Maka: Eat to get happiness

Looking to add some zing to your sex drive and boost fertility while you’re at it? This Peruvian superfood shows promise to do both, and may also improve depression, counteract the symptoms of menopause, and prevent chronic diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer. Add some maca powder to a smoothie or green drink, and you’re fortifying your health with 31 different minerals and 60 different phytonutrients.

Boost Your Libido

Maca is an all-natural alternative to libido-boosting drugs. Two of the four clinical trials analyzed in a 2010 report published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicineindicated that maca increased sexual desire and function in postmenopausal women and healthy men.

CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics published a similar study that demonstrated maca’s stimulating influence on the sex drive of people suffering from depression.

Increase Your Fertility

Maca is made up of chemical compounds called glucosinolates, which exhibit a strong effect on both female and male fertility. If you are craving a little bun in the oven, add some black maca to your male partner’s diet. Researchers conducted a study made up of nine men who supplemented with a daily extract of gelatinized maca (1500-3000 mg) for four months. Results showed that maca dramatically increased semen volume, sperm count, and sperm motility without lowering testosterone or estradiol levels. Health benefits included lower blood pressure, balanced iron levels, and reduced stress and anxiety.

Maca may stimulate fertility in women by balancing estrogen levels. Women with fluctuating estrogen levels are more vulnerable to infertility and miscarriage. Maca also regulates normal progesterone levels, which are necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Don’t worry if you’re not ready to get pregnant — maca may fortify fertility, but it won’t turn you into a baby-making machine without your consent.

Including Maca in Your Diet

Mix a heaping scoop of maca powder into your smoothie for a burst of energy that will get you through the long afternoon. You can also bake or roast maca root or even add it to a soup. Supplementing daily with a maca pill or liquid extract is an easy way to make this potent supplement part of your daily diet.