Maca root comes in a variety of colors which offer no difference in nutritional value. This is why deciding which color to use can be confusing.
As you will learn in this article, it is important to note that choosing one specific color over another is based on traditional use and personal preference. This is why we offer five versions of maca.
After you read this short tutorial about the maca roots, you will know exactly what is best for you.
There are two main topics about maca that need to be discussed in order to make the best decision. Here they are:
- The colors
There is a common myth that says a.) the color of maca is what determines its nourishing qualities and b.) that certain colors have a stronger medicinal effect than others.
Both of these rumors are false.
The color of the maca is only skin deep and when they are properly dried, they all become the same color on the outside.
Another myth is that the color on the outside determines the color on the inside.
For example, red maca should be the color red all the way through and that the end product powder should be red as well.
When the maca roots are dried, they are all the same color.
As a matter of fact, if you were to cut a fresh maca root open you will see all the different colors are the same on the inside.
Maca is grown in big batches where all the colors grow together. In fact, the reason why individual colors may be more expensive is simply because it is more labor intensive to separate the colors out.
Myth: Different colors have different nourishing qualities
I can say with 100% certainty that after looking at many analysis of the different colors of maca that there is little-to-no difference between the colors nutritionally. When most people speak about this topic it is more about tradition then it is science.
II. The different forms of maca
We offer five varieties of maca. All of our maca preparations are certified organic. And all of our combo macas are a carefully prepared mix of the following percentages of different colors:
- 60% yellow and white
- 20% red
- 15% black and
- 5% multi colored.
Here is a description of the preparations:
Black - This is simply a low temp dried individually picked black maca root powder. Go here to review our Black maca root powder.
Red - Much like the black, red is simply a single color maca powder low temp dried. Go here to review our Red maca root powder.
Raw - This is a combo of colors that is also low temp dried. Go here to review our Raw maca root powder.
Premium - This is a truly raw maca because it goes through the least amount of processing. Go here to review our organic, raw Premium Maca Root Powder.
- It is dried for a very short period of time then milled into a powder. This process yields a very different end-result product. The taste, texture and consistency are all very different from the other preparations. This maca has a spicy, horseradish-like kick and a slightly more grainy texture.
- This is due both to the fact that the drying process was very short so the phytochemical consistency is slightly different. Premium does not mean it is the best or the best way to use it. It simply means it is a different preparation of maca. The Premium product is a combo of the different colors.
Gelatinized - This is by far my favorite and the most traditional way to prepare and use maca root. Go here to review our Gelatinized maca root powder.
- This preparation is done by cooking the maca roots and removing the fiber and cellulose.
- Again just like the premium, you have a very different end-product. Here you essentially have a maca extract and because the rough fibers and cellulose have been removed it is by far the easiest to digest. This maca preparation is a combo of the different colors and the end-result product is a golden brown color with a very pleasant nutty flavor. The color and taste are brought-out through the cooking process.
Contrary to silly rumors, cooking this root does not affect the true phytochemical value whatsoever. In South America, maca is used and prepared in many foods as it is one tough little root.
Recently, a customer wrote me a letter asking about the quality and effectiveness of our maca. The customer was concerned because he was not “feeling” the effects of the maca anymore. He was questioning whether our standards of quality were lower.
Below is my response, which I thought you would find very insightful as you discover maca root:
Dear valued ZNF Customer,
Thank you for you excellent question about Maca -- a widely used tuber and adaptogen.
Just as a friendly reminder, the purpose of an adaptogen is to help support the body's ability to have a healthy response to stress, which in turn, minimizes damage caused by stress.
Often times when people begin this type of herb they see a pretty good boost for the first few months -- and maybe even longer depending on the individual. Over time this effect will diminish because the body now has the ability to deal with stress in a more efficient way and it has found proper balance. People often feel like they are not getting the same effect from the herb because we are always looking for that "boost" or for something to give us an edge - similar to the feeling of drinking a cup of coffee.
This is not how adaptogens work.
In fact, this herb is doing its job by not giving you a boost. That’s because over time it has helped support your body's ability to adapt to outside stressors. The boost is only necessary at the beginning because the body is not working correctly and is in need of the extra support in order to find balance.
A mistake people may make is that they think they received a bad batch or a lower quality product. This is not the case. If the product was low quality, your body's ability to deal with stress would go back to the way it was before you began taking the herb.
I hope you take this into consideration when looking at the overall effect of Maca, or any adaptogens.
If I can be of any help, please let me know.
I hope this article about Maca is a helpful resource for you. And as always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below as I look forward to a continued conversation with you.
In great health,
About Michael Stuchiner
Michael Stuchiner is an experienced Master Herbalist, the Head of Education for Z Natural Foods, a teacher and an accomplished author. With a 16-year specialization in medicinal herbs, Mike also has a vast knowledge in tonic and adaptogenic herbalism. Mike has enjoyed a 25-year career as an elite-level competitive powerlifter where he learned to heal his ‘mind and body’ as an avid user of herbal remedies.
As an “in-the-trenches” herbalist, Mike has done more than 85 speaking engagements, consulted with clients ranging from young to elderly, worked with athletes in virtually all sports and with clients who have “dis-ease” states of a wide variety. Mike also mentors student Master Herbalists and will continue to teach the next generation to grow a deeper wisdom of the human body through appropriate herbal remedies.
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