I can’t tell you guys how excited I am about today’s recipe. I love maca, I love cinnamon, and I love chocolate. What better way to bring them together than in a health-boosting, super-food, post-workout treat?
None. I know, right!
This smoothie might look pretty on the outside, but don’t let it fool you. On the inside, it means business – and it delivers.
Maca has become an essential favorite around our house, not only for its hormone balancing properties, ability to reduce stress, and immune boosting benefits, but because it also enhances strength and endurance, positively affects muscle growth, improves circulation, increases energy, and builds bone density – important for fitness as well as everyday movement.
A pilot study of cyclists concluded that after taking maca for 14 days, their 40 km cycling time improved. (source)
Let’s stop a second and talk about one of these issues – bone density. No matter how solid it feels, a bone is actually living tissue that builds density as you place more force on it. Bone density deteriorates as we age, becoming brittle and weak (osteoporosis) and making it easier to break.
Conclusion: Red and black maca have protective effects on bone architecture . . . (source)
Building up your bone density isn’t something you should wait to to do when your older – once it’s gone, there’s no getting it back. You can prevent brittle bones, and if your older, maintain the bone density you have with strength-training and by inviting my favorite workout partner along – maca.
In a recent study, maca almost tripled human cartilage’s anabolic activity, even with inflammation. (source)
Most of us think of fall when we think cinnamon. We add it to pies and eggnog and it brings a warm, cozy feel down to the tips of our ten little piggies. But cinnamon is more than a warm, fuzzy spice. It’s use is well-documented to bring inflammatory relief and decrease muscle soreness – two issues many of us deal with whether we’re working out or simply feeling the effects of poor health.
A six-week study involving forty-nine healthy, athletic women, between 13-25 years old, showed that when the women took 3 grams of cinnamon powder per day, they noticed a significant decrease in muscle soreness. (source)
Chocolate – another favorite. 🙂 The cocao bean, which is used to make cocao or cocoa powder, contains a flavenol called epicatechin. A study on mice showed that when given epicatchin and required to exercise on a treadmill daily, the result was greater endurance, in some cases up to 50%, and reduction in muscle fatigue.
Another study on middle-aged, overweight adults showed that consuming cocao greatly reduced the stiffness in their arteries – especially in women.
. . .consuming cocoa products “revealed a statistically significant blood pressure reducing effect” (source)
So now that we’ve discussed everything wonderful that’s in this smoothie – let’s make it!
MACA: The Super Food That Helps With Everything From Fatigue to Sex Drive. Retrieved from www.bottomlinepublications.com/content/article/natural-remedies/maca-the-super-food-that-helps-with-everything-from-fatigue-to-sex-drive
Effects of Different Varieties of Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) on Bone Structure in Ovariectomized Rats. Retreived from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20616517
Maca: Benefits Beyond the Bedroom. Retrieved from http://www.naturalhi.com/media/downloads/Dr_Marcus_Laux_Maca.pdf
A Pilot Investigation Into the Effect of Maca Supplementation on Physical Activity and Sexual Desire in Sportsmen. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19781622
Influence of Ginger and Cinnamon Intake on Inflammation and Muscle Soreness Endued by Exercise in Iranian Female Athletes. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665015/
Everyday Foods Found to Have Potent Anti-Inflammatory Properties. Retrieved from http://media.uow.edu.au/releases/UOW169098.html
Epicatechin Enhances Fatigue Resistance and Oxidative Capacity in Mouse Muscle. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21788351
Effects of Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Consumption on Endothelial Function and Arterial Stiffness in Overweight Adults. retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24274771.
Effect of Cocoa on Blood Pressure. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22895979