This might sound like something straight out of an Indiana Jones movie, but high up in the Andes mountains of South America grows a root crop that might just give your early morning cup of joe a run for its money: the maca plant.
Also known as “Peruvian ginseng,” the maca plant, or Lepidium meyenii,is a cruciferous vegetable whose taproot was once extensively used by the Incas and other Andean peoples as a food source and as a component of traditional medicines and potions.
According to historians, the Incas — who were among the first to cultivate the plant 2,000 years ago — held maca in such high regard because they believed it could supply whoever ate its roots with the strength, endurance and vitality needed to survive the harsh Andean wilderness.
And as it turns out, maca does possess all of these properties, and they’re all thanks to its impressive nutrient stores, as previously noted. Here Rose Lidell, Food.news, reflects on to grow maca, the Peruvian “miracle” vegetable:
“Maca is a Peruvian superfood that’s well-known for boosting libido and fertility. But the maca plant also offers other benefits, such as enhancing your mood and improving your energy levels.
Maca is a must-have in your kitchen, and you can grow it in your home garden if you want an infinite supply of maca root.
What is maca?
Maca (Lepidium meyenii), sometimes called the “Peruvian ginseng,” is a superfood that’s more than just a natural aphrodisiac. Maca is a staple food in Peru. It is a root vegetable similar to turnips, but it is also usually ground into a powder.
There are black, red and yellow varieties of maca. You can buy a combination of the three types. Maca root powder is also sold in single-color varieties.
Maca thrives in very high altitudes not suited to other types of plants. Fortunately, you can grow maca in your home garden with plenty of water and enough space to allow it to grow on its own.
After drying maca roots, you can harvest the seeds and plant them yourself so you can have your own supply. Maca is a hardy plant: It can survive in bad soil, dry conditions, flooding and very cold temperatures.
Maca’s nutrition profile
Maca contains amino acids, carbohydrates, fiber, free fatty acids, plant protein, sugars, minerals and other important nutrients that can boost your well-being.
A one-ounce (28-gram) serving contains the following nutrients:
- 91 Calories
- Carbs (20 grams)
- Protein (4 grams)
- Fiber (2 grams)
- Fat (1 gram)
- Vitamin C (133 percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI))
- Copper (85 percent of the RDI)
- Iron (23 percent of the RDI)
- Potassium (16 percent of the RDI)
- Vitamin B6 (15 percent of the RDI)
- Manganese (10 percent of the RDI)
Maca root is low in fat but can provide dietary fiber. It is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, copper and iron.
Maca root is an excellent source of many beneficial plant compounds, such as glucosinolates and polyphenols. Note that maca is a food, not a supplement. You can purchase maca in bulk, as a powder or in capsules.
The taste of maca products may vary depending on brand and form. Some will have a mild taste, but others may taste a little like dirt.
You can also buy maca in a gelatinized form that’s easier to consume, especially if you have a sensitive stomach or existing digestive issues. To make gelatinized maca, the harvested maca root is heated above 160 F to dissolve the starch molecules and make digestion easier. However, in this form, maca’s enzymes and glucosinolates are dissolved while its remaining nutrients become concentrated.
Gelatinized maca is a “4:1 product.” This means that four kilograms of raw maca is needed to produce one kilogram of powdered gelatinized maca. While raw maca is considered best, gelatinized maca is a great alternative for people who may experience side effects from the former.
If you aren’t used to taking maca, start with a low dose to find out how your body reacts to it. Gradually increase the dosage to get your body used to taking maca.
The optimal dose for maca when used medicinally has yet to be established, but the dosage of maca root powder used in studies often ranges from 1.5 to five grams per day.”
Read More … Article Source: https://www.food.news/2021-08-26-home-gardening-tips-how-to-grow-maca.html
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