What Is The Best Value In Maca
Maca root is a nutritionally dense superfood that offers a broad range of benefits. Although it has been used for 1000s of years by people native to the high Andes mountains where it grows, maca has only become popular outside of that region over the past few decades. Once hard to obtain, maca root is now found in health food stores in many parts of the world. With a variety of offerings and product types it can be overwhelming to know if the maca you are choosing is high quality and at the same time a good value. In this article, we’ll give you the information you need to make the best choice for yourself as you get started taking this powerful superfood.
The 3 Major Maca Colors
The first thing to understand about maca roots is that although they all belong to one species (lepidium meyenii), they grow in a range of colors. Maca roots range from light beige to deep purple to dark gray with many variations in between. In fact, farmers in Peru have identified up to 38 different ecotypes of maca roots.
For practical purposes maca roots are divided into three color ranges:
- Yellow maca roots – make up about 60% of the harvest and their skin ranges from light beige to deep golden.
- Red maca roots – make up about 25% of the harvest and their skin ranges from light pink to deep purple.
- Black maca roots – make up about 15% of the harvest and their skin ranges from light gray to deep gray in color.
Traditionally, these roots were all lumped together at harvest time, dried and then stored for consumption. But in the late 1990s, researchers began investigating nutritional and functional differences between the three major maca colors and found that indeed they are somewhat different. Since that time, some maca roots have been separated and sold by color, in order to maximize benefits.
We’ve written at length on the differences of each of these colors in other articles, but can provide a summary here:
Yellow maca is the most common and most studied of all the colors. It is a little less expensive than the other colors and a good place to start for overall hormone balance
Red maca is the highest in phytonutrient content and has been seen to be helpful for prostate health as well as hormonal balance particularly in females.
Black maca has been associated with muscle building, endurance and energy. It is a popular choice among athletes and particularly active people.
The Various Forms Of Maca
Maca products can be made from any of the colors of maca roots or from a blend of all thee and come in a variety of forms that offer more or less value per dollar spent.
- Maca capsules are the most expensive of all maca products, gram for gram. That’s because of the cost of the capsule itself combined with the extra labor and equipment required to encapsulate the maca powder. Some companies also put other ingredients into their maca capsules which can further increase cost. At The Maca Team we make our capusles in house in order to avoid adding anything but pure maca powder to our capsules. Even though they are more expensive, maca capsules do offer greater convenience in measuring serving size and also hide the taste of maca.
- Maca extracts come in second in terms of value. These also require special processing and equipment along with vegetable glycerin in order to extract the vital nutrients from maca roots. The advantage with extracts is that they are extremely easy to take, are easy to travel with and have a pleasant sweetish taste.
- Maca chips are the closest to whole maca roots available outside of Peru. They are simply maca roots that have been cut into chunks. They are harder to take as they require some preparation to soften or blending in a powerful blender, but they are great for the food purist wanting to get as close to the source as possible.
- Maca powders overall represent the best value. In processing, maca roots are ground into a very fine powder about as fine as flour. Maca powders mix well in smoothies or other recipes. and are the most common way for people to get maca into their lives.
Important Factors To Consider
In our experience, even more important than the color of the roots or the type of maca product you purchase is the source, freshness and quality of the maca you take. Over the years we’ve seen that maca varies in quality and efficacy by a large margin. At The Maca Team we’ve made our whole business around ensuring that we get the freshest and most effective maca into our customers’ hands. We’ve been doing it now for 2 decades and have a good handle on the important factors. Here is what to watch out for when purchasing maca:
- Insist on organic maca products. Maca can easily be grown organically as it has strong defenses against pests. Some farmers do use chemical fertilizers, though. So make sure to find a certified organic product.
- Peruvian maca is simply the best. While maca can grow in other parts of the world, it is adapted best to the high Andes. We've seen some very inferior maca products that were produced in China. We suggest that everyone avoid those.
- Even though maca can be kept for up to 3 years after harvest, we recommend getting the freshest possible. Our products come to us in small batches to ensure that we are offering our customers fresh first. Also make sure that maca is packaged and stored out of light and fully sealed.
- Non-GMO - This is easy since Peru has banned all GMO (genetically modified organisms) from all of its agriculture.
The Overall Best Value In Maca
Finally, here’s our recommendation for the best value in maca root products. Overall, you’ve seen that maca powders represent an excellent value in general, especially when purchasing them in bulk. Of the powders, our absolute best value is raw tri-color maca powder and gelatinized tri-color maca powder. It is a blend of all three maca colors and costs less because less labor is needed to separate the colors of roots at harvest. Tri-color maca gives you the advantage of getting benefits of red, black and yellow maca roots in one package. Raw tri-color maca is great if you generally have strong digestion. If not, go for gelatinized tri-color maca powder as it is pre-cooked and its starch content has been removed to ease digestion. Finally, for the best of the best value, we recommend our 1kg bulk size which gives 1 person about three months’ worth of servings.
We hope this article helps you answer the question about which maca is the best value. We are truly passionate about maca and happy to answer any other questions you may have. Just let us know.
Enjoy the day!