Maca is a well-known superfood (and definitely one you should try) but before you purchase your first batch, make sure you know the differences between various types of maca. Maca helps fight stress, helps the body produce energy, aids in muscle recovery, and can help balance out hormones in men and women. Since the superfood has gained traction in the food industry, low-quality labels and brands have been producing less than stellar products that won’t deliver like real maca will. Real maca comes straight from Peru where maca originates and is cultivated in low temperatures to preserve the nutrients. It also comes in a variety of types and colors, which can leave many people confused as what to buy. If you’ve been to purchase maca and been overwhelmed with all the choices, here are the differences between various types of maca so you can make the best decision for your personal health needs.
1. Red Maca
One of the main differences between various types of maca is the color. Red maca is actually not red in appearance but is a higher quality of maca, making it more expensive and more nutritionally dense. Most people also find it has a higher quality of taste with less bitterness than some maca products contain. Red maca has a nice, caramel, butterscotch flavor and a golden hue.
2. Cream Maca
Cream maca is one of the most basic types of maca and it’s slightly lighter in color than red maca but still has a golden, creamy hue. It’s very well-balanced in taste and has a caramel-like malt taste to it. It’s the type of maca found in most mainstream brands unless they specify otherwise.
3. Black Maca
Black maca may sound gross but it’s nothing to fear so don’t worry. It tastes similar to both cream and red maca but comes from a light gray maca root. It’s actually the most elite form of maca and the rarest type available (along with the most expensive.) The benefit is you can use less of black maca to get the same benefits since it’s more nutrient-dense. In fact, two studies from from China, one in 2006 and one in 2011 actually proved black maca improve memory and focus.
4. Premium Maca
Premium maca isn’t produced by many brands so be sure to do your research before making a purchase. Premium maca is the most nutritious and beneficial of all maca products because it contains more glucosinates than other maca. Glucosinates are the nutrients found in maca that give it its superfood powers. One brand, The Maca Team, produces an awesome premium maca that is incredibly creamy and it’s organic, non-GMO, vegan, raw, and very affordable.
5. Gelatanized Maca
There are two types of maca: raw and gelatanized. Both types taste similar depending on if you choose red, cream, black or premium, however the nutrition changes greatly. Gelatanized basically means the maca is no longer raw and has been heated. The purpose of gelatanizing maca is to make it easier to digest since raww maca is a starch some people don’t digest well. However in the process of gelatinization, the nutrients found in maca are reduced by more than half, so you’ll need to decide which is better for your personal health needs.
6. Raw Maca
Raw maca contains all the nutrients maca is known for such as glucosinates, 20 different amino acids, complex carbohydrates, no sugar, fiber, protein, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium, and zinc just to name a few. Raw maca has never been heated and has been produced at very cool temperatures to ensure the nutrients are preserved.
If you’re not a fan of powders you can take maca through a capsule as well. They're available in gelatinized and raw form so you can choose whichever option works for you.
Maca is a superfood that most women and men love, so give it a try. It pairs great with other superfoods like cacao, goji, acai, and spirulina and can easily be added to your favorite superfood smoothie. Do you use maca? What’s your favorite recipe?