Maca is all the rage in the health and wellness circles. It has been touted as a mood enhancer that improves fertility in both men and women, and balances hormones in menopausal ladies.

It’s been used with both sexes to arouse sexual desire and boost the immune system.

Prior to its popularity amongst the health-minded folks, maca was traditionally eaten as a food in Peru and has been cultivated for the past 3000 years.

That means maca is a super food, not a supplement. But, many people are using it as a supplement and that can lead to problems like insomnia, headaches, mood swings and thyroid disorders, when taken in excess.

We also put raw maca into smoothies or drink it in cold water or juice. Maca was never eaten this way, at least not for the past 3000 years.

Maca is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family and contains high levels of glucosinolates (sulphur containing compounds). Treat Maca as you would any other brassicaceae/cruciferae veggie and cook it. It’s a turnip for goshsakes!

Here’s why you should cook it: “The hydrolysis of some glucosinolates found in cruciferous vegetables yield a compound known as goitrin, which has been found to interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. The hydrolysis of another class of glucosinolates, known as indole glucosinolates, results in the release of thiocyanate ions, which can compete with iodine for uptake by the thyroid gland.”[1] When you cook maca, it alters the glucosinolates, making it more beneficial and less troublesome.

In Peru, maca was traditionally cooked, boiled, baked, roasted or fermented. Not eaten raw.

This little powerhouse veggie is also rich in iodine that supports the thyroid and the endocrine system as a whole. This is one of the reasons why it helps support and balance hormones. “Every 10 g of Maca powder contains about .052 mg of iodine or about 35% of the RDA based on the .150 mg daily guideline. 10 g is 2 teaspoons.”[2]

When it comes to using this super food, follow the traditional ways of preparation to gain the most benefit from it. That means, cook it, eat it as a food or enjoy it as a warm drink, and let it work it’s magic on your hormones and your libido.

Here’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy Maca:  Maca Hot Cocoa!