Maca Drink from Peru: A Guide to The Incas Superfood (With Recipe)

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We first heard about Maca drink when we arrived in Peru and were staying with a local family. 

Over breakfast one morning, our host Doris mentioned Maca. She explained that many Peruvians add Maca powder to hot drinks for breakfast. 

As we are on a quest to discover the local specialties, our ears immediately perked up. 

Doris pulled a brownish powder out of her cupboard and introduced us to this Peruvian superfood.

In this guide to Peruvian Maca, we describe this Inca superfood and our experience using it. You will also find a simple Maca drink recipe.

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What is Maca?

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Andean superfood and power plant of the Incas

Maca is a plant that grows in central Peru in the high plateaus of the Andes mountains. It has been cultivated as a root vegetable in Peru for over 2600 years

The Maca root thrives in rocky soils, and grows at altitudes of 11,000 feet (3500m), making Maca the highest altitude crop in the world.

The Maca plant belongs to the brassica family, a close relative of turnip, rapeseed, and mustard, and its root is used to make medicine.

Maca is said to have played a central part in the Incan diet. As the Incans were building Machu Picchu, they relied on Maca for moving the heavy blocks to construct Machu Picchu. 

The legendary strength of the Inca warriors has also been attributed to eating copious amounts of Maca before going into battle.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you are curious about Maca and would like to add Peruvian Maca to your diet, we recommend getting it from The Maca Team. The Maca Team focuses only on Maca from Peru, ethically sourced from the Peruvian Andes, and it is fair-trade, organic, and non-GMO. Find out more about Maca from Peru from The Maca Team.

Maca vs. Peruvian Maca

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Original Peruvian maca has many health benefits

The Maca plant has long been prized for its medicinal and nutritional properties. It is a nutritional powerhouse with anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial for hormone, thyroid, and immune improvements.

Since the 1990s, interest in Maca has been growing around the world. And, the exportation of Maca from Peru has also exploded.

With the high demand for Maca worldwide, there has been a counterfeit market with artificial Maca powder or a mixture of powder from several tubers.

To know what is the best form of Maca, you want to look at the origin and ensure that it is Peruvian Maca.

Peruvian Maca is native to the Andes Mountains and is a national heritage food of Peru.

Know where your Maca comes from and ensure that it is Maca from Peru.

The Amazing Benefits of Maca

Maca at the market
The different types of Maca sold in Peru

As we tried to understand what makes Maca special, we run up against some conflicting information. There is what the local Peruvians told us and what you find online.

Visiting the markets in Peru and talking to locals, we quickly discovered that there are 3 types of Peruvian Maca. 

There’s a Black Maca for men, a Yellow Maca for women and a Red Maca which is more expensive and difficult to find. 

Maca is high in nutrients, has a large number of essential amino acids, fatty acids, Vitamin C, copper, iron, calcium, and other minerals.

According to research, Maca is said to improve sexual function, boost energy and aid with anxiety, depression, and memory loss. 

It is also said to balance hormones in women and improve the symptoms of menopause. And, in men, there are signs of improvement of male fertility, but the research is limited.

Some research also points to this superfood as having aphrodisiac qualities earning it the nickname “Peruvian Viagra.”

Maca for Women

Claire drinking Maca Maca From Peru by Authentic Food Quest
Maca boosts energy levels and balances hormones

In our conversations with women of different ages in Cusco and Lima, Peru, they all talked about the benefits they experienced from using Maca.

Feeling more energetic and assisting with hormonal imbalances (menstrual irregularities and menopause) were two of the most common benefits we heard. 

And others added the benefits of having clearer skin, stopping hair loss, and fighting osteoporosis.

Further internet research also points to the regular consumption of Maca to help with female fertility issues, female menopause, reproduction, and hormonal balance. 

The right Maca for you will depend on how you intend to consume it, as well as the health benefits you’re looking for. 

Discovering Maca in Peru

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Pure Maca drink has a unique texture

Intrigued by the promise of this miracle drink, we sought out Maca, first at the main Cusco Market, Mercado San Pedro, and later in Lima at Surquillo Market.

At Cusco’s San Pedro market, we talked to a local vendor selling Maca and were surprised to learn that it is available in either pill or powder format.

The friendly vendor told us that Peruvian like to add Maca powder to their morning coffee or tea

She told us that she prefers her Maca drink “natural” with only hot water. Taking her recommendation, we had our first Maca drink, “pure” and not masked.”

After a few sips, we found the Maca drink to have a slimy texture. The taste was similar to a hot cereal drink.

It took some time to get used to the consistency, but it was easy to drink with the addition of sugar.

RELATED: A Guide To Cusco San Pedro Market: How To Best Visit Cusco Main Market

How Maca Works

Cusco's market maca
Giant glasses of Maca

Is Peruvian Maca effective is a question we asked everyone we talked to about Maca in Peru.  

From research, we learned that the Maca root is an adaptogen. And, adaptogens are plants or herbs, and they help the body adapt to a range of external stressors. 

They have been used in Asia, India, and different parts of the world for centuries to treat different ailments. 

In the United States, medical experts are beginning to recognize the value of adaptogens in the form of plants, herbs, or supplements.

Maca as an adaptogen helps promote homeostasis and stabilization of the body. 

What are the side effects of Maca?

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Avoid excessive Maca consumption

Maca is not associated with any health risks or side effects in most people. It is a nutrient-dense plant and not a drug.

However, due to its effects on hormones, those with thyroid problems or hormonal imbalances should consult with their doctors before using Maca. If excessive amounts of Maca is consumed it may cause allergic reactions, abdominal pain, and digestion issues in some people.

How To Prepare Maca Drink

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Make your Maca drink with milk or water

Making a Maca drink at home is extremely simple. The most important ingredient is starting with high-quality Peruvian Maca. 

Whether you make your Maca drink with water or a Maca latte with dairy-free milk, start by placing the Maca powder first in the cup and adding the liquid.  This makes it easier to mix the Maca drink.

Where to Buy Maca From Peru

Maca Drink from Peru: A Guide to The Incas Superfood (With Recipe) 2Maca Drink from Peru: A Guide to The Incas Superfood (With Recipe) 3

Outside of the country, you can purchase high-quality Peruvian Maca from a number of sources. 

The Maca Team: The Maca Team is a family-owned business dedicated to providing high-quality Peruvian Maca from Junin province in the Peruvian Andes. Their Maca is organic, fair trade, non-GMO, and gluten-free.

As a Maca specialist company, you get only the freshest and rigorously tested Peruvian Maca. The ethos of The Maca Team company is based on respect, transparency, and a genuine passion for Maca. 

Pampa Direct: Pampa Direct focuses exclusively on selling premium products from South America to the US and across the world. From Peru, they carry a selection of Peruvian Maca. Their Maca root powder is authentic and makes an excellent Maca drink. Pampa Direct is also our recommended store for Argentinian products

Amazon: As the world’s largest online retailer, you’ll also find Maca on Amazon. Find a range of producers and Maca available in powder and tablet formats. If you choose to buy from Amazon, make sure it is organic Maca from Peru.

RELATED: 7 Surprising Amazonian Foods to Try From the Peru Rainforest

Can you Take Maca Every day? A 30-Day Diet With Maca

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Testing the Maca diet for 30 days

It is possible to drink maca everyday if you have no doctor contraindication.  Having enjoyed the Maca drink, I decided to experiment and put myself on a 30-Day Maca diet.

The Maca diet is simple. For 30 days, I enjoyed a Maca root drink, and checked how my body responded.

To prepare for the Maca diet, I bought one kilo (2.2 lbs) of Yellow Maca root powder at the Surquillo market in Lima.

The plan I devised was to drink for 30 days between the hours of 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. 

Even though Maca in Peru is most often consumed at breakfast, I could not give up my morning coffee. 

Maca is said to be energizing. I decided to drink it as a late afternoon “pick me up” as a way to test the benefits of this healthy drink.

Otherwise, I did not change my diet or eating habits and continued to exercise on a regular basis.

Is Peruvian Maca Effective? Notable Improvements After Maca Diet

Peruvian Maca Experiment

Rosemary, positively surprised by her results on the Maca diet

I found Peruvian Maca effective for increased energy, to lessen menstrual pain, and improve skin, hair and nails.

Here are the major changes I experienced from my Maca diet:

  • Increased energy: After just 2 or 3 days of drinking Maca, I felt much more energetic. The afternoon fatigue I sometimes struggled with practically disappeared. This boost in energy levels was more than just physical. I also felt more focused and mentally alert. I noticed this mental boost after around 5 to 7 days on my Maca diet.
  • Less menstrual pain: While I do not suffer from excessive pain or menstrual period-related issues, I noticed that I felt much more even on the Maca diet. I didn’t have any mood swings, cramping, or anxiety. While I was on my period, I felt and performed as if I weren’t.
  • Clearer skin: After 15 days or so of the experiment, I experienced a pleasant surprise when washing my face. My skin felt smoother, clearer, and with no breakouts or spots. I welcomed this change, especially because I hadn’t changed my facial or grooming habits.
  • Stronger hair and nails: After the full 30 days of the Maca diet, I realized that I’d had to clip both my finger and toenails a couple of times. Prior, I would cut my nails every 4 to 5 weeks. While taking Maca, that frequency increased, and my nails were harder and stronger. Like my nails, my hair was also stronger with less breakage.
  • Any downsides? I did not experience any notable downsides to the Maca diet. I liked the idea of regularly incorporating a natural supplement into my diet.

I am glad to have discovered Maca in Peru, and I appreciated the overall health benefits of this Inca superfood.

Maca Recipes by Authentic Food Quest

Maca Drink Recipe

This 2-minute Maca drink recipe is an easy way to pack nutrients into your day. Mix Maca powder and hot water or make a Maca Latte with any milk of your choice.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Peruvian
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 15kcal
Author: Authentic Food Quest

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • Bring a kettle of water to boil, about 8 oz to 10 oz, approximately 250 ML
  • Place 1 teaspoon of Peruvian Maca in a cup
  • Top with boiling water and stir until all the Maca powder has dissolved
  • Sip and enjoy while hot

Notes

  • To make a Maca Latte, instead of using water, replace it with your choice of regular milk, or non-dairy milk like almond milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk.
  • Add cinnamon for taste as a healthier option instead of sugar
  • Be sure to read labels and follow the instructions on your package for the correct amount of Maca powder to use for your Maca drink or Maca Latte
  • Maca powder can also be added to smoothies, salads, drinks, cooked foods, and juices. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 15kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating or tag us on @authenticfoodquest
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Have you ever heard of Maca? Or have you tried a Maca drink before? Please let us know in the comments below.

Savor the Adventure!

More Peruvian Local Food Experiences

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Discover the authentic foods in Lima and Cusco as well as the top Peruvian foods and drinks that should not be missed. Take this guide with you as you explore Peru’s magnificent cuisine.

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77 Comments on “Maca Drink from Peru: A Guide to The Incas Superfood (With Recipe)”

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe! I loved how wonderful a few ingredients could be. I actually put coconut milk & the maca in the high speed blender and added a date. Turned out really frothy & I heated it up a tiny bit more in the microwave. I struggle with autoimmune disease among other issues & my doctor recommended it. I can definitely say I noticed a difference immediately… with an energy that felt cleaner than the energy that comes from & longer lasting than the kind that comes from tea. I did much more today than I probably would have. Not a miracle cure, but looking forward to keeping this in my regiment & seeing how it goes! :). And it’s just amazing how much collective wisdom there is around the world, especially in older cultures. Best to you both!

    Reply
  2. I would like more information on the best way to consume maca root, some people say that it needs to be cooked, others are drinking it in smoothies. There is no clear info about this. Also, if it is roasted, then why would it need to be cooked? Thank you

    Reply
    • Thanks, Mariah for your questions. The maca powder I’ve tried is simply added to a hot drink or to hot water. It does not need to be cooked or roasted. Depending on what kind you buy, simply follow the recommended instructions for use. Hope this helps. Cheers

      Reply
  3. Incredible how this wonderful food has been gaining visibility in the world. I think there are still a lot of people who will know the wonderful benefits of this root. I love your content. Health and peace!

    Reply
  4. I am 62, about 125 lbs, pretty healthy, but feel tired a lot. I and would like to increase the oxygen level in my blood. I m wondering how much of this I should try and for how long. Any suggestions are appreciated!

    Reply
    • Thanks Teodoro for your questions. From my personal experience, I felt much more energized when drinking Maca throughout the 30 day diet period. I would drink 1 tablespoon of Maca, 1 teaspoon of sugar and mix it in hot water. I noticed the difference within the first 3-5 days. You may want to try it for about a week and note any changes you experience. Because I am not a doctor, I can only share my personal experience. You may want to check with your doctor about increasing oxygen levels in your blood. Please let us know if you do try it out. Cheers!

      Reply
  5. This is such a great post! I’m certainly intrigued. I’ll have to see if I can find some at my local health food store. Thanks so much for sharing your journey!!

    Reply
    • Hi Jessica, in my research I didn’t see anything about negative effects on the body. I did see one article that recommended starting with a small amount and then increasing it as your body adapted. In terms of the pocket book. It’s not bad either. I bought 1 kilo of Maca for about 20 Peruvian soles which is equivalent to USD $5.67. Not bad either way!!

      Reply
  6. Huh, I’m genuinely interested. I know that eating radishes regularly really has been beneficial for me. Maca being a super version, I’d be extremely interested. Is this what the guides ingest prior to taking tourist to Machu Pichu? 😉

    Reply
    • That’s interesting Rob that radishes are working out for you. Indeed Maca and radishes do come from the same family. The Maca for men is considered a male viagra, so you may reap additional benefits as well 🙂 Not sure what the guides ingest – it could be coca leaves for the altitude or Maca for the energy. The best is to ask! Thanks for your comments!

      Reply
  7. This made me curious! I have seen Maca on my travels through Latin America frequently and I always wondered if I should try it… now, I will do so and see if I can get it here in Honduras too! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  8. First of all, you look so beautiful!!! Inside and out. I just came across your blog and loved this post. So informative and well written. I am writing this down now and will buy it once I am back home from my round the world trip. Sounds great. Back home I used to drink chlorophyll which cleaned my body everyday. I love the principle of having more energy. Doesn’t everyone has the same problem in the afternoon? Thanks for sharing this piece of information with us.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Melanie for your feedback. So happy that you enjoyed reading about my experience. An energy booster in the afternoon is indeed needed. Good to learn about chlorophyll. Will have to check that out soon. Cheers 🙂

      Reply
    • You are so right Robson, there are so many natural solutions around us and many lie with indigenous peoples. Never tried Chia, so good to know that it is also an energy booster. If you make it back to Peru, give Maca a try 🙂

      Reply
  9. Count me in. I’ve been curious about Maca so found this really interesting. I can’t wait to go out and buy some and do my own 30-day test, even if I’m not drinking it in Peru. (I don’t even care what it tastes like.)

    Reply
  10. Woah, how cool! I had no idea that Maca was such a powerhouse of health benefits. I’m really inspired to try this diet for myself and see what wonders this superfood can do for me. Thanks for all of these useful tips. Love hearing about unique foods like this. 🙂

    Reply
  11. How interesting that there are different colours for men and women and high five to you for actually trying it out and finding it really does work! Might just have to get myself on the Maca 😀

    Reply
  12. This sounds super interesting and I’m kind of intrigued to try it out myself (who doesn’t want to have less pain, more energy, and better skin?!) Never heard of Maca before, though. Thank’s for sharing your experiences!

    Reply
  13. This is definitely interesting. I know you said you liked the taste but what does it taste like. I would like to try this, you said Amazon sells it but I wonder if you can get it from you local Herbologist / All Natural store? Great post.

    Reply
    • Thanks Christopher…in terms of the taste, it is like hot oatmeal. I added sugar and was able to control how sweet I like it. Indeed you can try your local health/natural store. The only advice is to get the one from Peru. Do let us know if you find it and try it. Cheers!

      Reply
    • In terms of the taste Jackie…it really doesn’t have a specific taste. It reminds of me hot oatmeal. It’s a little thick and you can add more or less sugar depending on your preference. It worked wonders for me…let us know if you try it 🙂

      Reply
  14. A really informative post. i have heard of maca but did not know much about it. Tempting to try a month like you. As an insomniac I would be weary to try it in the afternoon should I have troubles at night. Did it make you go to bed later?

    Reply
  15. Oh how wonderful! And look at all the super benefits you received from this super food. I would totally be interested to try this 30 day Maca diet, do you think you were drinking more water because of how you consumed the Maca, and that really helped too? Anyways, anything that gives me more energy and clearer skin and less painful periods is a WINNER in my books. Going to add to my list and see if I can source some. Thanks heaps for this really interesting post.

    Reply
    • Thanks Anna and so glad you enjoyed reading about the super benefits of Maca. True I did drink more water, but I’ve always been a water drinker so it was just one extra mug of water. The energy booster, clearer skin and strong nails and hair and just feeling better overall are huge benefits. Let us know if you are able to find some. Cheers!

      Reply
    • Thanks Lottie for your comments. That’s actually why I decided to embark on the 30 day diet. I wanted to know for myself if it was just advertising or if there was something special about this superfood. Pleasantly surprised to see and feel the benefits. If you are thinking about it, do give it a try.

      Reply
  16. I love 30 day challenges, just the right amount to get you properly immersed in something! Thanks for sharing, it’s fascinating to learn about new ingredients and history 🙂

    Reply
  17. My mother swears by maca. I tried maca caplets, which I bought in Buenos Aires, and I must admit the results were not miraculous. Maybe I should try the powder.

    Reply

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