What Are Maca Root and Ashwagandha Good For?Natural food fans, naturopaths and nutritional experts have long touted the benefits of consuming certain foods they consider essential for our physical well-being.Blueberries, walnuts and others are labelled “superfoods” because they’re packed with nutrients like antioxidants, which fight disease and ward off dementia. Doctors and scientists also recognize that what we consume determines to a large degree, how well our bodies and brains function.This is equally true of certain spices and herbs. Take garlic, for example. Experts agree it boosts immunity and can therefore help fight colds and flu.This post offers a roundup of information on two superfoods you may be a little less familiar with.Ashwagandha, which is also called Indian ginseng or winter cherry.And Maca, which is also called Peruvian ginseng.Read on to learn how these natural products can help balance your mood, increase fertility, heighten libido, and even reduce stress and calm your mind. Mother Nature never made her offerings so good and so beneficial!We explain what each one is, how to consume them, and all the advantages you get by making them a regular part of your diet.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that’s native to parts of Africa. It has been used in native medicinal practices for centuries. Although it is a little less well-known here than other organic wellness products, it deserves a big reputation and lots of applause for the benefits it brings.
The Benefits Of Ashwagandha
1- It May Increase Energy Levels
It can increase energy. You can consume Ashwagandha in a powder form, adding it to smoothies and shakes. Having one first thing in the morning means Ashwagandha will help give you plenty of energy to get through your busy day. Having a smoothie first thing in the day with a tablespoon of Ashwagandha powder is an excellent way to ensure you’ve got plenty of vigour to cope with a demanding schedule.
2- It May Help Reduce Stress
It promotes calmness. While it may seem counter-intuitive that Ashwagandha boosts energy and also fosters calm, it isn’t!Consider how physical exercise accomplishes both these outcomes. You feel peppier after you exercise but also steadier emotionally. Ashwagandha offers a similar benefit. It helps you feel more energetic but not edgy, not that “jagged nervousness” you get from too much caffeine.
3- It May Reduce Inflammation
Ashwagandha can help reduce inflammation in your joints. Anyone with even a touch of Arthritis knows how miserable it can be to have less function in your joints and limbs. Chewing a couple of gummies chock full of Ashwagandha can help ease those sore joints and even reduce visible signs of swelling. And it’s not just for those folks with chronic conditions like Arthritis. If you’re coping with a sports injury, for example, a swollen ankle from a sprain, Ashwagandha can help calm the temporary inflammation. Try making a cup of tea in the morning with crushed Ashwagandha. Its properties fight inflammation all day long.
4- It May Enhance Brain Function & Memory
Ashwagandha’s effects on the brain are still being studied, but so far, the news is promising. Early research demonstrates that Ashwagandha may help people retain memory, and that’s good news for anyone heading into their 60s, 70s and 80s. But it may also help prevent memory loss from developing. Again, the research is in its infancy, but Ashwagandha may help prevent the development of dementia in some people. Using it while in your 30s and 40s may, when combined with other factors like a healthy lifestyle, keep your brain firing on all cylinders for years to come!
5- It May Support The Immune System
The benefits of certain herbs on immune function are no secret – scientists have been studying them for decades. A strong immune system helps you fight off colds and flu germs, and Ashwagandha contributes to that. Whether you brew it as tea, put the powder in a smoothie or shake, or take it in capsule form, Ashwagandha helps your system stay strong and free of germs and viruses, even in the worst flu season. Because it’s an all-natural product, it won’t “fight” the other supplements you take, so consume it in the morning when making breakfast. Or take a capsule right along with your daily vitamin.
6- It May Help Improve Sleep
It promotes solid sleep by easing tension. We’ve all had those nights during which we toss, turn, and relive the day – problems at the office or issues with the kids or the in-laws. Ashwagandha promotes physical relaxation, and that, in turn, helps you sleep better. And when you’re well-rested, there is almost nothing you can’t tackle!In summary, Ashwagandha is an herb that deserves a prominent place on your shelf of organic, natural supplements. It improves overall physical and mental health – and it’s not a pharmaceutical. That’s an important factor when deciding what to put into your body to enhance wellness.For centuries, African people have embraced this Indian ginseng for its healing properties. It’s time it became better known among Western consumers and organic health proponents too.
What Is Maca?
Maca is also a type of ginseng, but it doesn’t come from a shrub-like Ashwagandha does. Maca is a cruciferous vegetable that is native to Peru. It grows at the foothills of the Peruvian Andes mountain range, and its benefits have long been known and lauded by the Indigenous people of Peru.You may be more familiar with cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, bok choy and arugula, but you should also know maca. This South American treasure offers plenty of nutritional punch, but in powder form, it also promotes your mental health, stabilizes your hormone levels, and more.
The Benefits Of Maca
1- It May Help Balance Your Hormones
It’s good for hormone production. Ingesting maca regularly promotes the production of hormones like estrogen, which women need for lots of reasons, including reproductive and cognitive health. Hormone levels taper off somewhat once we enter our 40s and 50s and sharply decline during menopause.Maca can help curb that decline naturally. For centuries, the maca root has been used by Peruvians to increase libido and aid in fertility.A study done in 2010 of people with depression-related low sexual desire levels took maca as an all-natural treatment. And while the sample size was small – just over 130 people – the results were promising. Participants reported feeling a measurable increase in sexual desire. More research is necessary, but maca root may prove to be a healthy alternative to prescription medications for low libido and sexual dysfunction. There are even some early indications that taking two grams of maca root in powder form increases sperm motility. However, scientists are quick to point out that much more research is needed into taking maca to promote male sperm concentration issues.
2- It May Help Relieve Menopause Symptoms
Studies are being conducted on maca as a healthy tool for relieving hot flashes and night sweats. There is anecdotal evidence that it does curb the severity of these symptoms, but more research is required.
3- It May Ease Mild Depression & Low Energy
A study done several years ago into whether maca root powder helped ease depression in some individuals yielded promising results. Participants said that within about six weeks, they experienced an uptick in both mood and energy levels. Whether maca provides a viable, sustainable alternative to prescription drugs for depression on a long-term basis is still unknown. But work is continuing, and as most adults can consume maca with no adverse effects, it may be a genuinely healthier choice for symptoms of mild depression and low energy levels.Research into maca continues as scientists explore all its other potential benefits. Some early studies suggest maca enhances your skin’s health and appearance. Another study showed that taking maca root regularly improves cognitive functioning in some people.
There is still much work still to be done on maca and on Ashwagandha, but today the outlook for both as organic answers to many health conditions is good. Natural treatments for common conditions, like mild depression, occasional insomnia and low sexual desire, deserve study. After all, if the opportunity exists to treat these conditions with products provided by Mother Nature, not those manufactured at pharmaceutical plants, isn’t that a wiser, healthier choice?These are both sold by most health food stores in powder form or capsules. Both can be added to smoothies and shakes, even homemade protein bars and puddings. Ashwagandha is sold in gummies, too.Although both maca and Ashwagandha are tolerated well by most adults, you should discuss them with your doctor if you are taking prescription meds. Even the most gentle substance can upset your tummy if taken with certain drugs.Once you get the green light from your healthcare provider, go exploring at your neighborhood organic grocery store. No doubt you’ll be delighted – and perhaps a little surprised — by the wide variety of positive outcomes both of these superfoods offer.
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