In this article, I have tried to answer all your queries as much as possible so that you can get a clear picture about these super foods:
- Why these foods are considered as “Super”?
- What health benefits they offer?
- How to fit them into your diet?
- Bonus: my all time favorite smoothie & juicing recipes that will simply blow your mind!
So without further ado let’s dive into our health restoring journey with these amazing superfoods and the first question that should knock your mind is – Why certain foods are termed as “Superfood”?
First thing first … let’s first know its definition!
What is a superfood?
The Macmillan Dictionary defines ‘superfood’ as a food that is considered to be very good for your health and that may even help some medical conditions.
The Oxford Dictionary definition states a superfood is “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”.
The group Cancer Research UK says, “the term ‘superfood’ is really just a marketing tool, with little scientific basis to it”.
Another source defines superfood as “a non-medical term popularised in the media to refer to foods that can have health-promoting properties such as reducing one’s risk of disease or improving any aspect of physical or emotional health. So-called superfoods may have an unusually high content of antioxidants, vitamins or other nutrients.”
Though there is no legal or medical definition, superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals.
Eating them may reduce the risk of chronic disease, and prolong life, and people who eat more of them are healthier and thinner than those who don’t.
Superfood 1: Wheat grass
Wheatgrass is a kind of grass which has therapeutic and healing properties. Like most plants it contains chlorophyll, amino acids, minerals, vitamins and enzymes. Proponents of wheatgrass claim this grass to have unique curative properties and provide supplemental nutrition to the diet.
Wheatgrass though belongs to the wheat family has no wheat gluten in it. It is usually found in form of grass, juice or even wheatgrass powder.
Wheatgrass has a high concentration of iron, magnesium, calcium, amino acids, vitamins C, A and E, B12, B6 and chlorophyll. These vitamins and minerals provide many therapeutic benefits.
Hence consuming wheatgrass in the right quantities can rid the digestive system of harmful bacteria and cleanse the body of toxins.
It cleanses the colon and can help in the treatment of joint pain, ulcerative colitis, skin infections, diabetes and such. It is also a good way to get our daily dietary requirement of vegetables.
How wheatgrass can help you?
Low In Calorie:
Since wheatgrass is promoted as a dietary supplement it is popular among those who wish to lose weight and body builders. For weight loss, wheatgrass is very low in calories and has no fat.
Wheatgrass can provide the endurance and energy needed to burn of calories without getting fatigued. The nutrients in wheatgrass speeds up metabolism and this converts calories to energy. You can burn more calories and this helps with weight loss.
It is said to purify the blood and remove harmful toxins. Wheatgrass has high potassium content and this improves skin quality and muscle tone. This is needed during weight loss programs to burn calories and build muscles. Detoxification is often promoted as part of a weight loss program. Wheatgrass is said to be a good detoxifying agent.
Good source Of Potassium:
Potassium is referred to as the ‘youth mineral’ and wheatgrass helps give all the required potassium without the calories that other potassium-rich foods like bananas contain.
Helps to control blood pressure:
Regular intake of wheatgrass increases red blood cell count in the blood. It also cleans the blood, other organs and the gastrointestinal tract of debris. It dilates the blood pathways hence reducing blood pressure.
Helps build immunity:
The enzymes and amino acids found in wheatgrass can protect from carcinogens like no other food or medicine. It strengthens the cells in the body, detoxifies the liver and chemically neutralizes the environmental pollutants found in the blood.
Helps fight various diseases:
Though there isn’t much scientific evidence but there are unpublished studies that show wheatgrass juice can fight tumors without the usual toxicity of the drugs. Also aids in the treatment of cancer, arthritis, insomnia, asthma, menstrual problems etc.
Helps improve reproductive health:
Continuous use of wheatgrass helps in increasing vigor, vitality and helps conceive.
Helps in skin rejuvenation:
A paste of wheatgrass powder made with milk and a pinch of turmeric when applied on face can act as a powerful face pack to deal with troubles of acne, white and black heads, skin tan, burn etc.
Wheatgrass Nutrition Facts:
A 1-ounce serving of fresh wheatgrass juice has 5 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein. A 1-tablespoon serving of wheatgrass powder has 35 calories, 4 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein.
Wheatgrass is a rich source of vitamin A, C, K, a variety of B vitamins, iron, magnesium and iodine. The powdered version is a more concentrated source of nutrients than the fresh, simply because there’s more wheatgrass present per serving.
Drew Canole’s Green Heaven Smoothie Recipe – Only for You !!!
What does wheatgrass taste like (for real)?
I’ll admit it…the first couple shots of wheatgrass is absolutely disgusting. But after a while, you get used to the green liquid. In order to get wheatgrass to taste better, some people add ginger to their shot. Give this a try if you’re a first-timer.
Check This Amazing Tropical Detox Smoothie Recipe … Cheers to health!
Since it can be incorporated in fresh fruit juices and smoothies, it helps us cut out on calorie-rich sodas and this promotes weight loss.
Those who wish to lose weight must also be able to get their daily dietary requirement. Some nutritionist believes that one kg of vegetables is said to be equal in value to 1 shot wheatgrass juice.
Does Wheatgrass have any side effects?
Wheatgrass is considered a safe supplement, according to Columbia Health, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t potential side effects.
- The fresh juice is bitter, and some people may experience nausea or vomiting after ingestion. Also, you should not include wheatgrass in your diet if you have celiac disease or intolerance to gluten.
- Wheatgrass is a sprout consumed raw, and when drinking the fresh juice, there is a potential for bacterial contamination and foodborne illness.
- It’s advisable for pregnant woman and breastfeeding mothers to stay off its consumption unless advised by the practitioner.
Superfood 2: Spirulina
Spirulina is a cultivated micro-algae which has been consumed for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples in Mexico and Africa.
It is one of the highest known protein sources on Earth and contains 70% complete protein, towering over steak which consists of only 25% protein once cooked.
Spirulina contains the eight essential and 10 other amino acids and a greater concentration of vitamins and nutrients than any other natural food. Just 3 to 10 grams of Spirulina a day gives impressive amounts of beta carotene, B complex vitamins, Vitamin E, essential trace minerals and gamma linolenic acid (GLA).
Spirulina is also a major source of iron and calcium.
Studies have shown that spirulina can help control blood sugar levels and cravings thus making it a key food for diabetics, and can be used to assist in weight loss and as a general nutritional supplement.
Spirulina & Maca – Should We Use them? Find out what Yuri Elkaim is suggesting :
How Spirulina can help you?
Spirulina is Extremely High in Many Nutrients
Spirulina is an organism that grows in both fresh and salt water.
It is a type of bacteria called cyanobacterium, which is often referred to as blue-green algae.
Just like plants, cyanobacteria can produce energy out of sunlight, via the process called photosynthesis.
Spirulina was consumed by the Aztecs back in the day, but became popular again when NASA proposed that it could be grown in space and used by astronauts.
A standard daily dose of spirulina is 1-3 grams, but doses of up to 10 grams per day have been used effectively.
A single tablespoon (7 grams) of dried spirulina powder contains:
- Protein: 4 grams.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 11% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 15% of the RDA.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 4% of the RDA.
- Copper: 21% of the RDA.
- Iron: 11% of the RDA.
- It also contains decent amounts of magnesium, potassium and manganese, and small amounts of almost every other nutrient that we need.
This is coming with only 20 calories, and 1.7 grams of digestible carbohydrate.
Our bodies are constantly subjected to an onslaught of toxic chemicals from the air, water, food and drugs and need to continually eliminate these toxins. It has long been known that spirulina accelerates detoxification especially during fasting as spirulina has a unique combination of phytonutrients that can help cleanse our bodies.
There is also evidence that spirulina significantly reduces kidney toxicity caused by some heavy metals. Spirulina was widely used to treat children suffering radiation sickness after the Chernobyl disaster.
Spirulina Has Powerful Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties:
Spirulina is a fantastic source of antioxidants, which can protect against oxidative damage.
The main active component is called phycocyanin. This antioxidant substance also gives spirulina its unique blue-green color.
Phycocyanin can fight free radicals and inhibit production of inflammatory signalling molecules, providing impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
Spirulina Can Lower LDL and Triglyceride Levels:
Heart disease is currently the world’s biggest killer.
It is known that many measurable factors, termed risk factors, are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
As it turns out, spirulina has been shown to have beneficial effects on many of them.
For example, it can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.
In a study of 25 people with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams per day of spirulina significantly improved these markers
Spirulina Protects LDL Cholesterol From Becoming Oxidized:
Fatty structures in the body are susceptible to oxidative damage.
This is known as lipid peroxidation, which is known to be a key driver of many serious diseases
Interestingly, the antioxidants in spirulina appear to be particularly effective at reducing lipid peroxidation. This has been shown numerous times, in both human and animal studies.
In a study of 37 individuals with type 2 diabetes, 8 grams of spirulina per day significantly reduced markers of oxidative damage. It also increased levels of antioxidant enzymes in the blood.
Spirulina is a powerful tonic for the immune system. Research and experience indicate that spirulina is an immune regulating food.
Small amounts can help balance and stabilise the immune system, freeing up more of our metabolic energy for vitality, healing and assimilation of nutrients.
The blue-green natural protein pigment phycocyanin has been shown in animal studies to increase lymphocyte activity and stimulate the production of blood.
Phycocyanin probably prevents a host of degenerative organ diseases by increasing immunity. Complex sugars from spirulina have been shown to increase antibody production and infection fighting T-cells. Mice have shown increased immunity, bone marrow reproduction, growth of thymus and spleen when fed complex sugars and phycocyanin from spirulina.
Spirulina Appears to Have Anti-Cancer Properties, Especially Against Oral Cancer:
Some evidence suggests that spirulina can have anti-cancer properties.
For example, some research in test animals shows that it can reduce cancer occurrence and tumor size
Spirulina has been particularly well studied with regard to oral cancer, which is cancer of the mouth.
One study looked at the effects of spirulina on 87 people from India with precancerous lesions called OSMF in the mouth.
After using 1 gram per day for 1 year, 45% of the spirulina group had a complete regression of lesions in the mouth, compared to only 7% in the control group.
Spirulina May be Effective Against Anemia:
There are many different forms of anemia.
The most common one is characterized by a reduction in hemoglobin or red blood cells in the blood.
Anemia is fairly common in the elderly, leading to prolonged feelings of weakness and fatigue.
In a study of 40 older people with a history of anemia, spirulina supplementation increased the hemoglobin content of red blood cells. Immune function also improved
Check this Super Green Spirulina Smoothie Recipe with Deliciously Ella
To make spirulina easier to consume, manufacturers put it into several forms, including the pill form that is common with many other vitamins and supplements.
The flake version is good for sprinkling onto foods, such as salads, and some individuals prefer the powder type because it is easily mixed into juices and other drinks such as smoothies.
These latter kinds also are good options for people who have trouble swallowing tablets, but they don’t provide the convenience of being premeasured. A person can pick whichever one works best given his dietary habits.
The dose most companies promote for an adult is 500 milligrams per day, which works out to about four to six tablets, but some sources bump the dose up to as much as eight pills.
The amount to take isn’t standardized, however, in part because research is still ongoing regarding the benefits and drawbacks the algae has.
In some regions, its status as a supplement means that major food regulatory agencies don’t monitor or control it, such as is the case with in the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Most medical professionals recommend getting consultation first before adding it to the diet of anyone under age 18.
Mango Passion fruit Twist with Spirulina- I love this !
Does Spirulina have any side effects?
Spirulina has a record of safety, even at high doses, with few reported side effects. However, if harvest from polluted waters, or cultivated incorrectly, it can accumulate toxins from the environment. For this reason, I recommend you avoid spirulina from Japan and nearby waters harvested after March 1, 2011, as they may be contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima nuclear incident. Ideally, only consume organic spirulina from a reputable source that is grown in pollutant-free waters.
Again, while side effects are minimal, the most prominent reactions you may experience are:
- Slight Fever — The high protein content in spirulina increases metabolism, which may elevate your body temperature.
- Dark Green Waste Matter — Spirulina can remove accumulated waste product in your colon, which may cause darker stool. Also, spirulina is high in chlorophyll. This will also turn waste matter green.
- Excessive Passing of Gas — This may indicate that your digestive system is not functioning properly or you have an extreme build-up of gas.
- Feelings of Excitement or Sleepiness — Your body is converting protein into heat energy, which may cause temporary feelings of restlessness. On the other hand, the detoxification process may also cause sleepiness, which may indicate your body is exhausted and needs better rest.
- Breakouts and Itchy Skin — This is caused by the colon cleansing process and is only temporary.
Superfood 3: Cacao Powder:
Theobroma Cacao has been dubbed the ‘food of the gods’ in the Americas where it was first cultivated.
It is considered a ‘superfood’ due to the high density of essential nutrients, very few side effects and proven health benefits. Cacao trees grow in the Amazon Basic, Orinoco River Basin, Ghana, Philippines, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, Togo and a few Caribbean islands.
The raw cacao bean has a nutty taste similar to dark chocolate, but somewhat bitter. Raw cacao beans may be eaten by themselves or added as a topping to cereal, desserts and fruit. Some people add honey as a natural sweetener because of the bitter taste.
How Cacao powder can help you?
Source Of Theobromine and antioxidants:
This is a mild, non-addictive stimulant found in raw cacao. It is believed to treat depression.
Flavonoids which are antioxidants can help fight free radicals that can buildup due to exposure to environmental pollutants, sun exposure and cigarette smoking, and this in turn reduces the risk of developing certain cancers.
Both antioxidants and theobromine can improve blood flow, support healthy functioning of heart and reduce thickening of arterial walls and plaque build-up. Theobromine can also improve mental and physical well-being by stimulating central nervous system, dilating blood vessels, increasing energy levels and relaxing tense muscles.
Other benefits offer include reducing PMS and menopause symptoms. The levels of antioxidants in raw cacao are higher than that of green tea and red wine.
Provide Essential Fatty Acids:
Essential fatty acids as oleic acid found in cacao can lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol levels. Oleic acid also possesses antioxidant properties and can fight free radicals.
It can strengthen cell membrane integrity, boost memory power, improve functioning of the heart, circulatory system and brain, increase energy levels, help with weight loss, reduce inflammatory conditions like arthritis, help to moisturize the skin and more.
Increase fat Metabolism:
Supplementing your diet with raw, organic cocoa powder can actually improve your body’s ability to metabolize fat and use it as energy. In fact, according to a 2005 study in Nutrition magazine, when rats were fed real cocoa as a part of their diet, they exhibited significantly lower rates of fatty tissue than rats that weren’t.
Neutralize free radicals:
High levels of antioxidants protect the body from a buildup of free radicals from sun exposure, pollution, cigarette smoking, etc., which may damage healthy body tissue giving rise to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Good for brain:
Magnesium found in raw cacao promotes heart health and is essential for proper brain functioning. Tryptophan and anandamide are other brain-boosting minerals found in cacao.
Raw Chocolate can improve digestion:
A sufficient amount of fiber delivered with each serving of cacao supports digestion while cacao stimulates the body’s production of digestive enzymes.
Promote cardiovascular function & health:
The antioxidant power of flavonoids and essential minerals and vitamins found in cacao can support healthy heart functioning by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, lowering LDL cholesterol, and reducing plaque buildup on artery walls.
Scientific studies of the effects of dark chocolate indicate that it stimulates the release of endorphins in the human body. As a result, dark chocolate may have an anti-depressant effect.
The following is the nutritional facts for raw organic cacao powder (1 ounce)
- Calories – 120
- Calories from fat – 23
- Total fat – 2.5g (4% DV)
- Saturated fat – 1.5g (7% DV)
- Sodium – 20mg (1% DV)
- Total Carbohydrates – 19.0g (6% DV)
- Dietary fiber – 7.0g (28% DV)
- Protein – 5g
- Calcium – 4% DV
- Iron – 16% DV
- Vitamin A – 0%
- Vitamin C – 0%
DV refers to recommended daily value.
Banana, Cacao & Almond Milk Smoothie Recipe – As seen on The Voice Kids
Nutritional Value of Cacao
The cacao bean is full of antioxidants, fat, carbohydrates, protein, polyphenols like flavanoids that are antioxidants, minerals like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, iron, zinc and potassium, oleic acid which is a heart-healthy essential monounsaturated fat, fiber and vitamins E, B2, B1, B5, B3 and B9.
There are also small amounts of vitamin A, and C in raw cacao. The maximum nutrients are found in raw cacao beans before any kind of processing.
In a health hierarchy, raw cacao beans before processing rank first, followed by organic, cocoa powder (un-roasted) and organic dark chocolate which greater concentrations of cocoa powder and lower levels of processed sugar.
How does raw cacao taste?
Most natural cacao available today has undergone a fermentation process (not roasting) that removes the bitterness. Both raw cacao beans and nibs undergo the fermentation process that preserves the antioxidants. If it is your first time eating cacao, we recommend using naturally fermented raw cacao beans.
This intensifies the berry and coffee notes naturally found in chocolate’s flavor. The intense flavor is similar to unsweetened dark cocoa powder or Baker’s chocolate.
If you prefer milk chocolate then you can add raw cacao to smoothies or mix with other foods to make it easier for you to get used to the stronger taste.
Raw Cacao Eating Tips:
- Blend into fruit smoothies
- Add cacao powder to oatmeal or yogurt
- Mix powder with dairy or nut milk
- Add powder to your favorite protein drink
- Use cacao nibs to replace chocolate chips in frozen yogurt, pancakes, muffins, cookies, etc.
Chocolate in the Raw Smoothie with Coconut Milk and Cacao Powder – Check this recipe!
Does Cacao have any side effects?
Those who have chocolate allergies must avoid eating cacao nibs or beans. Polyphenols and other active substances found in them could trigger side effects like migraines and other allergic reactions.
Superfood 4: Maca Powder:
Maca, a perennial plant that can resist adverse climatic conditions such as frost and strong winds grows extensively in the Andes Mountains of Peru at very high elevations.
No other edible food crop grows at such high elevations of 14,500 ft.
The root of the plant is used as a vegetable similar to radish by Peruvians.
Maca root is starting to become more popular slowly recently. It is called on the scientific world “Lepidium meyenii” or “Lepidium Peruvianum”. It’s been appreciated now by multiple generations as a great mood stabilizer and energy booster. Maca has a powerful blend of highly nutritive ingredients like vitamins, phytonutrients, fatty acids and amino acids. Additionally, it is an abundant source of phytohormones and trace minerals.
Both scientific research and pure popular empirical evidences advocate that maca can help with increasing fertility, balancing hormones, boosting energy, losing weight, building muscle, enhancing libido, improving mood and much more.
Maca Is An Adaptogen
An adaptogen which is a unique group of plants capable of improving the health of your adrenal system (this system is in charge of managing your body’s hormonal reaction to stress) In particular, adaptogens help increase the body’s natural resistance to environmental stresses. Maca is one of the most powerful adaptogenic plants known.
Doctor’s Studies Confirm Benefits:
Based on studies first conducted by Dr. Gloria Chacon, the alkaloids of Maca root are believed to stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which are directly connected to the thyroid gland.
Scientists first noticed the benefits of the Maca root when during studies of the root’s effect on the body, women began reporting the ease or complete disappearance of cramping, irritability, and the bloating and exhaustion that had plagued them throughout menstruation. This is when scientists realized that Maca must indeed in some way affect hormonal health and, in fact, was confirmed to do so through saliva tests.
What the Maca root does is to stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. These glands then trigger the adrenals, ovaries, thyroid, and pancreas to begin functioning in a more healthy manner, thus causing them to begin producing natural hormones again.
Over time, if you research Maca and begin speaking to professionals, you’ll become more and more convinced as there are thousands of people that once suffered from very debilitating diseases that claim that Maca, especially Red Maca, has literally saved their life.
Now that studies are confirming the benefits of the Maca root, doctors worldwide are beginning to listen, and have begun prescribing the root to their patients for myriad symptoms and disorders including weight loss stimulation, chronic fatigue syndrome, and to help give more energy to the elderly and menopausal women. It is also prescribed to couples trying to stimulate conception of a child as it naturally affects sex hormones as well.
How Maca can help you?
Provides essential nutrients:
It contains all essential nutrients carbohydrates, unsaturated fatty acids, proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
It is an excellent source for vitamins B12, B6 and B2, vitamin C and minerals such as potassium, iodine, iron, zinc, calcium and manganese. These nutrients help to compensate for the nutritional deficiencies that generally develop in people who are on diet.
Improves the rate of metabolism:
Vitamins B12, B2 and B6 that promote synthesis of various enzymes essential for metabolic reactions aid in promoting the rate of metabolism.
This in turn promotes weight loss.
Provides strength and stamina:
The carbohydrate content of the root provides glycogen. This in turn provides increased energy and endurance essential to carryout workouts regularly for desired time period.
Practice of exercises promotes burning of fat and hence, weight loss.
Motivates to practice exercises regularly:
Regular use of maca promotes functioning of the brain and the central nervous system. This in turn improves mental clarity and hence, develops a positive outlook towards workouts.
Keeps blood sugar levels under control:
By improving the glucose tolerance levels of the body cells it keeps blood sugar levels under control. This in turn prevents unwanted fat deposition and hence, obesity.
Improves functioning of the thyroid gland
By improving the functioning of the thyroid gland it controls metabolic processes of the body. This in turn promotes fat burning and hence, weight loss.
Improves muscle mass
Use of maca promotes only burning of unwanted fat without disturbing the muscle mass. Polypeptides, calcium, zinc and magnesium and other nutrients present in the root aid in improving the muscle mass.
They also help in faster recovery from muscle damage that generally occurs after strenuous workouts.
Keep cholesterol levels under control
High cholesterol level is one cause for obesity. Sterols present in the root aid in keeping the bad cholesterol levels under control an essential requisite for weight loss.
Few people eat too much when they are stressed out. It is actually their way of coping with stress. If this continues for a long time then they definitely suffer with obesity.
Maca helps cope with stress efficiently. Thus, the eating habits remain under control reducing the risk for obesity.
Balance Your Hormones & boost libido:
Maca root powder also contains two unique types of acids named macamides and macaenes, which are believed to play a key role on balancing hormones in men and women.
How Much Maca Root Powder Should I Take ?
Miranda Kerr, Victoria’s Secret Model, began touting the wonders Maca Root has done for her skin (and if you’ve seen her skin you’ll know its glowing and translucent), and now the world is really listening.
If you will start using maca on your nutrition plan, it is better for you to begin with taking small amounts and then build up to larger quantities; one to three teaspoons per day is a good a starting daily serving.
You may choose to vary some days by taking one teaspoon and in other days just two or three; you may choose also to take none some days. In case you take too much more besides this recommended amount, it is possible you will experience some side effects like getting your hormones out of balance.
Just do not exaggerate and you will be fine. Too much of anything can hurt you, even water.
My favorite Maca Warrior Smoothie recipe – exclusively for you!
How to Use it?
You will get the most out of maca benefits only if you do not cook or bake it.
The simplest way to add maca root powder on your diet is to put one or two teaspoons into your protein shake, smoothie, tea, cereals or yogurt.
The malty flavor works great with the banana / chocolate flavour.
However, it also is delicious with other fruity flavors, as in a strawberry-vanilla smoothie.
Old School Vanilla Smoothie with Maca, Banana and Almond Milk – My alltime favorite!
Does Maca have any side effects?
- Although there are no truly serious known maca side effects (due responsible usage), like in any supplement intake, it should not be ingested in large amounts.
- In case you have the thyroid disease then maca is most likely not the greatest superfood option for you. That is because maca root powder is high in glucosinolate and iodine (since it is a cruciferous), which is not good for who has thyroid disease, therefore it is better to avoid it if you suffer from this condition.
- Also stay alert if you have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) or breast cancer. Make sure you consult your doctor due your health condition, if you are planning to start consuming maca root powder on a regular basis as a part of your diet plan.
- Stop taking maca or reduce the dose if side effects such as increased intestinal gas or other gastrointestinal disturbances are observed. Pregnant and lactating women should stay away from maca.