Maca Root for Curves: Does It Actually Work?
Maca, a root native to the Andes Mountains, has been used in Peruvian cuisine for more than 1,000 years. Maca is typically sold in powder form, and its flavor — nutty, earthy, and slightly caramel-like — makes it a tasty addition to superfood smoothies, coffee, oatmeal, and more.
Maca root also gets a lot of hype for its health-boosting benefits — including the theory that maca root can boost your curves. But can you really use maca root for curves? (Short answer: Probably not.) Here’s the truth about this superfood.
Does Maca Root Work for Curves?
As of right now, there’s no solid evidence to support using maca root for curves.
“There’s lots of research studies looking at the benefits of maca, but enhancing curves isn’t one of them,” says Heather Mangieri, RDN, food, fitness and nutrition consultant, and author of Fueling Young Athletes.
So where did this theory come from? Because maca has been reported to possibly have estrogenic activity, some maca devotees have speculated that it can help balance hormones, giving you more feminine curves.
But there’s no concrete proof that maca will help sculpt curves. If building a booty is your goal, Mangieri suggests putting the work in at the squat rack and following a healthy, balanced eating plan. Of course, that healthy eating plan can can include a post-workout maca smoothie — just know that any gains you see are more likely the result of your hard work, not the maca.
6 Potential Benefits of Maca Root
There are so many supposed benefits of maca, it’s hard to figure out what’s real. Here are a few maca benefits with some science behind them.
1. It provides a variety of nutrients.
Maca contains various vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients — albeit in small amounts, Mangieri says. Though you’re not likely to snack on more than a tablespoon or two of maca at a time, it can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
2. It contains fiber.
Most of us don’t meet the recommended daily amount of fiber (38 grams per day for adult men and 25 grams for adult women). Maca powder has around 1 gram of fiber per teaspoon, or around 3 grams per tablespoon — and while that may not sound like a lot, a tablespoon or two in a smoothie can help you hit your daily fiber goal.
3. It may improve athletic performance.
While the jury’s still out on whether maca works for weight loss, it might support your fitness goals by increasing your energy. Although there aren’t a ton of human studies to back this up, research suggests maca may help to relieve physical fatigue and improve exercise endurance . And Mangieri notes that maca powder is also “a source of carbohydrates, so in that way, it provides energy to the body.”
5. It may help with hormone balance.
Some studies suggest that regularly ingesting maca may could potentially help balance hormones, especially in women. In one study, maca helped relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, disrupted sleep, and depression. Many of these studies are new, and some have only been conducted on rats, but the studies on maca are definitely exciting and the medical community is all over it!
6. It may support sexual health.
Maca has been touted in the Andean region as an aphrodisiac, fertility enhancer, and libido booster — though research supporting these claims is limited at best. (Some studies have shown mixed results, and there aren’t a lot of human studies out there.)
How to Enjoy Maca
True, maca root won’t magically give you curves (or perform any other miracles). But it’s still considered a superfood thanks to its vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Research suggests it’s safe to consume up to 3 grams of maca per day for four months — though research is limited beyond that. If you have a hormone sensitive medical condition, talk to your doctor before adding maca to your diet.
You can find maca in the natural foods aisle at your local grocery store, or order it online. (Look for organic, non-GMO maca powder that’s grown and processed in Peru.) One of the easiest ways to add maca to your day is to blend it into a smoothie or a creamy choco-maca latte. “It can also be added to cereals like oatmeal or granola or incorporated into desserts and baked goods,” Mangieri says.