How Maca Benefits Male Health & General Wellness
The maca benefits to human health have been known primarily by natives of South America until recently. The plant is cultivated primarily in Peru, Bolivia and some parts of Brazil. It is valued primarily as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb, although the leaves of the plant are sometimes used as a salad green that is similar to garden cress.
The nutritional breakdown of the dried root consists of 60-75% carbohydrates, 10-14% protein, 8.5% dietary fiber and 2.2% fats or fatty acids. It provides numerous minerals, including calcium and potassium, but has a low sodium content, making it suitable for people on a low sodium diet.
Essential trace elements are also found in the root vegetable, including copper, manganese, zinc, selenium and iodine. The fats are polyunsaturated fatty acids, which makes them “good” fats. The roots also provide 19 of the 21 amino acids important to human health.
The roots vary in color from nearly white to almost black. The specific nutritional breakdown varies depending on the color of the root. For example, lighter colored roots are low in iodine, while darker colored roots are high in iodine, an essential nutrient that prevents goiters.
One of the maca effects that have been heavily advertised recently is to the male prostate gland. Enlarged prostate is a common condition that affects nearly all men. Whether not the enlargement causes unpleasant symptoms depends on a variety of things, including the man’s diet. According to several animal studies, the dried root reduces the size of the prostate gland.
A few small trials have shown that extracts from the vegetable can improve the male libido and improve semen quality. Supplements containing the extract may be beneficial for men who experience sexual dysfunction while taking anti-depressants.
The benefits are not due to increased hormonal levels, however, according to a 12 week study in which men who took the supplement had their hormone levels tested. This is important, because the growth of certain types of cancer is driven by testosterone and other male hormones. Increased intake or production of hormones could speed the growth of a tumor.
Actually, scientists cannot yet explain the maca effects on the male libido, but they have seen benefits such as improved mood, increased energy and decreased anxiety. While most of the studies have focused on men, there is no reason that a woman could not eat the food or take the supplement. It could provide the same benefits, since the effects are not related to male hormone levels.
If you want to try the ingredient, there are a variety of supplements, concentrated powders and energy bars on the market that contain it. Choose one that contains a variety of ingredients and you can get the maca benefits, plus a whole lot more.
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