Once upon a time, when grocery stores were stocked with ingredients we could actually pronounce, there were just two types of foods – good food and bad food.
Now, thanks to the food industry’s zealous mission to name, collect, and commercialise speciality substances (aka ‘superfoods‘) from the remotest corners of the world, we’re bombarded by a flock of unfamiliar, foreign-sounding names every time we venture into the grocery store.
Not only are they the trendiest (and most expensive) new way of eating, they also seem to pop up in some…bizarre ways.
Think of how many times you walk by a grocery aisle and see the dreaded ‘S’ word tacked on to a different product at every visit. Superfood chocolate? Yup, that’s a thing. Superfood energy balls? Right there. Superfood chips? Coming right up! How about some superfood marmalade to go with that? Ehhhh, maybe not that.
While you might be able to tell your quinoa from your couscous and your kale from your spinach, do you know your maca, lucuma, moringa, or spirulina?
Don’t worry, this isn’t a pop quiz, but if it were, we’re sure it wouldn’t bode too well for your grocery shopping abilities (or ours, for that matter).
To help us out of our newest, buzz-worthy bind, we asked nutritionist Mweia Elias to talk us through some of her more noteworthy finds in the superfood aisle, including one that promises better memory, energy, and…a sex drive?
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Peru’s Miracle Superfood
A member of the cruciferous family (think broccoli and cauliflower), maca is a root vegetable that grows in the mountains of South America, mainly in the high altitude regions of Peru. Consumed for years in the Andes, maca is widely known for its ability to increase fertility in both men and women, regulate hormone balance, boost the immune system, and increase energy, stamina, memory, and focus.
Unlike its more commonly known family members that we cook, maca is sold and consumed as a powder. It has a mild, slightly nutty taste, similar to the undertones of cinnamon and nutmeg. So the next time you’re looking for a little pep in your step, try adding a tablespoon of maca to your morning smoothie, oats, or cereal.
Among its more interesting benefits is its ability to renew flailing libidos in both men and women. And unlike other unsightly aphrodisiacs (we’re looking at you boiled duck eggs and cobra blood), maca seems to actually work. In a 2002 study, men who were given daily maca supplements reported heightened sexual desire.…though it did take around 8 weeks for their needs to kick up!
In women, maca is proven to help ease menopausal symptoms like anxiety and depression, and improve sexual function and desire. As an ‘adaptogen,‘ i.e. a substance that stabilises the body’s processes, it also helps correct and maintain healthy hormone levels.
So if you’re looking for a little pep in your step or some help in the *bedroom* department, you might want to try adding a tablespoon of maca to your morning smoothie, oats, or cereal. You can thank us later!
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