A Powerful 30 Day Maca Diet – The Superfood of the Incas

As you read this title, you are probably thinking:

What in the world is Peruvian Maca?

Why would anyone decide to go on a Peruvian Maca diet?

We first heard about Maca when we arrived in Peru and were staying with a local family through Airbnb. One morning over breakfast, Doris, our host casually mentioned Maca as a beverage that many Peruvians usually drink in the morning.

As we are on a quest to discover and understand the local specialties, our ears immediately perked up. She pulled out of the cupboard a brownish powder and introduced us to this Peruvian superfood.

What is Peruvian Maca

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. Growing at about 10,000 feet above sea level, it is the highest altitude crop in the world. Maca is a relative of the radish and its root is used to make the medicine.

Peruvian Maca is said to have played a central part of 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.

Maca stand at Cusco's marketMaca stand

The Amazing Benefits of Peruvian Maca

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.

We quickly discovered that there were 3 types of Maca. A Black Maca for men. A Yellow Maca for women and a Red Maca which is more expensive and difficult to find.

Maca at the marketThe different types of Maca

Local Peruvian women told us they experienced many benefits with Maca. Some of the ones that were frequently mentioned were: feeling more energetic, clearer skin, stopping hair loss, helping with hormonal imbalance (menstrual irregularities and menopause), strengthening the immune system and fighting osteoporosis. 

An internet search on maca (web doctor) goes on to say that Maca is used for: “tired blood” (anemia); chronic fatigue syndrome, and enhancing energy, stamina, athletic performance, memory, and fertility.

Women use maca for female hormone imbalance, menstrual problems, and symptoms of menopause. Maca is also used for weak bones (osteoporosis), depression, stomach cancer, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, erectile dysfunction, to arouse sexual desire, and to boost the immune system.

Maca 1 kg from the market1 kilo of Maca

Our First Experience With Peruvian Maca

Intrigued by Maca, we sought it out at the Mercado San Pedro in Cusco. We visited a stall at the market and to chance to try this superfood.

As we talked to the lady, we learned that Peruvian Maca is available in either pill or powder formats. She told us that some people like to add Maca powder to their morning coffee or tea, but she prefers it natural, with just hot water. We decided to take her recommendation and try it “pure” and not masked”

Cusco's market macaGiant glasses of Maca

How Maca Works

Maca root is an adaptogen and according to Wikipedia, this means that it promotes homeostasis and stabilization of the body.

For example, if one person is high in a specific hormone (such as oestrogen), Maca will assist that person’s body to lower the amount of oestrogen in their blood. However, if another person is low in the same hormone, it will assist that person’s body to increase the amount of it in their blood.

Maca is said to stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which regulate the other glands in the body, and can bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian, and testicular glands.

A 30-Day Peruvian Maca Diet 

After hearing and reading about the benefits of Maca, I was captivated. After liking the taste,  I decided to experiment and put myself on a Peruvian Maca diet. The diet was simple and consisted of  of drinking Maca everyday for 30 days to see how my body responded.

To get ready for this diet, I bought 1 kilo of Maca (Yellow Maca, which is for women)  at the Surquillo farmers market in Lima.The plan I came up with was to drink Maca everyday between 3pm – 6pm.

Even though Peruvians drink Maca in the morning, I could not give up my morning coffee. Given that Maca is said to be energizing, I thought drinking it in the late afternoon when I sometimes need “a pick me up” would be a great way to test the benefits. I did not change my diet or eating habits and I continued to exercise on a regular basis.

Maca PowderMaca Powder

Notable Improvements From the Peruvian Maca

I started the Peruvian Maca diet on January 5th, 2016 and drank Maca every single day. In the 30 day period, I learned to really enjoy the taste of Maca. I started to look forward to drinking it and found it a nice alternative to drinking water or eating a snack.

The major changes I experienced were:

  • Increased energy: Just after 2 or 3 days of drinking Maca, I felt much more energetic and peppy. The afternoon fatigue I would sometimes get, practically disappeared. The boost in energy was more than just physical. I felt mentally alert and focused as well. I noticed this after about 5 – 7 days
  • Less menstrual pain: Even though I don’t have a horrible period in terms of pain or any issues, I felt much more even. I noticed that I didn’t have any mood swings, no cramping, no anxiety. While on my period, I felt and performed as if I was not on my menstrual cycle.
  • Clearer skin: About 15 days or so into the experiment, I surprised myself when looking at the mirror when washing my face. My skin felt smoother clearer and with no break outs or spots. I was pleasantly surprised to see the difference especially because I never changed my facial or grooming habits.
  • Stronger hair and nails: It took me almost the full 30 days on the experiment to realize that I had to clip my finger and toe nails a couple times. Before the Maca diet, I would cut my nails every 4-6 weeks. While taking Maca, that frequency increased and my nails were harder and stronger. Like my nails, my hair was also stronger and had less breakage.

With one kilo of Peruvian Maca, there is still plenty left over. I have continued to drink Maca daily and reap the benefits of improved overall health. I’m happy to have discovered this Inca superfood. I have not experienced any notable downsides and like the idea of incorporating a natural supplement into my diet.

Maca dietEnjoying Maca

Where to Find Peruvian Maca

If you are interested in trying Maca for yourself, you can find it on Amazon and also see how other consumers rate the different brands. You can also read more about Maca’s illustrious history and benefits here at Ancient Peruvian Superfood or The History Behind The Ancient Powerful Maca. I prefer to drink Maca plain and in hot water, though it is good in smoothies, salads, drinks, cooked foods, and juices.

What do you think about taking natural supplements you discover on your travels?  Have you ever tried Maca? Share your comments below.


Disclosure: Please keep in mind this information is based on my personal experience. It should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Please consult your physician or a qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health and well being.

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75 Comments on “A Powerful 30 Day Maca Diet – The Superfood of the Incas”

  1. 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

    • 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

    • 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!

  4. 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!!

    • 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!!

  5. 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? 😉

    • 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!

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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.

    • 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 🙂

    • 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 🙂

  8. 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.)

  9. 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. 🙂

  10. 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 😀

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

    • 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!

    • 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 🙂

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

  15. 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 🙂

  16. 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.


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