Essential Facts On Powdered Maca
Powdered maca is often highly regarded in the natural health world as a powerful herb that supports muscle growth, hormonal balance, increased energy, fertility and libido. But not all forms of powdered maca are the same or even work in the same way. Read this article to learn how to make sure you get the most out of any maca supplement that you take.
What Is Maca?
Maca is a tuber (root) that grows high in the Andes mountains. People indigenous to the area have eaten maca roots and fed them to their livestock for thousands of years. Consuming them is reported to have a positive effect on mental acuity, energy levels, libido and fertility. Traditionally, the roots were cooked and eaten in soups or as part of other dishes.
In the 1990s, the use of maca roots for health and wellness spread beyond Latin America. It was at this time that powdered maca started being produced in large quantities. That’s because powdered maca is easier to ship and store and is more hygienic that the whole roots.
How Is Powdered Maca Produced?
After maca roots are harvested, they are then dried. The two most common methods of drying are sun drying and drying in large ovens. Sun drying is the better option since it doesn’t involve high temperatures that destroy some of the precious nutrients of the maca roots. After drying, the roots are then washed carefully. Some producers use a chemical disinfectant. The best use only a 100% natural organic sterilization solution. At that point, the dry maca roots are then ground to a fine powder.
What Makes One Powdered Maca Better Than Another?
There are 6 factors that influence the quality and effectiveness of powdered maca. Here is the complete list.
- How and where the maca roots are grown – some maca is now produced using chemical fertilizers and in soil that is used to the point of exhaustion. The best powdered maca comes from roots that have been grown organically and traditionally with respect for the land. Organic agriculture preserves the minerals within the soil which means that the maca powder resulting from it will contain higher amounts of bio available minerals.
- How the maca is dried - in terms of nutrition and the potency of any powdered maca , sun drying is the best. First, the sun acts as a natural disinfectant. Second, the sun does not heat the maca roots to the point where any of their enzymes or other nutrients are lost. Always choose sun dried over oven dried powdered maca.
- How the maca roots are disinfected - As mentioned above, maca roots that are cleaned naturally simply produce a higher quality maca powder than those cleansed with chemicals. Chemically disinfected powdered maca contains traces of those chemicals used in the process.
- How the maca roots are ground into powdered maca – Grinding of the roots should not involve any heat at all and should be done in a sterile facility with stainless steel equipment.
- How the maca powder is stored - Shelf life on quality maca powder is 18 months to 2 years – if it is stored in an airtight container out of direct light. Careful storage not only preserves the nutrients, but also the flavor of the powdered maca.
- If anything is added to the powdered maca - Some producers add other ingredients to their powdered maca. This is particularly true of maca powder that is sold in capsule form and of particularly inexpensive powdered maca brands. The best maca powder in terms of effectiveness is always the one that is pure.
Which Variety Of Maca Root Makes The Best Powdered Maca?
Another factor to be aware of is that there are different varieties of maca that produce different types of powdered maca. Maca roots grow in 3 color groups: yellow/gold, red/pink/purple/ and black. Due to the color differences, maca powders produced from each kind of root have slightly different nutritional profiles.
- Cream/Yellow powdered maca is the most common and has had the most research done on it to date. People have reported many benefits from using it and it is still the most common type of maca powder on the market.
- Black powdered maca is the second most common. It is slightly darker in color and has been sold for the past 10 years or so. One study shows that black maca powder is particularly helpful in increasing sperm counts.
- Red powdered maca is the rarest of all types of maca. It is higher in antioxidants and other phytonutrients and has been shown to shrink the prostate in some studies. It is also slightly sweeter in taste. For these reasons red maca powder is quickly becoming the maca of choice among maca lovers.
What About Gelatinized Powdered Maca?
There is one other type of powder maca that you are likely to hear about: gelatinized maca powder. It is produced from yellow/gold maca roots in a process that involves heat and pressure to remove the starch content of the root. The absence of starch makes gelatinized maca powder easier to digest than other forms.
We at the Maca Team love maca powder and have gone to great lengths to insure that we provide only the highest quality maca powder. All of our maca powder fulfills all of the requirements above. Read more about our certifications, our relationship with the maca farmers, our fair trade commitments and more.