Maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis) is a dark purple fruit that grows in large quantities in Chile and Argentina. Traditionally, it has been used as a natural remedy for a wide range of health conditions, including high cholesterol levels, diabetes, kidney problems, and arthritis. However, it is most popular for its ability to combat oxidization. Some studies even show that maqui contains anthocyanins, which are a powerful type of antioxidant.
When plucked straight from the shrub in its natural form, the maqui berry has a mild tart taste. It is commonly described as having hints of acai, blueberry, blackberry, and watermelon all at the same time. However, in recent years, maqui Berries have become very difficult to find in their purest form. They are most often dried into a powder, which can be incorporated into porridges, smoothies, desserts, yogurt, and shakes.
Antioxidants are helpful for fighting off the damage done to body cells by free radicals. Luckily, maqui berries or juice contain chemicals that act as antioxidants, protecting body cells from damage. The berries are also rich in essential nutrients, such as iron, calcium, potassium, Vitamin C, all of which work together to keep the body healthy.
Health Benefits of Maqui Berry
Now, let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of maqui berry.
Rich in Antioxidants
Studies have shown that maqui berries have the highest amounts of antioxidants found in any fruit. They contain concentrated quantities of anthocyanin, a compound popular for its potent antioxidant value. Anthocyanins give the fruit its deep purple color and are attributed with many of its health benefits.
Antioxidants in anthocyanins prevent the effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage, inflammation, and disease over a period of time. Maqui berry is one of the antioxidant-rich foods that helps to not only stabilizing free radicals but inhibiting its negative effects.
In addition, foods rich in antioxidants may reduce a person’s risk of chronic health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. Maqui berries are also believed to be loaded with about three times more antioxidants than raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.
Maqui berries are believed to be effective in boosting the body’s immune system. The fruit helps to ward off a range of diseases. Regular consumption of maqui berry treats flu and cold as well.
Free radicals are responsible for the production of cancer cells in the body. The potent antioxidants found in maqui berry help to prevent the damage caused by these free radicals to the DNA and the cells. This makes it effective in fighting against various cancers, including leukemia and colon cancer.
In addition to being very rich in beneficial anthocyanins, studies have found that maqui berries are also the richest known natural source of a chemical known as delphinidin. The chemical has been particularly purported to naturally contain components that fight cancer, particularly inhibiting the growth of colon cancer.
Treats Heart-related Problems
The oxidation of cholesterol in the blood can result in a host of cardiovascular problems, such as the thickening of the arteries, heart attack, and stroke. The antioxidant property of maqui berry inhibits these serious heart issues by regulating cholesterol levels in the blood.
Prevents Premature Aging
Maqui berry is packed with antioxidants, which also contain anti-aging properties that combat free radicals in the body. These free radicals can result in DNA damage, causing fine lines and wrinkles—the obvious signs of aging. Maqui berry does not only prevent aging, but it also nourishes the skin cells, giving a glowing and healthy skin.
With such amazing properties, the berry is a great way to boost overall health and prolong a person’s lifespan. The consistent accumulation of free radical damage in the body has been suggested to be a major contributing factor to the natural aging process. However, fruits and vegetables that possess potent antioxidant properties may help neutralize this effect and promote healthy aging.
Studies have shown that berries like maqui berry have the potential to slow or possibly reverse physical and cognitive aging due to their high antioxidant content.
Diabetes is a growing health concern all over the world and has been linked with a range of other health issues. There are two known types of diabetes mellitus; Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes but the latter (Type 2 diabetes) is of particular concern to many medical professionals, as it is potentially preventable. One of the most common causes of Type 2 diabetes is consistent shifts in blood sugar levels.
Studies have shown that maqui berry possesses anti-diabetic properties, and is helpful in regulating the balance of glucose in the blood. The berry also enhances the tolerance levels of glucose in the body. Additionally, the presence of anthocyanin properties in the fruit makes it effective for balancing blood sugar levels and impacting insulin sensitivity in the body.
Upon consumption of food, enzymes in the digestive system break them down into smaller, more usable forms. This is then absorbed into the bloodstream, where they can be transported to their destination. Anthocyanins may affect this process by inhibiting an enzyme known as α-glucosidase. This enzyme is a major contributing factor in the breakdown of starch, which may cause an increase in blood sugar. In fact, one of the therapies for diabetes is to intentionally control α-glucosidase activity. Fruits like maqui berries can do this naturally.
Aids in Digestion
Maqui berry helps to boost a person’s metabolism and alleviates lethargy, providing the body with stamina. Indeed, maqui berry is a digestion aid and an energy booster.
Treats Kidney Problems
The antioxidants found in maqui berry also prevent several kidney-related problems. The berries flush out toxins from the body, keeping the kidneys healthy and improving overall health.
Contains Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, and Antiviral Effects
Maqui berry has anti-inflammatory properties that provide relief from several inflammatory ailments like arthritis.
A number of studies have also shown that maqui berries are packed with antibacterial properties. This property of the fruit can help treat and fight off all kinds of bacterial infections.
The berry also contains many antiviral properties and effectively treats several viral conditions like genital herpes, herpes simplex, and HSV 2.
Supports Weight Loss
Maqui berry is rich in beneficial nutrients and low in calories, which makes it effective for weight reduction. It is able to balance sugar levels in the blood and halting the production of fat cells.
Studies on maqui berries are still in their early stages, and so the appropriate dosage for these berries is yet to be determined. However, it is important to keep in mind that anthocyanins are one of the active ingredients present in maqui berries, which you are probably already consuming in diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables.
Consumption of excess anthocyanins may not cause any problems at all, as they are water-soluble and will simply be excreted if not needed in the body.
Side Effects of Maqui Berry
While this berry is loaded with a wide range of health benefits, it also has a few side effects. People who are generally allergic to berries should steer clear of maqui berries.
Maqui berry has been termed a superfruit because of its high content of strong antioxidants.
It displays several potential benefits, including improved inflammation, diabetes treatment, enhanced immunity, reduced cholesterol levels, and anti-aging effects.
As we already mentioned, fresh maqui berries are rare but maqui berry powder is easily accessible and used in yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, and desserts.