Until recently, the extraordinary little purple Brazilian acai berry has been making rounds among fitness enthusiasts as the No. 1 superfood to boost metabolism and support rapid weight loss. Then here came the maqui berry, which has been cultivated since the eighteenth century by English tenants. Surely, people knew about its existence before, but it has only been now that its health benefits have been discovered.
The maqui berry is known by other names. In England, it is called Chilean wineberry. In its native home in the tropical Patagonia region, it is known as maqui or maquei. Other names for it are koelon, clon, queldron, and ach. We call it maqui berry. It is not uncommon in its native land and can be found almost anywhere, from flat lowlands to elevations of up to 2,500 feet above sea level. Maqui berry trees can also be found in the United States, but it is obvious that they are better suited and happier to the warmer climates of their native home.
When thriving in its natural habitat, the maqui berry tree grows rapidly, producing lush green foliage and a smooth, grey trunk that is around one foot in diameter. The fruit of the tree is a small, purplish-black fruit about 2 to 4 mm in diameter. It is round, plump, and juicy, but it can also be eaten raw and dried. Maqui berry juice is a deep purple color, not very different from grape juice, and it has a sharp acidic flavor similar to the taste of buckleberry or black currant.
This is the maqui berry fruit which has gotten so many people talking with excitement because of the health benefits that can surpass even the benefits provided by acai berry. The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of maqui berry is the highest in all fruits that have been tested for its ORAC levels. It has two times the ORAC level of acai berry, which previously had the highest ORAC level before maqui berry was put to the test, three times more than pomegranate, and six times more than blueberry. The ORAC level is a measure of the amount of antioxidants in the fruit.
But what exactly do you get from the antioxidants found in maqui berry?
Antioxidants are substances that protect the body from free radicals, which are produced as by-products of digestion and cause a number of heart diseases, cancers, and other serious medical conditions. Plants naturally produce their own antioxidants to protect themselves from the damaging effects of UV rays and other destructive elements of nature. Maqui berry does not only have a high level of antioxidants. It also has a high level of anthocyanins, the most powerful form of antioxidants out there.
The most commonly known health benefit of maqui berry is increased metabolism and lowered levels of bad cholesterol, indicating that the new superfood is enormously linked to weight loss and management. But other than this very attractive benefit, maqui berry also protects tissues from oxidant damage and repairs damaged tissues, promotes the health of the heart and its network of blood vessels, supports a healthy blood sugar level, improves skin health and eyesight, and reduces allergic reactions.