On hot summer days, I tend to have more smoothies for breakfast. Though there are many ingredients I love, the maca I am adding seems to contribute to my sense of well being. This is probably because maca is an adaptogen and a hormone balancer.
By adaptogen, I am referring to maca’s ability to reduce the negative impact stress has on our bodies. We might still experience the stress, but it is not as harmful on our overall health. A recent study showed that women who experienced more stress burned fewer calories after eating a high fat meal compared to the women with fewer stressors. The study showed that the higher stress levels correlated with higher insulin levels, which can contribute to belly fat. The study didn’t address adaptogens like maca, but in theory, these types of herbs might improve insulin levels and therefore help our metabolism.
The other popular benefit of maca is as a hormone balancer for both women and men. It is maybe most widely known as a libido enhancer. It isn’t going to necessarily help everyone since not all libido issues are related to hormones, but for those cases, it can be a great choice. Consuming maca might also help conditions like prostate issues, PMS, hot flashes, acne, and even some types of depression.
Because maca is traditionally used in fairly large quantities, it is a perfect item to add to a smoothie or other food. I usually put 1-2 teaspoon in each smoothie. When I added 3 teaspoons, I noticed a bit of a spicy radish-like taste that I didn’t like.
Here is my current smoothie recipe:
- 1 scoop Sunwarrior Chocolate Warrior Blend or other protein powder
- 1-2 tsp barley grass or other greens powder
- 1-2 maca powder
- 2 tbsp almond butter or other nut butter or nuts
- 1 tsp cacoa powder
- 1-2 tbsp ground flaxseeds and or chia seeds
- ¼ tsp turmeric with a pinch of black pepper
- 1 tbsp Barlean’s Coconut oil
- 1 to 1 ½ cups water
Blend in a blender until smooth with any of these other ingredients I might want that day:
- Fresh or frozen fruits or veggies like avocado, baby greens, or sprouts.
- Coconut water to replace some of the water.
- ½ -1 tsp of the turmeric paste I made for my Bulletproof Turmeric #2 recipe.
You can also empty the contents of supplement capsules into the smoothie such as probiotics, amino acids, and herbal supplements. Basically any that doesn’t make the smoothie taste strange.
And I haven’t even gotten around to trying all of the new items in our Bulk Herb aisle. Here you will find bulk products to make your smoothies more nutritious and delicious like: bee pollen, beet powder, raw cacao powder, cranberry powder, goji powder, lucuma, matcha green tea powder, and wheat grass powder.
~ Dr. Laurell Matthews, ND