The maqui berry is gaining attention around the world as claims that it is a rich antioxidant filled fruit gain strength. Some claims include that the maqui berry can help with weight loss and that it has more antioxidants than acai berries, blueberries or strawberries.
What Is the Maqui Berry
The maqui berry grows from the maqui tree, known as Aristotelia chilensis. The tree is part of the Elaeocarpaceae family. It grows predominately in South America, especially in Chile and Argentina. Fruit from this tree is not necessarily unique. It is about the size of a pea, or smaller and contains about four to eight seeds. The berries are said to be flavorful.
A look at the science behind the maqui berry provides further insight into the benefit of using this fruit. The anthocyanins in maqui berries provide protection to low density lipoproteins from oxidation. Any other antioxidant uses this same process within the body. These berries have a particularly high level of antioxidants. It is believed that the level of antioxidant found in the maqui berries is as much as three times higher than in acai berries. These high levels of antioxidants lead to an oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) that is high as well. 100 mg of maqui has an ORAC of 27,600, according to some reports.
Uses for Maqui Berry
Although maqui berry is only beginning to be popular around the world, it has long been in use by natives in traditional, herbal medicine. The Mapuches used maqui to treat a variety of ailments including sore throats, fevers, ulcers and diarrhea. These natives used the berry in their food, too.
Health food manufacturers and supplement manufacturers are including maqui berry in health drinks. Many say that the nutrition found within the berry is very powerful and therefore can aid in improving whole body health. Some products also claim that the berry can help with weight loss.
Although scientific research is still necessary to validate the antioxidant levels, many claim that the maqui berry has numerous health benefits. Numerous claims of the health benefits exist, though are unverified.
- The berry may better protect the body from toxins and chemicals by neutralizing free radicals present.
- The berry may provide aid to those who wish to lose weight, by flushing away fat from cells within the body.
- One claim states that the regular use of maqui berry may help to extend your life span by improving overall health and well-being.
- Strengthening the body's natural defense system is also a claim. It may help to improve your immune system and therefore help your body to fight off illness or disease for a longer period.
- Anti aging claims have also been made. Because the antioxidant rich fruit works to keep cells nourished and free from free radicals, it may help to slow the aging process.
- Maqui is nutrient rich, containing a high level of vitamin C, potassium, iron and calcium.
- It is also believed to have ten times the amount of polyphenols than red wine and 100 times more anthocyanins than wine. It is thought that this will aid in heart health and improve aging.
- Maqui berries may also help to improve inflammation in the body. The fruit may reduce pain in joints, for example. It is a natural anti-inflammatory that may help those who struggle from arthritis.
Getting and Using Maqui
The largest problem with the maqui berry is that it is difficult to find in the United States in its berry form. Transportation of the ripe fruit is too difficult in most situations. However, many health drinks are now putting this berry into their mixes.
It is difficult to know how much of this berry individuals should consume to see these benefits. Without any scientific proof that the berry works as claimed, many people may not wish to invest in it just yet. Researchers do say that it is healthy and has few to no known side effects in those who are not allergic to similar fruits.
Further study is necessary to confirm any of these health claims. Those who would like an antioxidant rich health drink, however, may wish to try this little purple fruit. Its rich flavor is similar to that of blueberries.