Maca for Stress and Anxiety
Life today can certainly be stressful. A recent Gallup poll (2017) found that 79% of people feel some amount of stress daily. Of those who replied, 44% reported experiencing stress frequently and only 4% reported never having stress. Worries over job pressures, money, health and relationships are the top stressors according to the American Psychological Association.
The consequences of stress read like a laundry list of negative conditions:
- Muscle tension
- Teeth grinding
- Lower sex drive
- Lack of energy
- Lowered immune system
No doubt these are all things we want to avoid. The great news is that we certainly can learn to overcome most if not all of them by learning how to release stress.
The American Institute of Stress offers a long list of effective ways to manage stress. These include spending time in nature, meditating, exercising, practicing yoga, gardening, sewing, deep breathing and proper nutrition.
It is this last tool, proper nutrition, that we want to look more deeply at in this article. One of the lesser known causes of stress is lack of proper nutrition. A poor diet with too many processed food, sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages can lead to an increase in the free radicals in our bodies, which can damage cells, weaken our immune systems and create a condition of oxidative stress in our bodies.
Luckily, the body is resilient and can overcome this type of condition when we change our nutrition. That’s where maca comes in. As a nutrient dense superfood that also supports optimal hormone health, maca is a natural way to increase feelings of well-being and lower factors of stress.
How does maca help to lower stress?
A broad spectrum of nutrients
Maca is considered a “superfood.” One of the main reasons for that is that it packs a powerful nutrient punch. Maca is rich in amino acids, containing over 90% of both essential amino acids and free fatty acids. It also has significant amounts of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Maca, especially Red Maca, is also a good source of antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress within the body. All of these nutrients can support the body to function well, thereby reducing stress and anxiety.
But beyond these common nutrients, maca also contains two unique types of nutrients called macaenes and macamides. These are thought to be responsible for maca’s ability to help the body balance its hormones. Since hormone health is key to a relaxed and peaceful attitude, it follows that these nutrients may be tied to reports of lowered stress levels from people using maca.
Maca as an adaptogen
Maca is one of a few types of foods that is considered to be an adaptogen. Adaptogens are thought to raise the overall life force energy of those who consume them. (Ginseng is another well known example).
This makes good sense, especially when you consider where and how maca grows. The maca plant and its wonderful, life affirming root grows in some of the most inhospitable conditions in the world. It does best in the rocky soils of the high Andes (above 14,000 feet). Here, maca is exposed to all sorts of environmental stressors including high winds, intense sunlight, extreme swings in temperature and revolving periods of drought and heavy rains. Through all of this, maca has adapted to not only survive but to thrive in conditions unfit for almost all other crops.
When we eat maca, perhaps the root shares some of its ability to diffuse stressful situations thereby helping us to adapt better to our conditions.
Interestingly, one of the big indicators of stress is a lowered energy level, even fatigue. We just feel wiped out—and that makes it harder for us to do the healthy things we need to deal with stress, like exercise (even take a little walk!), make a healthy meal, or dig in your garden.
Maca, once again, to the rescue! One reason it’s so great to utilize maca for stress is not only its adaptogenic and antioxidant properties, but also its natural ability to increase your energy levels. Unlike coffee or other stimulants, maca is not a quick boost of energy followed by a crash. Instead, maca provides sustained energy. Taken regularly, maca can reduce that sluggish feeling and keep you going so you can get off that couch and on to healthy stress management tools like exercise and healthy food.
Here are some comments we’ve received over the years about how maca has helped people cope with anxiety and stress.
"I have suffered from anxiety for the past two years, recently went back to school and the stress and anxiety became drastically worse. I was ready to get on prescription medicine but decided to go the natural way. Within a couple of days of taking two teaspoonfuls a day, I felt so much better and the anxious feelings and knots in my stomach have disappeared. I feel more relaxed, clear headed and with improved energy. I have been using this dose for three weeks and might switch to three teaspoons and hope to get other benefits of this product. I would recommend this to anyone suffering with anxiety and constant stress before taking any prescription drugs." DD
"I have been using this product for almost 3 months and have seen a huge help with anxiety and depression. I am so glad to have found a natural product to help with these issues. When the doctor only wants to give a prescription it is great to find something to get to the real problem and that it is helped with something natural! Thanks for the high standards of this product." – Karen
"I have to say I feel much better: more happy and emotionally stable. I think it really helps me fight anxiety too. I am absolutely satisfied and i have yet more to discover:) By the way, I simply whisk it into my water in the morning. It has a very pleasant nutty flavor. Very very satisfied. Thank you!" - S.P.
'I fight anxiety daily and I also work out in the gym. I choose the raw premium maca for those reasons, I really do feel calm and relaxed, more able to talk to people—and I lift stronger too! Thank you for your service!" – EH
"Out of several maca products I have tried, this one provides the most noticeable boost to energy, focus, sexual performance and muscle building. My anxiety is also noticeably reduced." - Peter
As we now know, stress isn’t just an anxious feeling in your mind. It also causes fatigue, as well as oxidative stress in your cells throughout your body—which can result in all kinds of health problems. Maca, with its ability to provide high levels of nutrition, its adaptogenic properties, and its ability to increase energy, helps you reduce those feelings of anxiety and stress.
For a complete mind and body stress support, turn to the benefits of maca to help you through your day—no matter what that day brings.
Enjoy the day!