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Guest Student Blogger: The Benefits of Maca and Cacao

Guest Student Blogger:  Why Maca and Cacao Are Superfoods


Third year SCNM student Dejan Matijevic is passionate about nutrition.  He took some time to tell us about two of his favorite superfoods.*


Here are a few reasons why I use raw maca root powder every day!

  • It contains over 20 amino acids, including 8 essential amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, C and E, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and manganese.
  • Maca has been shown to be effective at increasing fertility and libido in both men and women, decreasing levels of anxiety, mood swings, stress, and depression, regulating estrogen levels in the body, and improving energy, stamina, and overall mood. Maca has also been shown to improve glucose tolerance (aka insulin sensitivity), which is especially important for diabetics and/or those with metabolic syndrome.
  • Maca is no joke. Many people who regularly use maca report increased energy, stamina, and endurance levels within the first few days of its use. This may be why many athletes use maca for optimal performance. Supplementing our regular workout regime with maca may preserve our muscle mass.

These benefits help to explain why maca has appropriately earned its status as a SUPERFOOD.


Cacao is “The Amazonian Antioxidant King.” So what exactly happens when you regularly use raw cacao?

  • You take in 40 time the antioxidants of blueberries. With an ORAC score of 98,000 per 100 g (vs. 2,400 per 100 g of blueberries), raw cacao powder is impressive. ORAC scores measure the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals, which are unstable molecules that wreak havoc on our bodies.
  • You take in more calcium than if you were drinking cow’s milk. 160 mg of calcium per 100 g of cacao (vs. 125 mg per 100 g cow’s milk)!
  • You take in one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium, which is one of the most deficient minerals in North America. VERY important for energy production, brain health, and healthy heart
  • You take in a great plant-based source of iron (molasses may be the best source), which is incredibly important for the health of our red blood cells and allows proper carrying of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Cacao contains 7.3 mg of iron per 100 g while beef and lamb contain only 2.5 mg per 100 g. The important thing here is that plant sources of iron are NON-HEME iron, meaning they should be combined with a source of vitamin C for better absorption (oranges, kiwi, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli, and berries, among others).
  • You get your blood pressure in check. Cacao is rich in flavonoids and its antioxidants stimulate nitric oxide production, which aid in lowering blood pressure and improve blood vessel elasticity.

The most important thing though? No negative side effects.  It’s a powerful food, so throw some in your coffee and/or smoothie….right now!


You can purchase Gaia Maca Powder right here in the SCNM Medicinary!

You can follow Dejan at:

Instagram @hoopshealth
Twitter @hoopshealth
Facebook @bballhealth
Snapchat @bballhealth

*Please note this is a student blog and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of SCNM.  This is not medical advice, always consult a licensed professional for any medical issues.