Jan 21, 2014

Strawberry Maca Smoothie

Have you ever tried maca powder? It’s a superfood. A genius food. A nutrient-dense wonder! I just started using it in my smoothies and some other recipes this week and I already feel a subtle change in my energy and endurance levels.

What’s so special about maca and what is it exactly? Maca is often referred to as the “Ancient Superfood of the Incas” since it is grown in the Andes mountains and dates back to about 3800 B.C. Peruvian Indians cultivated and ate it for its nutritional and medicinal value. It’s a cruciferous root vegetable with many powerful health promoting properties.

Maca comes in many different sizes, shapes AND colors… darker colored maca roots (red, purple, black) contain significant amounts of natural iodine. Black maca is considered the strongest in energy and stamina-promoting properties, being both sweet and slightly bitter in taste[1]. Red maca is becoming popular with many people, and has been clinically shown to reduce prostate size in rats[2][3].

I recently purchased the more common white/cream colored maca and it’s delicious! To me it tastes a little like a powdered vanilla ice cream by itself. But in a smoothie or in other dishes, the taste is indistinguishable.

Maca contains high amounts of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and all of the essential amino acids. Also, being rich in B-vitamins, it’s a great source of B-12 for vegans! It has high levels of bioavailable calcium and magnesium which helps in the remineralization of bone[4,5].

One of the most popular attributes of maca root is its ability to balance hormones, increase fertility and enhance sexual function[6-10]. Instead of providing hormones to the body, maca works as an adaptogen which means that it responds to different bodies’ needs differently. If you’re producing too much of a particular hormone, maca can help regulate the production downward. If you’re producing too little, it can regulate the production upward. Hormones regulate many of our bodies’ systems and are an important factor in mood, growth, sexual development, and tissue function.

On to today’s recipe. This strawberry smoothie is creamy and luxurious while being loaded with plant-strong nutrients and protein. I love smoothies and this one is so yummy you can serve it to your children and they’ll think they are drinking a strawberry milkshake. Go for it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 TBS hemp seeds
  • 1 TBS raw maca powder*

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until super smooth.
  • Top with a little extra hemp seeds and/or fresh strawberries if you like.

* If you’re new to maca consumption, be sure to start out with only a teaspoon per day and build up from there to one tablespoon per day. Do not consume maca if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who take estrogen to ease menopausal symptoms should talk to their doctors about using maca. 

Makes enough for two 12oz. smoothies. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

References:

  1. “Maca (lepidium peruvianum): Botanical Characteristics”. Free Online Botanical Encyclopedia. Skyfield Tropical.
  2. Clément, Céline; Diaz Grados; Diego A.; Bharathi A.; Khan I. A.; Mayer A. C.; Ponce A.; Dante D.; Manrique I.; Kreuzer M. (2010). “Influence of colour type and previous cultivation on secondary metabolites in hypocotyls and leaves of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walpers)”. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 90 (5): 861–869.
  3. Gonzales GF, Miranda S, Nieto J, et al. (2005). “Red maca (Lepidium meyenii) reduced prostate size in rats”. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 3 (1): 5. doi:10.1186/1477-7827-3-5. PMC 548136. PMID 15661081.
  4. Gonzales, C., et al. “Effects of different varieties of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on bone structure in ovariectomized rats.” Forsch Komplementmed. 2010;17(3):137-43. 
  5. Zhang, Y., et al. “Effect of ethanol extract of Lepidium meyenii Walp. on osteoporosis in ovariectomized rat.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Apr; 105(1-2): 274-9.
  6. Clement, C., et al. “Effect of maca supplementation on bovine sperm quantity and quality followed over two spermatogenic cycles.” Theriogenology. 2010 Jul 15;74(2):173-83. 
  7. Gasco, M., et al. “Effect of chronic treatment with three varieties of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on reproductive parameters and DNA quantification in adult male rats.” Andrologia. 2007 Aug;39(4):151-8. 
  8. Yucra, S., et al. “Effect of different fractions from hydroalcoholic extract of Black Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on testicular function in adult male rats.” Fertil Steril. 2008 May;89(5 Suppl):1461-7. 
  9. Gasco, M., et al. “Dose-response effect of Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on benign prostatic hyperplasia induced by testosterone enanthate.” Phytomedicine. 2007 Aug;14(7-8):460-4 
  10. Cicero, A. F., et al. “Hexanic maca extract improves rat sexual performance more effectively than methanolic and chloroformic maca extracts.” Andrologia. 2002; 34(3): 177–79. 

10 responses to “Strawberry Maca Smoothie”

  1. Sounds like a real super food. Does it change the texture of the smoothie, like a chia seed, or the flavor? I have a client that would probably benefit from adding this to her diet. Thanks for including your references!

  2. Helyn says:

    You're welcome Beth! No, it doesn't change the texture at all.

  3. Helyn says:

    P.S. Just stopped by your blog. Very nice! Love the title too 🙂

  4. I recently bought the same brand at Whole Foods to use in smoothies! So healthy you can feel good about eating it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    just got Maca powder for my bday present … now I know what to do with it … thank you

  6. Helyn says:

    You're welcome. Enjoy!

  7. Why do people reply with information that is not helpful to others? This smoothie was very good! Would recommend trying it. Thanks for the interesting facts on Maca too!

  8. Helyn says:

    Hi there. Are you referring to some of the comments left on the Facebook posting of this smoothie by Finding Vegan? Well, all I can say is that people have VERY strong opinions when it comes to food and many folks don't do their own research when it comes to nutrition but instead parrot what they've heard or read online. Maca is a powerful substance and as such must be used sparingly. Thanks for the feedback! glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  9. Kath Boswell says:

    Just made this exactly as written, except used about 1 cup raspberries. Yum yum. Really enjoyed. Excellent

  10. Helyn says:

    Great, Kath! Glad you enjoyed! 🙂

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