Is Red Maca Better Than Yellow Maca


is-red-maca-better-than-yellow.jpgMaca root is a native plant of Peru and Bolivia that has been used for centuries as a food and medicine.  Over the past 20 years it has gained increased popularity for its unique nutritional profile and wide-ranging health benefits.  Maca roots grow in a variety of colors that are commonly grouped into three major segments: “red,” “yellow” and “black.”   Although they all come from the same species of plant, each of these colors has been shown to have slightly different profiles and potential benefits.   In this article we’ll delve into the nuances of red and yellow maca in order to help you make an informed choice on which maca to choose.

Understanding Maca Colors: Red vs. Yellow

Before diving into the comparison, it’s important to first understand what sets red and yellow maca apart.  Both colors belong to the exact same plant species (lepidium meyenni) which is classified in the brassicaceae family along with mustards and cabbages.   Both red and yellow maca share a similar overall nutrient profile, each containing  similar amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds. However, their differing colors indicate distinct compositions and potential benefits.

Nutrient Composition

raw-red-maca-root-powder-lifestyle-2.jpgRed Maca: Red maca is characterized by its reddish hue.  This color is found mainly in the root’s skin and ranges from lighter pink to deep purple.  Red maca is known for containing a higher concentration of certain pigments, such as anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants that contribute to its color.  Red maca is also higher in other phytonutrients than either black or yellow maca.   Additionally, red maca has a slightly sweeter taste compared to other maca varieties.  Red maca makes up about 25% of the annual harvest of maca root.

Yellow Maca: Yellow maca, on the other hand, is the most common and widely available form of maca.  It makes up approximately 60% of every maca harvest year after year.  It is characterized by having a color ranging from very light beige to deep golden. This color is attributed to the presence of carotenoids, which are also antioxidants that contribute to the overall nutritional value of this variety.

Comparing Health Benefits

Hormonal Balance: One of the most significant reasons individuals turn to maca is for its potential to support hormonal balance. Both red and yellow maca have been associated with hormone regulation, particularly in relation to fertility and libido. Research suggests that red maca may have a slightly more pronounced effect on supporting fertility, while yellow maca could be somewhat more beneficial for overall hormonal balance.

Energy and Stamina: Maca is often touted for its ability to enhance energy levels and stamina. Yellow maca is commonly believed to be effective in this regard, supporting physical endurance and reducing fatigue. Red maca, on the other hand, is often thought to offer a more subtle energy boost along with potential mood-enhancing properties.

Bone Health: The potential benefits of maca extend to bone health as well. Studies have indicated that red maca (and black maca) might have a more favorable impact on bone density due to its higher anthocyanin content. These compounds may play a role in improving bone strength and preventing conditions like osteoporosis.

Cognitive Function: Antioxidants in maca have been linked to cognitive health. While both varieties contain antioxidant compounds, the specific anthocyanins found in red maca could potentially offer additional cognitive support. These antioxidants might help protect brain cells from oxidative stress, potentially enhancing memory and overall cognitive function.

Choosing the Right Maca for Youyellow-maca-root-powder-serving-suggestion.jpg

Selecting the ideal maca variety depends on your individual health goals and preferences. If you're aiming to address specific hormonal imbalances, it might be worth considering the unique benefits of each variety. Women seeking fertility support might lean toward red maca, while women looking to boost energy might find yellow maca slightly more beneficial.

More Important Than Just The Color

While color is an important aspect of selecting maca, it’s not nearly as important as the overall quality of the product.   To get the best results from adding maca to your life, it is vital to choose a product that is:

  • Certified organic – It’s relatively easy to grow maca without the use of fertilizers and pesticides.  Even so, there are companies out there that produce conventional maca.  Always choose organic whenever possible as this will give you the best overall results.
  • Traditionally grown – As important as organically grown is traditionally grown.  Farmers who grow maca traditionally know the importance of rotating the crop to new fields every two years.  Maca root strips the most valuable nutrients from the land on which it is grown after just one or two harvests.  That land must then be left fallow and rehabilitated over the course of at least 10 years to be productive again.   This is a major reason why co-operatives of farmers come together – to share land resources and profits.  
  • Fresh – Maca is harvested one time a year, between June and August.   The most potent products are typically from the most recent harvests.
  • Small harvest – This goes along with freshness.   Look for a source/brand that produces maca in small batches in order to ensure that it gets in customers’ hands as quickly as possible.
  • Grown in Peru – Peruvian grown maca is the best and Bolivian grown maca is the second best.   Maca truly only grows well in the high Andes.  Avoid any maca from anywhere else.  
  • Packaged properly – In order to protect freshness and enable longevity of the product, make sure your maca is packaged in a completely opaque, air sealed container.   


In the ongoing debate of whether red maca is better than yellow maca, the answer largely depends on your individual health needs. Both varieties offer a range of potential benefits, from hormonal support to enhanced energy and cognitive function. Incorporating maca into your diet can be a valuable addition to a healthy lifestyle, but it's crucial to understand that the effects may vary from person to person.  If you have any doubts or questions please let us know, as we’re always happy to help.    For any medical concerns regarding maca contact a competent and knowledgeable health care provider for further information.  

Enjoy the day!


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