Maca is a cruciferous vegetable that grows exclusively in the Andes Mountains of Peru.1 It’s similar to turnips and radishes in its size, shape, and growth habits.2 This plant, including red, black, cream, and purple varieties, is used for food and medicine.1 The maca root is very nutrient dense and has a pleasant flavor.3 It’s usually ground into a powder3 and can be taken in capsule form or as a tea.4
Maca root comes with many health benefits. For example, it’s been said that you can take maca for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)3 or eat maca for weight loss. You can also take a maca menopause treatment since it helps balance hormones to ease menopause symptoms.3 Research even shows that you can take a maca fertility solution since it can help increase sexual libido and even increase sperm count in men.5 Maca is also said to be an antioxidant booster, which helps fight chronic diseases like cancer. Since it helps boost the immune system and balance cholesterol levels, it’s also good for diabetes and metabolic syndromes.3 Other maca benefits include aiding in the following conditions:
Though there are many maca benefits, there are also several maca side effects to be aware of. Among maca side effects, it may cause goiter, which is a swollen thyroid gland that results in decreased thyroid activity.8 However, eating darker-colored maca roots can reduce the risk of developing a goiter since they contain natural iodine.2 Maca side effects also include effects on hormone levels. Therefore, it’s suggested individuals who take hormone-altering medications do not consume maca.3 People with high blood pressure and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid maca since more research is needed to confirm the safety of maca root in people with these conditions.3 In most people, maca is considered safe.
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