It’s officially spring! The warmer weather today inspired me to make a bright, bold smoothie bowl. I’ve been meaning to try maca root powder for some time now. I like to read about so called “superfoods” and look for evidence based studies in scientific journals before trying them out. I’ve read that maca root, which is grown in the Andes mountains in Peru, was consumed by the Incas because it was thought to balance hormones, increase energy, and also help with fertility and libido. Maca has also been touted as a phyto-adaptogen. Phyto-adaptogens are plant based substances that are thought to help the body respond to stress. One evidence based human study suggests that maca may improve libido in women treated with antidepressants. This study attempts to follow more rigorous scientific study methods such as double blinding but is very limited by the small number of patients enrolled and lack of objective measures. Human studies in men have not clearly demonstrated an improvement in fertility. Most human studies of maca root do not meet rigorous scientific standards because of the very small number of patients studied. Maca is being studied further regarding its effects on fertility and libido in men and women. Maca is not particularly high in protein, fiber, or vitamins (according to the nutrition information on the package). It does have a pleasant, sweet, nutty fragrance and taste and is great in smoothies and smoothie bowls. You can try out maca powder using my smoothie bowl recipe or you can also try about 1-3 tsp in your favorite smoothie, tea, or yogurt. I found vegan, gluten free, non-gmo maca powder at Whole Foods Market for about $16 but you can also find it online.
Blackberry Maca Smoothie Bowl
- 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
- 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
- 2 sliced, frozen bananas
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop vanilla vegan protein powder
- 1 tsp maca powder
- toppings such as fresh fruit, raw coconut, cacao nibs, chia seeds (optional)
Place all ingredients in a high powered blender (such as Vitamix) and blend on low speed until smooth. Scrape down sides of the blender as needed. Top with your favorite toppings and serve immediately.
- Approximate Calories per Smoothie Bowl: 365 cal
- Dording et al. A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Maca Root as Treatment for Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction in Women; Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2015, Article ID 949036, 9 pages
Shin et al. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review; BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010, 10:44