- What is maqui and what is it used for?
- 15 benefits of maqui for your health
- 1.- Prevents cardiovascular diseases
- 2.- It has anti-inflammatory properties
- 3.- Reduces cholesterol
- 4.- It is astringent
- 5.- Cleans the organism
- 6.- Stimulates defenses
- 7.- Protects neurons
- 8.- It is a good remedy against dry eyes.
- 9.- Regulates blood glucose level
- 10.- It is analgesic
- 11.- Combats aging and has great antioxidant properties
- 12.- Protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation
- 14.- Helps you lose weight
- 15.- Improves the respiratory system
Maqui is a superfood known as the fountain of eternal youth that purifies the body and stimulates the defenses. But, first of all, let’s know more about superfoods.
Superfoods are the latest trend in healthy nutrition. No wonder, since they are a sure way to have a healthy diet. They are highly recommended food options because they have a large number of nutritional properties and are beneficial to our health.
Our organism will be strengthened if we include these products in our dishes. Some are better known, such as olive oil, broccoli, nuts, pumpkin, legumes, or spinach, while others are beginning to make their way into our recipes.
That’s why they must be in your kitchen if you want to lead a healthy life. Most of them can be added to our most traditional recipes. You can find a wide variety of them in the market and choose them according to your tastes and the goal you want to achieve.
For example, you can include in your diet any of these superfoods:
- Freekeh is very good for improving eyesight, slimming and strengthening hair.
- The canihua, it contains a lot of iron
- Lucuma has slimming powers.
- Millet is very digestive.
- Sumac is good for diabetics.
- Sorghum is good to fight anemia.
- Spelt, which brings happiness and slimming.
- The kuzu, which protects the heart.
- Graviola, anti-aging.
- The tahini, highly energetic and memory enhancer.
- The fenugreek, to increase the buttocks.
- Okra, good for lowering cholesterol.
- Lychee is an elixir of youth full of collagen and vitamin C.
- Garcinia cambogia helps to lose weight.
- Kimchi or xanthan gum, perfect to avoid snacking between meals and regulate intestinal transit.
- Yuzu to moisturize the skin and prevent aging.
- Ashwagandha helps sleep, fights stress, controls weight, is an aphrodisiac and prevents wrinkles.
- Okra is very good for reducing fatigue and improving memory.
But in this article, we are going to focus on the properties of Maqui. Maqui is another superfood to include in this list. It is a berry of Chilean origin known as the fountain of eternal youth because it slows aging. It also prevents cardiovascular diseases, regulates blood sugar levels, and is high in fiber.
What is maqui and what is it used for?
Maqui berries come from the Maqui tree, a tree that is abundant in the Patagonia of Chile and Argentina, a geographical area with extreme climatic conditions. It is a small, dioecious, evergreen tree that reaches a height of 4-5 meters.
It flowers from November to December (the austral spring) with whitish flowers. The fruits of this tree are small berries of intense purple, dark and bright colors that are known by the same name, in fact, “maki” in the language of the Mapuche (aborigines of the area) means fruit.
Maqui berries owe their intense, dark purple color to their content of anthocyanidins, substances of great importance for their beneficial effects on human health.
The Maqui is one of the sacred trees of the Mapuche, and in some areas, along with the cinnamon and laurel, are part of the sacred altar called “Rehue”, used in ceremonies and prayers.
The Mapuche people have used maqui berries as food since time immemorial and they form part of typical dishes, such as “curanto”, a dish of variable composition based on meat and vegetables cooked in a hole in the ground and covered with hot stones. They also drink its juice and make an alcoholic drink called TECU from the fermented juice. Also, the stems and tender leaves are edible.
Widely used in traditional Mapuche medicine, the berries are used to reduce inflammation and scarring, as a diaphoretic (to cause sweating), and as a digestive, diuretic, and expectorant. The juice of the leaves is used to heal wounds, against diarrhea, and as an analgesic.
15 benefits of maqui for your health
Anthocyanidins have a strong antioxidant action, but maqui fruits also have other flavonoids with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action such as quercetin, vitamin C, and trace minerals, especially bromine, zinc, chlorine, chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum.
It has been shown that anthocyanins are very effective in trapping reactive oxygen species (free radicals) that when in excess in the body are the cause of various health disorders, inflammation, and aging. They are also capable of inhibiting the oxidation of lipoproteins such as LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) whose oxidation leads to the formation of atheroma plaques (fat deposits in the arteries) that increase the risk of cardiovascular accidents.
Maqui fruit extracts have high antioxidant power. When comparing the content of anthocyanidins and antioxidant power of these fruits with a marked antioxidant effect, it was found that the concentrated maqui juice had a higher polyphenol content and higher antioxidant capacity than: grape, blackberry, strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry juices, and even other fruits considered to have a high value, such as acai.
Maqui is also known as the king of antioxidants. It is dark purple and bright due to a pigment called anthocyanin. These are some of its properties:
1.- Prevents cardiovascular diseases
The ability of maqui to fight oxidative stress in the cells makes it a guarantee to prevent heart disease.
2.- It has anti-inflammatory properties
In addition to the nutritional values of maqui, it also possesses other substances beneficial to health, among them phytochemicals.
An article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry states that the phytochemicals present in maqui limit the formation of adipocytes, cells where fat accumulates. In addition, the phytochemicals present in maqui slow down inflammation processes.
3.- Reduces cholesterol
In addition to reducing oxidative stress in the body, maqui has been shown to be efficient at eliminating unnecessary fats from the body, as well as low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
In 2015, a group of researchers published a study in the Journals of the American College of Cardiology conducted with healthy, overweight, smoking adults who were given maqui extract, three times for four weeks.
Finally, the ability of this fruit to fight cholesterol was demonstrated, due to its high content of anthocyanidins.
4.- It is astringent
Maqui has organic substances called tannins. These particles have astringent properties and make maqui an ideal product to consume when suffering from diarrhea.
5.- Cleans the organism
This food purifies the body by cleansing the kidneys and urinary tract.
6.- Stimulates defenses
The antioxidant properties of maqui help strengthen the immune system. In addition to helping the body’s defenses in the fight against disease, the polyphenols present in maqui protect the body’s healthy cells.
7.- Protects neurons
Maqui, as I explained above, is rich in polyphenols, bioactive substances that provide antioxidant properties. These properties, by preventing the aging of cells, combat the onset of serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2012 research article focuses on the properties of maqui to combat this neurodegenerative disease. According to the study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, maqui extract exerts a fundamental neuroprotective function in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
This task of protecting the neuronal network is carried out through direct interaction with beta-amyloid molecules, the main components of the senile plaques that cause Alzheimer’s disease.
8.- It is a good remedy against dry eyes.
Dry eyes are a problem that affects a large part of the world’s population and is becoming more and more common due to some of the causes that provoke it. Although the lack of eye hydration may be due to age or hormonal changes, more and more people suffer from it due to external factors such as staring at screens for an excessive amount of time.
Several studies have shown that maqui extract increases tear production, combating oxidative stress in the lacrimal glands. As a result, more and more eye solutions and eye drops containing maqui extract are becoming available to combat the symptoms of dry eye.
9.- Regulates blood glucose level
It is highly recommended for diabetic patients, as it helps regulate blood glucose metabolism. It also helps to lose weight, since by slowing the absorption of glucose by the blood, the body produces more energy, avoiding the formation of fat in the body.
10.- It is analgesic
The Mapuche Indians already used the maqui leaves therapeutically to alleviate pain processes. These customs have been inherited by Chilean traditional medicine, but has the efficacy of maqui to combat pain been scientifically proven?
A study published in 2011 in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, demonstrates the efficacy of this plant to treat pain, as well as inflammations, of which I spoke before. Its efficacy is due to methanol and alkaloids present in the leaves of the plant.
11.- Combats aging and has great antioxidant properties
The maqui is most beneficial for the skin, as it has great power as anti-aging due to a pigment called anthocyanin. This substance is responsible for much of the antioxidant power of maqui berries and slows the effects of free radicals and premature aging, helping to cleanse the skin of impurities.
In fact, maqui contains the amount of daily intake of antioxidants recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is one of the fruits with the highest antioxidant capacity, a capacity that is measured based on its ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) rating.
Its antioxidant capacity is due to its richness in phenolic compounds, which help to prevent fat oxidation, protecting cells from the damaging activity caused by free radicals. Consuming antioxidant products is very important to avoid future infections.
12.- Protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation
Anthocyanins present in red fruits, such as maqui, due to their antioxidant properties, are increasingly used in cosmetic products, especially those intended to prevent skin aging.
These substances protect the skin from exposure to ultraviolet radiation and prevent premature aging of skin cells caused by continued exposure to the sun.
The consumption of maqui and other foods with antioxidant properties, as well as being responsible when exposed to the sun, can prevent other more serious diseases, such as skin cancer.
14.- Helps you lose weight
As I said before, among the benefits of maqui, are to help control the levels of fat and sugars in the blood.
By slowing down the absorption of sugar by the blood, the body is able to produce more energy, preventing the formation of more fat in the body.
The consumption of this product, accompanied by a healthy and balanced diet and daily exercise, can help you lose weight.
15.- Improves the respiratory system
Researchers from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Chile conducted an experiment in 2015 with non-habitual smokers whose breathing was analyzed before and after starting treatment with maqui extract. It was shown that maqui consumption improves pulmonary respiration due to anthocyanidins.
Prior to this study, animal experiments had shown that antioxidant substances present in some plants improve lung damage.