Guarana is a plant that is named after the Guarani tribe in the Amazon, who brew drinks using its seeds. These days, guarana seeds are still being used for medicinal purposes.
Guarana contains caffeine, which means it can stimulate the heart, central nervous system, and muscles. In addition, it contains theobromine and theophylline, which are chemicals similar to caffeine.
Guarana is known for its ability to aid in weight loss, boost mental capacity, improve athletic performance, increase energy, and treat several health conditions.
The Health Benefits of Guarana
Let’s take a closer look at the amazing health benefits of guarana.
Aids in Weight Loss
For many adults and even children, obesity is a growing concern, as it often triggers many chronic health issues, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Thankfully, guarana contains properties that are effective for promoting weight loss. Like it was mentioned earlier, guarana is rich in caffeine, which may boost metabolism, helping the body burn more calories at rest. Some studies suggest that guarana may also suppress genes that promote the production of fat cells and support genes that slow it down.
Provides Pain Relief
Guarana contains pain-relieving properties because of its rich caffeine content. It is no secret that caffeine plays a big role in relieving pain, as it blocks adenosine receptors that stimulate feelings of pain.
Improves Mental Performance
According to some studies, guarana may help improve one’s ability to learn and recollect. One study looked at the effects of different doses of guarana on mood and learning. These studies, suggest that guarana can help a person pay more attention to tasks and complete them faster, as well as improve memory.
Possesses Antibacterial Properties
Guarana contains certain compounds that may prevent or destroy harmful bacteria, including E. coli, which lives in the intestines of humans and animals. While most E. coli bacteria are harmless, some can result in diarrhea or other illnesses. However, studies have also shown that guarana can block the growth of Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), a bacteria that is responsible for tooth decay and dental plaques. The presence of caffeine and compounds such as tannins or catechins is the reason for guarana’s antibacterial abilities.
Guarana is the popular ingredient in most well-known energy drinks. As a good source of caffeine, guarana helps a person maintain focus and mental performance. In fact, guarana seeds may contain as much as four times more caffeine than coffee beans. Caffeine acts by inhibiting the effects of adenosine, a compound that is effective for making the brain relax. It actually binds to adenosine receptors, stopping them from being activated. Also, guarana can also reduce mental fatigue brought on by cancer treatment, without little or no side effects.
Rich in Antioxidants
Guarana is packed with compounds that contain antioxidant properties including tannins, caffeine, catechins, theobromine, and saponins. In fact, guarana contains antioxidant effects similar to that of green tea. Antioxidants are essential as they can neutralize harmful molecules known as free radicals. These molecules can lead to damage associated with aging, cancers, heart disease, and other health issues. Studies have shown that the antioxidant properties in guarana may help fight the growth of cancer cell and lower the risk of skin aging and heart disease.
Prevents Age-Related Eye Disorders
Age, poor diet, sunlight and some lifestyle choices such as smoking can worsen eyesight over time and increase the risk of eye-related disorders. Guarana has compounds that combat oxidative stress, one of the main risk factor for age-related eye disorders such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts.
In fact, a study suggests that individuals who consumed guarana on a regular basis had better eyesight than people who consumed it occasionally or not at all. In addition, guarana can significantly reduce the amount of DNA damage and death to eye cell. However, there isn’t enough research regarding the effect of guarana on age-related eye disorders.
Alleviates Digestive Problems
For so many years, guarana has been used as a natural stomach tonic to treat digestive issues such as chronic constipation and diarrhea. It may contain anti-diarrhea properties since it is rich in tannins, which are known for their astringent effects. Tannins are capable of waterproofing the walls of the digestive tract, regulating the amount of water that is secreted into the bowels. Guarana is also rich in caffeine, which may function as a natural laxative. Caffeine helps to stimulate peristalsis, a process that induces contractions in the muscles of the colon and intestines. This may help relieve constipation by pushing contents to the rectum.
Has Anti-Cancer Properties
Cancer is usually characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells. And according to studies, guarana may protect against DNA damage, block cancer cell growth and even cause cancer cell death.
Enhances Heart Health
Guarana is effective for lowering the risk of heart disease. The antioxidants present in guarana aid in blood flow and may inhibit blood clots. Studies also suggest that guarana may reduce the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol. Oxidized LDL cholesterol contributes to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. As a matter of fact, people who consume guarana have less oxidized LDL than those who do not eat guarana.
Improves Skin Appearance
Owing to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, guarana is popularly used as an ingredient in anti-aging creams, lotions, soaps, as well as hair products. In addition, the caffeine in guarana promotes blood flow to the skin. Studies have found that the antioxidants in guarana may significantly decrease age-related skin damage and reduce skin sagging and minimize wrinkles around the eyes.
Side Effects and Precautions
Guarana is generally considered safe and is widely available. However, studies have shown that:
- When taken in high doses, guarana may result in side effects that are similar to those of too much caffeine intake, including insomnia, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, headaches, seizures, nervousness, and upset stomach.
- Pregnant women should steer clear or reduce guarana intake. This is because caffeine can cross the placenta and may cause growth abnormalities in a child or increase the risk of miscarriage.
The Bottom Line
Guarana contains therapeutic abilities and is a common ingredient in soft and energy drinks. It is popular for its ability to alleviate fatigue, enhance energy, lower cancer risk, aid memory, promote heart health, support weight loss, relieve pain, ensure a healthier skin, and prevent age-related eye disorders.