College students require a lot of energy to function well. Naturally, our lives are demanding, causing most of us turn to coffee or energy drinks to keep ourselves fueled.

While I do believe that life is better with coffee, I have also been on the lookout for alternate sources of energy. Recently, I have discovered a new superfood: maca, which is quickly becoming my new favorite non-caffeinated energy source, that also benefits my body and overall health.

I first heard about maca from a friend who said that it doesn’t give you a high and then drop you, but instead provides a stable amount of energy for a long time. While there are so many energy products out there, maca is one of the first that increases endurance before a workout while still being nutritious.

Maca is grown in the mountains of Peru, and is a root that belongs to the radish family. Its benefits have been long valued by Peruvian Indians who cultivated and ate it for both its nutritional and medicinal value. Maca is a fantastic addition to smoothies, salads, drinks, cooked foods, and juices. (Check out some great recipes here!)

Rich in vitamin B, C, and E, maca provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phososphorous, and amino acids. Many athletes take maca for peak performance, as it is also known for increasing stamina. Others may take maca for skin issues, since it helps to clear acne and blemishes.

Maca benefits overall health in a number of ways. For women, maca relieves menstrual issues and alleviates cramps, body pain, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, and depression. Maca also serves as a libido boost and increases endurance, while at the same time balances hormones.

If you find yourself tired frequently or overcome with anxiety and stress, experiment with maca to see if it helps alleviate your symptoms!

Also check out UC Berkeley‘s article featuring maca: