Se­cret-weapon smooth­ies

These sweet sips are packed with hor­mone-bal­anc­ing nu­tri­ents to help you look and feel your best

First For Women - - Feel-Good File -



Estro­gen lev­els rise and fall wildly in women ages 35 to 60—and these fluc­tu­a­tions can trig­ger mood swings, weight gain and night sweats. But maca root pow­der works as an adap­to­gen, a meta­bolic reg­u­la­tor that op­ti­mizes the out­put of hor­mones like estro­gen. The proof: In one study, maca root slashed women’s hor­monal symp­toms by 84 per­cent. Here, what else maca can do for you:

Speeds me­tab­o­lism

Two amino acids (leucine and glu­tamine) in this Peru­vian su­per­food prompt mus­cle cells to burn fuel more ef­fi­ciently. A study in The Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion found that this ef­fect can in­crease calo­rie burn­ing by 25 per­cent for 51⁄2 hours.

Sharp­ens think­ing

Maca root’s rich stores of polyphe­nols stim­u­late ac­tiv­ity in the hy­po­thal­a­mus—the area of the brain that gov­erns mood and at­ten­tion. This fires up men­tal en­ergy and im­proves fo­cus in as lit­tle as 3 min­utes.

Low­ers choles­terol

Plant sterols in maca pow­der block choles­terol ab­sorp­tion in the small in­tes­tine. Sci­en­tists at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity in St. Louis found that a daily dose of maca can lower lev­els of “bad” LDL choles­terol by 74 per­cent.

FIRST pick: We love Nav­i­tas Nat­u­rals Or­ganic Maca Pow­der ($7 for 20 serv­ings, gro­cery stores) for its sub­tle nutty fla­vor and its su­perfine tex­ture, which en­sures it dis­solves al­most un­de­tectably into smooth­ies.

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