In the natural health world the most promising superfood to emerge in recent years is Peruvian Maca. Maca comes from a tuber which is cultivated at very high elevation in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia. Normally taken as a powder or used in cooking, maca has been used by people indigenous for thousands of years to boost strength and energy in the oxygen deficient high altitude air.
Maca became popular outside of Peru and Bolivia in the late 1990s as travelers and then importers began bringing it into the United States and later Europe Gluteboost. The powerful healing properties of maca impressed thousands of people who began to use it regularly.
Maca is typically sold in powdered form. At its organic best, maca is produced with little machinery. Harvested roots are cleaned, cut, freeze dried then turned into a powder by large blending machines.
In the past few years maca sellers have touted a new form of maca as superior. It’s called “gelatinized” maca and they claim that it absorbs faster, is higher in nutrient content and contains less toxins and pathogenic bacteria.
But is gelatinized maca really better than high quality, minimally processed maca? To answer that question, let’s consider how gelatinized maca is produced.
After harvest, maca roots are brought down from the mountains to a factory where they are washed and disinfected with solvents. Then they are dried at a very high temperature pressure and heat, presumably to kill even more potential pathogens and to remove any toxins in the herb.
The people who sell gelatinized maca say that it has the same properties as the root as consumed by ancient dwellers of the Andes. This claim seems very hard to substantiate since such high pressure and heat are used to process the raw root. High heat destroys properties within whole foods such as enzymes, vitamins and mineral content.
The gelatinization process is said to do two things: remove starch to make maca easier to digest and to kill bacteria. This destructive process seems totally unnecessary if you are buying high quality maca.