumed in several ways. The hypocotyl can be roasted in a pit (called matia). The root can also be mashed and boiled to produce a sweet, thick liquid, dried and mixed with milk to form a porridge or with other vegetables or grains to produce a flour that can be used in baking. If fermented, a weak beer called chicha de maca can be produced. The leaves can also be prepared raw in salads or cooked much like Lepidium sativum and Lepidium campestre, to which it is genetically closely related.

The growth habit, size, and proportions of the maca are roughly similar to those of the radish and the turnip, to which it is related. Maca is the only member of its genus with a fleshy hypocotyl, which is fused with the taproot to form a radish- or inverted-pear-shaped body roughly 10-15 cm long and 3-5 cm wide. The stem is short and lies along the ground, with only the tips curling up. The frilly leaves are born in a rosette at the soil surface, and are continuously renewed from the center as the outer leaves die. The off-white, self-fertile flowers are born on a central raceme, and are followed by 4-5 mm siliculate fruits, each containing two small (2-2.5 mm) reddish-gray ovoid seeds. The seeds, which are the plant's only means of reproduction, germinate within five days, given good conditions, and have no dormancy.

The maca root has been used over the ages for its nutritional and herbal qualities. Once harvested, the maca root was traditionally dried, then powdered. Once powdered it was either eaten or put into sacs and traded for other commodities. Oftentimes cacao nibs and beans (raw cacao powder) would come up the Andes from the jungle and in exchange maca would go down from the Andes into the jungle. These two foods (maca and cacao) have a unique affinity and history which is evident when one tries eating them together. Both cacao and maca were used as money by ancient indigenous peoples.

Maca's reputation as a powerful strength and stamina enhancer as well as libido-enhancing food-herb stretches back into prehistory. Maca, like goji berries and ginseng, is a powerful adaptogen, which means it has the ability to balance and stabilize the body's systems (cardiovascular system, nervous system, musculature, lymphatic system, etc.). As an adaptogen, maca can provide more energy if it is needed, but if it is not, it will not overstimulate. Adaptogens also boost immunity and increase the body's overall vitality by 10-15% according to most studies. Rather than addressing a specific symptom, adaptogens are used to improve the overall adaptability of the whole body to diverse and challenging situations and stress.

During the height of the Incan Empire, legend has it that Incan warriors would consume maca before entering into battle. This would make them fiercely strong. But after conquering a city the Incan soldiers were prohibited from using Maca, to protect the women from excessive sexual impulses.

Maca is traditionally grown at altitudes of approximately 4,100 - 4,500 m. It grows well only in very cold climates with relatively poor soil. Although it has been cultivated outside the Andes it is not yet clear that it has the same constituents or potency when this is done. Hypocotyls do not form in greenhouses or in warm climates.

Health Benefits

Sunfood Raw Peruvian Maca is Certified Organic, Raw, Vegan and certified kosher and may have the following benefits when consumed regularly.

Increases energy and endurance

Increases stamina

Alleviates chronic exhaustion (fatigue) syndrome

Improves sexual function in men and women

Enhances fertility in people and animals

Reduces hormonal dysfunction during menopause & andropause

Can regulate hormonal irregularities

Aids in alleviating depression, gives a sense of well being, reduces anxiety

Reduces anxiety and stress

Beneficial action on the circulatory system; Speeds wound healing and reduces anemia

Enhances memory, learning, and mental ability

Beneficial action on the circulatory system; gives skin a more youthful appearance

Helps treat anemia, rickets, osteomalacia, and stomach cancer

Good for healthy teeth and bones

Acts as a fungistatic and bacteriostatic

Acts as an anticarcinogen and antioxidant

Is an alternative to anabolic steroids, helps to build muscle

Is non addictive with no known allergies

 

The Scientific Properties of Maca

Amazingly, a single Maca root contains almost 60 phyto-nutrients!  In addition to sugars and proteins, maca contains uridine, malic acid and its benzoyl derivative, and the glucosinolates, glucotropaeolin and m-methoxyglucotropaeolin. The methanol extract of maca tuber also contained (1R,3S)-1-methyltetrahydro--carboline-3-carboxylic acid, a molecule which is reported to exert many activities on the central nervous system. The nutritional value of dried maca root is high, similar to cereal grains such as rice and wheat. It contains 60% carbohydrates, 10% protein, 8.5% dietary fiber, and 2.2% fats. Maca is rich in essential minerals, especially selenium, calcium, magnesium, and iron, and includes fatty acids including linolenic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acids, and 19 amino acids, as well as polysaccharides.

Maca's reported beneficial effects for sexual function could be due to its high concentration of proteins and vital nutrients, though maca contains a chemical called p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, which reputedly has aphrodisiac properties.  Small-scale clinical trials performed in men have shown that maca extracts can heighten libido and improve semen quality, though no studies have been performed on men with sexual dysfunction or infertility. Maca has not been shown to affect sex hormone levels in humans In addition, maca has been shown to increase mating behavior in male mice and rats.

Maca functions perfectly as an adaptogen... Each of its phytochemicals aids in the functioning of the body in its own way, but some of them team up to form compounds which have their own unique functions. Dr. Hans Seyle, in his Nobel prize winning work on General Adaptation Syndrome described how the human organism adapts to stress and the stages it passes through when the stress goes unmodified. In his work he described how adaptogens work on the human organism and promote its well being even when the stress goes unmitigated. This means that certain substances have the ability to work positively on your body even while negative influences attack your body. In today's world, adaptogens take on a greater significance because almost all of us live in a world of constant stress.

While the term adaptogen may be unknown in the Andes mountains, the indigenous people are no stranger to maca's adaptogenic qualities. Andean folk medicine tradition describes how maca helps the highlanders thrive at high altitudes of 14,000- 18,000 feet above sea level where oxygen levels in the blood are lower.  As an adaptogen, maca works broadly to contribute to overall well being. It nourishes and calms the nerves with its calcium, phosphorus, vitamins B1 and B12 , and its fatty acids, all of which work beneficially on the nervous system.

It stimulates the appetite and aids in digestion with its calcium, vitamins B1 and B2, B12, and fatty acids. Its phosphorus is a primary building block in the cell fuels Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and glucose-6-phosphate (G6P). At the same time it supports the adrenal glands so they don't have to rely on damaging corticol to fuel the body. Its sterols, calcium, and vitamin C help build muscle mass and its starches aid in physical endurance. Its alkaloids help the body assimiliated all these nutrients just where they are required.

Chemical analyses of this brain-powering root reveals an astonishing profile of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, sterols, fatty acids, and glucosinates. In addition, recent studies of maca also show:  Its fiber as well as glucosinolate content show promise in helping combat some cancers. Bio-available calcium, in conjunction with its alkaloids, make it an effective bond builder, thus reducing osteomalacia and rickets.  Some of its fatty acids function as fungicides and local antiseptics, which may aid in overall immunity enhancement. Tannins bind and precipitate proteins, which improves the nutritional value of maca. Saponins and terpenoids may aid as sedative, expectorant, pain reliever, anti-tumoral, and analgesic.
Effects general and not localized to a specific organ. Normalizing action irrespective of the direction of the pathological state.


Is it any wonder that Peruvian Maca possesses several qualities that can help transport oxygen in the blood? As it grows, maca's diminutive roots extract more than 60 phytonutrients from the sun, soil, and air and store them in their tissue. These nutrients include unique alkaloids which increase the body's endocrine and immune function and permit maximum absorbsion of the very nutrients contained in the root!

The endocrine system is a collection of glands that produce chemical "messengers" called hormones essential for normal bodily functions. A wide variety of physiological processes are carried out unconsciously by these "messengers". Once released they flow directily into the bloodstream and are transported to organs and tissues throughout the entire body.

Scientists and doctors are now finding maca to be one of the best natural ways to regulated and support endochrine health. This action regulates metabolism, energy levels, growth, sexual development and the sense of well being and attitude.  Thankfully, maca does not contain hormones itself. Instead it provides a unique set of nutrients that directly fuel the endocrine and help the glands to produce vital hormones in precise dosages predetermined by one's own body.

Peruvian research claims that maca improves memory, increases oxygen in the blood, improves the function of neurotransmitters and increases libido. One of the researchers heading current studies on maca, Peruvian biologist Gloria Chacon de Popivici, Ph.D., suggests that maca alkaloids act on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis and the adrenals. She has theorized that by activating these endocrine glands maca is able to increase energy, vitality and libido. Other researchers indicate that the effect of maca is more basic and that when the body is well-nourished, libido rises and depressing attitudes lower. Maca's nutrient value could explain some of these purported actions.
 

Know Your MACA Facts - Get the Facts About MACA

Vitamins: B1, B2, and C.
• Vitamin B1 helps the body's cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for healthy functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system.
• B2 works with the other B vitamins. It is important for body growth and red cell production, and helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.
• Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is involved in oxidation-reduction reactions.

Alkaloids: 4 novel alkaloids: macaina 1, 2, 3, and 4. These are responsible for activating hormone regulators located in the brain that in turn regulate the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.

Macronutrients: Essential vitamins and minerals, nutritive properties help convalescent people or patients who are diagnosed with anemia.

Proteins: Rich in bio-available maca proteins with an average of 11gr % in the dry root.

Micronutrients: Minerals which help with the production of antibodies.

Fiber: Loaded with cellulose and lignin which stimulate intestinal operations. Investigators claim fibers such as these diminishes the risk of cancer of the large intestine by helping the organism eliminate waste and toxins produced within the body.

Carbohydrates: Rich in quality carbs; combined with the alkaloids and other nutrients is the source for sustainable energy.

Tannins: Useful in treatment of diarrhea. Combined with other medicines, it has the utility of treating inflammatory processes like ulcers, sores, etc.

Fatty Acids: Contains over 20 fatty acids

Sodium: Along with potassium, it was discovered tha an increase in the daily diet of the sodium-potassium relation helps reduce arterial pressure/ hypertension. Nevertheless, an excessive increase of this relation could give rise to a diminution of the susceptibility to the bascule-cerebral accidents that do not depend on arterial pressure.

Calcium: Higher concentrations of calcium than in milk; indispensable for the nerves and circulatory system and the formation fo bones, teeth, and vital heart functions.

Bismuth: Known to participate in the processing against gastritis caused by bacteria.

Potassium: Participates in the regulation of osmotic pressure; its activity is carried out inside the cells.

Copper: The probable participant in the formation of hemoglobin. Lack of copper can greatly decrease the amount of essential enzymes for the organism.

Zinc: Serves as a cofactor of dehydrogenises and carbonic anhydrite; its lack can cause skin rashes, taste disturbances, and mental lethargy.

Fructose: A sugar used by the seminal plasma for the production of semen/ or spermatozoa.

Phosphorus: Regulates the transmission of neuromuscular chemicals and electrical stimuli. Important for the hemostasis of calcium and the reactions of lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins. The body's chemical energy is stored in phosphate compounds.

Iron: Vital component of hemoglobin and certain respiratory enzymes. Increased iron intake is important during excessive menses and other instances of blood loss. Deficiency results in anemia, poor growth or difficult pregnancies.

Manganese: In an experimental diet of this element, results demonstrated that it induced growth in animals.

Starch: Calcium and iron, forming chemical compounds that influence the nutrition and health of the consumer.

Silicon: Helps the connective tissues, including the aorta, trachea, tendons, bones, and skin.

Magnesium: Essential for protein synthesis, and activities of muscles and nerves. Deficiency of quality magnesium can cause changes in heart and skeletal muscles.


NUTRITIONAL COMPONENTS OF MACA ROOT:

Moisture: 5.00- 19.62%
Proteins: 10.10- 18.25%
Fats: 0.20- 2.20%
Carbohydrates: 51.81- 76.05%
Ash: 3.46- 6.43%
Fiber: 3.85- 8.50%
 

Vitamins: (mg/100g)
Carotene: 0.07
Thiamin: (B1): 0.15- 1.17
Riboflavin (B2): 0.31- 0.76
Ascorbic Acid (C): 0.80- 3.52
Niacin: 37.27- 43.03
Other vitamins: B6, D3, P
Minerals: (mg/100g)-
Calcium: 150.00- 650.00
Phosphorus: 183.00- 329.00
Magnesium: 70.00- 114.00
Potassium: 1000- 2050
Sodium: 18.70- 40.00

MINOR MINERALS:
Copper: 6-8ppm and 5.90mg/100g
Zinc: 30-32ppm and 2.8- 6.12mg/100g
Manganese: 20- 22ppm and .8mg/100g
Iron: 62- 86ppm and 9.93- 24.37mg/100g
Selenium: 0.27- 0.30mg/100g
Boron: 12- 26ppm

Also traces of Silicon and Aluminum and a vestige of Bismuth (Obregon)

FATTY ACIDS:
Saturated: 40.1%
Unsaturated: 52.7%
C12-0- Dodecanoic
(lauric) - .8%
C13-1-7- Tridecenoic- .3%


Glucosinates (Johns, 80)
-benzyl isothiocyanate
-Fructose (173.3 degrees)
-Glucose-
-4 unique alkaloids: (macaina 1, 2, 3, 4)
-p-methoxybenzyl isothio-cyanate
-l-ecdysone
sapponins and tannins


AMINO ACIDS: (mg/1g protein)
Aspartic Acid: 91.7
Glutamic Acid: 156.5
Serine: 50.4
Histidine: 21.9
Glycine: 68.3
Threonine: 33.1
Alanine: 63.1
Arginine: 99.4
Tyronsine: 30.6
Phenylalanine: 55.3
Valine: 79.3
Methionine: 28.0
Isoleucine: 47.4
Leucine: 91.0
Lysine: 54.5
OH-proline: 26
Proline: 0.5
Sarcosine: 0.7 (Dini, 1994)


STEROLS:
Brassicasterol: 91.%
Ergosterol: 13.6%
Campesterol: 27.3%
Ergostadienol: 4.5%
Sitosterol: 45.5% (Dini, 94)

 

Recipes

Add Raw Cacao Nibs or Powder to your MACA recipes for an added boost.

 

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