For athletes to perform at their best, it’s essential they pay careful attention to their diet. That means eating healthy foods and supplements to keep them on top of their game. Enter maca – the athlete’s perfect superfood. Packed with nutrients, vitamins and adaptogenic properties, maca can boost endurance and keep you feeling energised – whatever your workout.
Maca: The lowdown
Maca is an ancient root vegetable belonging to the same cruciferous family as the cauliflower. Grown high up in the Peruvian mountains, it’s been used for thousands of years as both a nutritious food and health boosting medicine.
Now with clinically proven health benefits, maca is growing in popularity at an impressive rate. Shown to help boost memory, improve mood, lower stress levels and balance hormones, its range of benefits is incredible.
An impressive adaptogen
Many of maca’s health benefits are thanks to its adaptogenic properties. Like other popular adaptogens, including ginseng, ashwagandha and rhodiola, maca root can calm you down and boost your energy without overstimulating.
By supporting adrenal function, adaptogens counteract the adverse effects of stress, while helping the body’s cells to access more energy. This is part of the reason maca is so important for athletes – its adaptogenic properties help the body adjust to the stresses and strains of exercise.
What makes maca the athlete’s perfect superfood?
Maca is a great superfood supplement for anybody. However, it comes into its own when it comes to exercise. Here’s why.
If you find yourself reaching for a coffee whenever you feel sluggish, maca might be for you. Unlike many energy-enhancers, maca contains no caffeine, no processed sugar and no chemicals. Instead, the superfood boosts energy in a balanced and sustained way, meaning it never puts stress on your adrenal glands.
This effect is down to both its adaptogenic properties and impressive mix of protein, fibre, amino acids and fatty acids.
Maca is known for its ability to instantly boost energy but did you know it also promotes long-term stamina and endurance? In 2009, researchers studied the effect of maca on a group of athletes. Half of the group was supplemented with maca for two weeks, while the others were given a placebo. At the end of the period, the athletes were asked to complete a 40km cycling course.
The results showed that after the two week period, the maca group were able to perform considerably better than those taking the placebo.
It’s easy to add maca to your workout routine
What you eat before and after your workout is important; as an athlete you’re no doubt already clued up to this.
For optimum performance and recovery, it’s important to refuel with healthy, natural foods. That’s where maca comes in. Available as a powder, it’s super simple to add this superfood to your pre or post-workout smoothie. Plus, the powder’s subtle butterscotch flavour makes it a tasty addition too.
Maca is not alone in its ability to boost energy, stamina and concentration. Like maca, ashwagandha has been shown to boost athletic performance. For more on how this superfood can supercharge your exercise regime, check out our blog post on the amazing effects of ashwagandha.