The maqui berry, also known as the purple-blue berry or Chilean wine berry, is a recent addition to the superfood group. This berry has a tangy taste reminiscent of blueberries or raspberries and is a great addition to smoothies. Maqui berries are packed with antioxidants, especially polyphenols and anthocyanidins, which are responsible for their vibrant purple color. These antioxidants are being researched for their potential benefits in cardiovascular health, blood sugar management, skin care, and anti-inflammatory effects. Rich in fiber and vitamin C, maqui berries also contain potassium, iron, and calcium, which may:
- Enhance the immune system,
- Strengthen bones and joints,
- Improve cognitive functions,
- Support vision health,
- Improve digestion,
- Reduce inflammation, and
- Promote clear and healthy skin.
Maqui Berry Uses
Although the scientific literature on maqui berries in peer-reviewed journals is sparse, the fruit’s variety of plant chemicals is believed to contribute to its strong antioxidant activity. These include:
- Phenolic acids,
- Anthocyanins, and
Test-tube studies have highlighted the anti-inflammatory properties of maqui berries, which could reduce the risk of heart disease. An increasing amount of research suggests that antioxidants from plant foods may decrease cellular oxidative stress, potentially protecting against chronic diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Scientists have noted that maqui berries contain high levels of anthocyanin compounds.
11 Health Benefits of Maqui Berry
Here are 11 benefits and uses of maqui berries:
Loaded with Antioxidants: Maqui berries are renowned for their high antioxidant levels, earning them the title of a “new super fruit.” They help the body maintain glucose levels and manage cholesterol. With 12 times the antioxidant power of ordinary berries, they are abundant in anthocyanins, which protect cells from free radical damage. These anthocyanins reduce inflammation, support joint health, and are particularly beneficial for the heart. They can prevent cholesterol oxidation, thereby reducing the risk of serious cardiovascular problems. Antioxidants also slow the aging process and inhibit tumor growth and cancer risk factors.
May Possess Anticancer Effects: In vitro studies have shown that delphinidin, an anthocyanin that gives the berries their purple color, may neutralize free radicals, a key factor in tumor and cancer development. Research on the oxygen radical absorbance capacity of various anthocyanins found that cyanidin-3-glucoside is especially potent. Maqui berries, rich in delphinidin, may offer more antioxidant protection than many other fruits and vegetables. They also score high in total radical-trapping potential and total antioxidant reactivity.
Promotes Heart Health: Antioxidants in maqui berries are linked to heart health. They reduce cholesterol oxidation, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. The carotenoids in maqui contribute to its antioxidant capacity and free radical–trapping abilities, helping the body manage cholesterol more effectively than other berries or superfoods.
Promotes Weight Loss: Maqui berries are reported to have thermogenic properties that aid in weight loss by working with metabolism. High in fiber, they satiate hunger and prevent constipation while lowering blood glucose levels. Recognized as a slimming fruit, they combat fat accumulation in cells and may control appetite, enhance metabolic rate, and support fat burning. They detoxify and reduce body fat, making them ideal for weight management. Maqui berries also help regulate blood sugar spikes and the urge to create new fat cells.
Promotes Skin Health: Maqui berries contribute to a healthy appearance. Their antioxidants combat signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, and discoloration, and aid in skin healing. The berries contain phytosterols that reduce hyperpigmentation and act as natural sunscreens, protecting against UV damage. Regular consumption of maqui berry or supplements can result in youthful-looking skin due to its anti-aging properties.
Supports Metabolic Health: Studies have shown that maqui berries enhance carbohydrate and glucose metabolism, thanks to high levels of delphinidin. They have been shown to help normalize fasting blood glucose and insulin levels in those with prediabetes and type II diabetes. The anthocyanins in maqui berries improve glucose absorption in insulin-sensitive muscle cells.
Promotes Eye Health: Including 60 mg of maqui berry daily in one’s diet has been associated with better vision in older age. Maqui berries may alleviate dry eye symptoms and have been reported to enhance natural tear production and reduce light-induced damage to tear glands. Combined with omega-3 fatty acids, maqui berries support the development of the oily layer of tears and reduce tear evaporation.
Anti-inflammatory Properties: Maqui berries have anti-inflammatory antioxidants. They may reduce lung damage from inflammation or oxidative stress and alleviate various symptoms, including those from smoking. Limited consumption can also help treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
Promotes Brain Health: Alzheimer’s disease is marked by amyloid-? plaques and low acetylcholine levels. Maqui berries may offer neuroprotective properties against these plaques and contain acetylcholinesterase inhibitors that could increase acetylcholine levels. They also reduce endotoxin-induced inflammation, a common issue in brain inflammation.
Boosts the Immune System: With high concentrations of polyphenols, anthocyanins, and resveratrol, maqui berries are thought to enhance immune function. The bioflavonoids act as powerful antioxidants, improving oxygen delivery to cells and circulation. When included in the diet, maqui berries aid in toxin removal and efficient nutrient utilization, boosting overall energy and performance.
Antiviral, Antifungal, Antibacterial, and Antimicrobial Properties: Maqui berries are rich in antimicrobial properties, helping to treat bacterial infections. Studies have shown their positive action against HSV-2 (genital herpes). Their high levels of delphinidins and anthocyanins combat infections, prevent colds and flu, and improve cognitive capacity and memory. Their antioxidants, due to high phytonutrient content, ensure proper digestion by improving gut flora and maintaining a healthy germ-free cell state.