This native Peruvian plant grows in the Andes and resembles a rough stone the size of a walnut—but the tiny herb will knock you out with nutrients. “Maca is rich in amino acids, phytonutrients, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Plus, studies have shown it increases glucose in the bloodstream, which helps supply energy for continued exercise,” Villacorta says. A pilot study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found cyclists who took maca supplements for 14 days improved their speed on a 40-km ride (and their sexual desire—bonus!). Maca also functions as an adaptogen—a natural substance that helps the body adapt to stress—so it enhances adrenal function to increase energy, reduce stress, and create an overall revitalizing effect, he adds. Villacorta recommends adding the powder to your pre-workout shake for an extra kick of energy.
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