Which Maca Is Best For Kids
Maca root, a cruciferous vegetable native to the high Andes, has been used for 1000s of years as a food staple and natural medicine in Peru and Bolivia. Over the past 30 years it has become increasingly popular outside of Latin America as a nutritionally potent superfood that has a wide range of health benefits. Maca’s benefits are so broad because it supports healthy hormone levels. Since hormones affect many different aspects of wellness, ranging from skin health, to bone health, to muscle tone, to stress levels, to increased energy and more, maca is truly a “super” food.
The benefits of maca also apply to children. But which maca should kids take? And how much can they take? In this article we’ll have a deeper look at how maca affects kids, which maca products are the best to start with and how to successfully introduce maca to kids.
Is Maca Safe For Children?
People native to the Andes consume up to 100g of fresh maca root daily. They also share baked, boiled or blended maca with their children, albeit in smaller serving sizes. Children have been safely eating maca root for centuries in Peru and Bolivia.
The long history of maca as well as recent research and experience show that maca is generally safe for kids to eat in moderation (we’ll get into serving suggestions below). As a food, rather than a supplement or drug, maca has no known contraindications. That said, if your child has an underlying health issue or if you have any other concerns about adding maca root to his/her diet, please consult with a competent and knowledgeable health care professional.
The Main Benefits Of Maca For Kids
As mentioned above, maca root in general has an array of benefits. These are some of the maca benefits that are most relevant to children:
- Focus and concentration - As an adaptogenic food which raises overall lifeforce energy, maca supports increased memory, focus and concentration. This is important especially for school-age children as they are asked to preform increasingly challenging tasks and solve more and more complicated problems.
- Mood uplifting – Maca works well to elevate mood and helps people overcome feelings of lethargy and depression. Research has shown maca to have significant anti-depressant activity as well as to increase dopamine levels.
- Strong bones – Maca is excellent for helping to maintain strong bones. Maca for bone health has been confirmed by research and now some doctors even recommend taking maca as a long-term strategy for maintaining bone density.
- Healthy muscles – Maca root is anabolic and helps to build muscle. This is a fact that natural body builders have long known. It is a source of quality plant-based protein and contains nearly all essential amino acids and free fatty acids.
- Skin health – Due to its hormone balancing effects maca supports healthy skin and hair growth. For children and teens who are working to clear their skin, maca can be very beneficial. Using maca root for acne is an excellent natural way to support unblemished skin.
- Energy for sports – One of the original benefits of maca researched was the way maca boosts energy. Athletes and people with particularly physical jobs rave about the effects of maca for this purpose. Since maca root contains no caffeine, it does not stress the adrenal glands. Instead, it provides people with a sustained level of energy. This is excellent for active kids and kids who love sports.
- Immune support – Due to maca’s rich nutrient profile, it is considered to help support a strong immune system.
Which Maca Root Should Kids Avoid?
While children can take any type of maca, there are a few in our line-up of products that we recommend avoiding.
Maca capsules are harder to swallow for small bodies, especially for children under 12 years old. For that reason, we recommend that children avoid taking them.
Our premium maca powders are spicier and more pungent in flavor than our standard maca products. While some people appreciate the taste, children typically do not. We recommend trying a standard maca powder for children instead.
Raw maca powders are fine for most people, but do contain starch which can cause temporary indigestion and gas in about 5-10% of people. Because gelatinized maca powders are similar in nutrient density and have had the starch content removed, we recommend that children start with those over raw maca powder.
What Is The Best Way for Kids to Eat Maca
Maca powder is easy to mix into smoothies or other recipes. The flavor especially complements banana and chocolate in our opinion. We recommend giving maca to children in a form that tastes good to them. That way they are likely to eat it with no complaints. Since kids have different likes and dislikes you might need to do some experimenting to find the best way to add maca powder to a food your child likes already. Some simple maca recipe favorites for kids include:
- Maca Peanut Butter Smoothie
- Maca Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- Maca Energy Bars
- Maca Pancakes
- Maca Pumpkin Pie
Other very simple ways to get children to eat maca include:
- Add a serving of maca to chocolate milk and mix very well
- Add maca to oatmeal or cream of wheat
- Add maca to hot chocolate mix
Maca Serving Sizes for Kids
- For kids under 12 we recommend ½- 1 tsp (1.5-3 grams) of maca powder per day.
- Kids over 12 can have 1 – 2 tsp (3-6 grams) of maca powder per day.
Note that consistency is key to getting optimal results. We’ve seen the best results with maca when taking it regularly. At the same time, recommend that kids take 1 day off of maca per week or 4-5 days off in a row each month. This gives the body a break from maca.
What Is The Best Type of Maca for Children
While maca root powder comes in red, black, yellow and tri-color forms, we’ve seen that gelatinized yellow maca powder is the best for kids. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, gelatinized maca is easier to digest since its starch content has been removed. Second, gelatinized yellow maca has a milder taste than some other maca powders. It’s almost a toasted caramel-like taste. Some people find it to be a pleasant taste on its own.
Another excellent way to introduce maca to children is to use our yellow maca extract. The extract is vegetable glycerine based. It contains no alcohol and is suitable for diabetics. It has a sweet taste that kids and adults enjoy. It’s easy to take. Kids should simply place about 1/8 tsp underneath the tongue for 30 seconds or so and swallow. This allows maca’s nutrients to enter the blood stream faster than when eating it.
Maca root is certainly a nutrient-rich superfood that can provide numerous health benefits for children as it can for their parents. Gelatinized yellow maca is the best choice for kids due to its mild flavor and rich nutrient profile. Alternatively, yellow maca extract is excellent for children as well.
We hope that this article helps you answer the question of which maca is best for kids. If you need any further help or have any more questions, please let us know.
Enjoy the day!