Last week I was catching up with a friend who I haven’t seen or heard from in a while and she told me something alarming. She said “Vani – I haven’t changed my diet, or my exercise routine, but I’ve gained 15 pounds in the last 2 months! I gained it all because of stress!” She’s currently working on a big project and was worried about her sudden weight gain. When she went to the doctor, the doctor checked her cortisol levels. She found out, “they were through the roof!”
Did you know cortisol levels can increase from elevated stress and cause sudden weight gain? Fat accumulates near the stomach because the cells in the stomach are more sensitive to cortisol, and very effective at storing energy. I don’t know about you – but knowing that fact alone makes me want to drop everything and check into the spa.
Hearing her story was a huge wake up call to myself, I’m a workaholic and if I don’t watch it, the balance in my life can totally take a free fall. Her story also got me motivated to share a superfood ingredient that can help your body handle stress better and reduce cortisol levels (and help you in the nooky department too, which I know also reduces stress!).
Benefits of Maca Superfood
Superfoods are nutrient dense foods that pack a powerful punch when it comes to antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Basically SUPERFOOD = SUPERMAN!…or WOMEN! Eating superfoods has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong life.
Way up high in the Peruvian Andes grows the prized superfood called Maca. It’s the highest altitude crop on earth. With a growing altitude of 13,000 feet, this plant is not for your home garden (unless your garden happens to be on the top of the Andes).
Over its 3,000 year cultivation maca has earned itself a pretty long list of benefits, some of which include… get ready…
* Increased energy
* Reduced stress
* Improved sexual function (improved libido)
* Improved physical and emotional well being
* Improved mental clarity
* Improved hair growth
* Improved thyroid health
* Ability to balance hormones
* Ability to protect skin against ultraviolet radiation
* Ability to treat PMS
* Improved skin tone
* Ability to raise sperm count
* Helps prevent osteoporosis
* Ability to treat depression
In an extensive study of the maca plant, Dr. Gustavo F Gonzales found that maca can enhance the ability for an individual to “adapt” to a stressful environment by “improving homeostasis” in the body. This can positively effect energy, endurance and oxygen in the blood (which makes maca a great cure for altitude sickness…it’s no coincidence that it is grown in high altitudes). Maca can also affect the happy chemicals in your body that control libido, balance the endocrine system, adrenals, hormones, thyroid, and one’s mood! That is a lot for just one scoop of powder a day.
Throughout its history, the consumption of maca has been used by Peruvian natives for having strong effects on fertility and energy in both humans and animals. It is said that during the Incan empire, warriors were give maca to give them strength and stamina in battle but were then denied maca when they returned home in order to protect the women from their strong sexual desires. Whoa. This stuff is like nature’s viagra. Check out this article where my friend Dr. Mercola lists maca as one of the top natural supplemental ways to enhance sexual function.
Dried maca contains 59% carbohydrates, 8.5% fiber, and slightly more than 10.2% protein. The protein in maca contains seven essential amino acids. Maca is also rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and iron. Add to that the vitamins B1, B2, and C and you can easily understand what makes this a superfood! Some researchers even argue that Maca’s ability to treat a disorder like depression comes simply from the fact that the food is so nutritionally dense and that people become happier because they are getting the nutrients they need!
So, the good news is ever since the reemergence of maca in the 1980 access to this powerfully medicinal food is becoming easier and easier. And now, thanks to the beautiful world wide web you can have maca show up at your door, which is way easier than hiking up the Andes, let me tell you!
How To Use The Maca Powder
Maca is a member of the cruciferous family which includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and radishes. Maca is grown for its root which resembles that of a radish. Maca root can grow in a variety of different colors and can be consumed in several different ways, of which the most popular is dried and ground into a powder, maca powder.
Maca powder is definitely the easiest way to add maca to your diet. I love throwing 1 tbsp in morning smoothies for extra energy, in homemade hot chocolate (recipe below) and in desserts like brownies or anything with chocolate! It goes really really well with chocolate – yum! Did I say chocolate?
When I was in Peru recently, Maca caramels were everywhere, I’d love to try to make those at home one day. You can also check out more recipes and the subtle differences between red, black and cream maca from my partner The Maca Team here.
- 2 and ½ cups nut milk (coconut or almond)
- 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon of maca powder
- 2 dates pitted
- Pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth
- Place ingredients in a small sauce pan and slowly warm to temperature desired
Organic Maca Powders
The Maca Team is a small family owned operation and supplies maca straight from small Peruvian organic co-op farmers. I feel really good about supporting and partnering with a company that offers the highest quality organic maca straight from the source.
The Maca Team is awesome – visit them here and get your Maca ordered!
I hope you take time to look into this amazing superfood and see what it can do for you. Please share this with your family and friends that might be in the need of a little stress reduction or a boost in the nooky department. I would love to hear your stories about how maca is affecting you (well…..most of your stories…. haha!)
Peace, Love, and Maca,
224 responses to “Could This Be The Cause Of A Sudden Weight Gain?”
Maca cured my infertility. Now 5 month pregnant, made me feel amazing and balanced my mood and hormones 🙂
How long did you take it?
Hey Roshanna, I have PCOS and I took Maca powder and Tumeric capsules for about 3 months as well as being mostly gluten and dairy free. I feel like all of my inflammation cleared up and after 7 years of not getting pregnant it came out of the blue and very unexpectedly. I hope this helps, x
How much maca did you take a day? Also, how many capsules and times a day did you do the turmeric?
Sharon I took 2 turmeric caps per day once a day and about a tablespoon of maca in my smoothie per day. I didn’t do this but have seen you should slowly increase your dose of maca over a week or so. Hope that helps x
Hi Anita I’m what yo try maca root from what company store u brought it from?
Does it help you gain weight
Do you have anything to say on this? I just wonder about it.
Maca is good, but can be pro-inflammatory for some people. There are other adaptogens out there as well, American Ginseng probably the most balanced. But Rhodiola Rosea is very good, especially if the person has a cold constitution, Ashwaganda is very good, Eleuthro, and common Panax Ginseng as well (to name a few).
The one thing that people should keep in mind is that these, when introduced into the body tend to want to move, in fact Chinese Medicine has observed this and has given a name to the syndrome when people take such herbs but stay sedentary. Is best to get some form of movement and keep the dose low, if aggression or sleeplessness occurs alter the frequency and quantity.
If more people took these we would be a much healthier planet!
Are you saying that Maca may be what is making my hands hurt more from arthritis inflammation?
I add 1-2 teaspoons of macs in my coffee. Plus some cinnamon. Yum.
After reading the information about Maca I am not sure it’s for seniors. Do you have more info for seniors?
I love the energy I get from Maca but I would love a smoothie recipe that could mask the flavor because red maca is strong.
I bought Maca from this company. I did some reading that if you have thyroid issues that you should NOT use this product. Please help clear this up for me. So much info out there and at times hard to know what to believe and what not to believe HELP!!!!!!
I am hypothyroid and I just overdid it on raw Kale and felt very bad. Maca is goitrogenic as well, I would be very careful with it.
I discovered maca root around 2 years ago and it made wonders for me. I was in depression that I didn’t want to get out of the bed in the morning. Good people recommended me to try adding maca to my diet, and a couple of months later my life changed completely. I started feeling full of energies and I couldn’t believe it, but I woke up with great mood in the mornings. I have been taking maca since then to keep my high energies, and it works for me very well.
Did it make you gain weight? I do not want to gain weight but a lot of females are taking macs to gain a butt and boobs.
HI!!! I love this blog btw!! Food Babe Army Rocks.
Anyhow…does anyone know if maca powder is safe for children ages 4 and olsder and how much they can have?
Thank you!! <3
Question about Maca powder. I have read is can cause bloating and flatulence. What about the bowels…..???? Can this cause extreme diareah?? Many times a day. Also, weight gain??? I know about the bloating, it seems there is some weight gain, nausea, I am actually eating less, but have been feeling more energized.
Could you provide a smoothie or other sweets recipe where the flavor of maca is hidden? I recently bought and tried maca powder (in smoothies) and found the flavor unpleasant. Would love to eat this superfood if it could be masked!
You can put maca in capsules.
In fact, I actually purchase mine from a brand called Natural Health International who put them in capsules for you. They also are already measured out so it is much easier. They seperate the different phenotypes of maca so you are getting the right kind for your gender and phase of life. I would reccommend them.
Otherwise, you can add it to yogurt. It masks the taste pretty well! Or just add a little in your food.
Will Maca help w losing the sudden weight gain from steroids?was on for asthma last year and can’t lose no matter what I do!
If so how much do you take and do you get it at health food stores?
I have never believed in any superfood. A friend told me about maca and I cannot believe what it has done to me: my mood is unbelievable, my skin looks incredible, and I wake up every morning with a hard on. I am 41 and I was shocked and how horny I been getting lately. Whatever is in this stuff is incredible for me. Ladies, if you got a guy in your life that has a low sex drive, start baking cookies and start feeding this to him….it only took me about 3 days and I was seeing the effects.
be careful taking too much of this if you are sensitive to cafffeine because I have to use a teaspoon or less or I find I have a hard time sleeping at night. But I also have hormonal issues that affect my sleep. So idk!
I was taking Maca and feeling amazing, but had to stop because of a crazy burning rash. The Maca was the only thing I can attribute it to, and read that hives and rashes can be a side effect. Any advice for someone who wants all the benefits from Maca but has this reaction? (I have tried half the recommended dose, and still had the problem) Thanks!
I am allergic to the world, so I understand how annoying this may be. Usually you get hives when your body doesn’t recognize something, and tries to fight it off. Maybe starting VERY low, and adding a little bit more, every so often to build up a tolerance….
I just read that you should not heat Maca or it looses it’s effectiveness. Is that true?
Actually, it is supposed to be heated first. The native people would never eat raw maca.
Hi Krystal (or anyone that can help),
I am confused because on the macateam’s website there are “raw maca” capsules, so is it okay to take raw maca or not? And which is preferable or does it just have to do with your level of stomach sensitivity? I want to try it, but I want to have all my facts straight before I start taking it so that I know which one to try. Please help! Thanks a bunch!