Aristotelia chilensis is maqui´s scientific name. It is an endemic plant from southern Chile belonging to the Elaeocarpaceae family.
Etymology: Aristotelia, in honor of Aristotle. Chilensis, from Chile. Maqui, mapuche name of the plant.
It has a shiny dark purple skin; the inside, lighter purple. It´s average diameter is 4-6 mm. It’s a delicious fruit with a dry sweet-acid flavor.
Maqui, the chilean superfruit, is a powerful antioxidant that contains high concentrations of polyphenols, anthocyanins and vitamin C.
These nutrients prevent cancer and slows the premature aging of cells.
Maqui contains 300% more anthocyanins and 150% more polyphenols than any other known food or drink, including wine.
Due to its antioxidant properties that help protect neurons, Maqui can prevent and treat neurodegenerative problems such as Alzheimer.
It is also an excellent anti-inflammatory and natural analgesic.
It has thermogenic properties. That means that Maqui increases the corporal temperature, allowing the body to burn fats.
It helps regulate the metabolism of blood sugar, consequently it is highly recommended for diabetics.
This fruit contains a lot of fiber, therefore is an excellent intestine purifier, cleans the kidneys and the urinary tract.
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of delaying or preventing oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation produces free radicals that can damage body cells.
Oxidative stress has been associated with the pathogenesis of many human diseases.
The scientific evidence accumulated during the last two decades indicates that antioxidants when consumed in the form of food have an important potential to reduce the development of those diseases that currently affect world population (cardiovascular, tumor and neurodegenerative diseases). As a result of this recognition, antioxidants have increasingly been considered as “Molecules whose consumption is synonymous of health”.
For this reason, pharmacology studies intensively the use of antioxidants, specially as a treatment for cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
Maqui is the most powerful antioxidant fruit, since it contains 300% more anthocyanins and 150% more polyphenols than any other known food or drink, including wine.
It is a rich source of anthocyanins and flavonoids (antioxidant compounds). These antioxidants are common in many fruits, such as blueberries and blackberries. The unique and special characteristic of maqui, unlike other fruits with high levels of antioxidants, is that contains significant amounts of 3-hydroxyindole, which is part of the class of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferasen enzymes which regulates the conversion of serotonin to melatonin.
This is important for three reasons: (1) melatonin is a strong antioxidant; (2) melatonin stimulates the production of SOD (superoxide dismutase) one of the endogenous antioxidants of our body and (3) Melatonin is a thermogenic agent. This means that it is involved in the regulation of the increase in thermogenesis, the process of heat production.
In other words, this special enzyme has three strengths:
A powerful antioxidant, it stimulates the antioxidant defenses in our bodies and helps generate energy metabolism.
(Source: BELL ADVISORY SERVICES LLC, Maqui - the best antioxidant fruit).
Anthocyanins are polyphenols with antioxidant activities that can be biologically beneficial for human health.
Delphinidins are a type of anthocyanins, one of the primary pigments of plants, and also a powerful antioxidant. Maqui is particularly rich in delphinidin content.
Polyphenols are phytochemicals, that is, compounds that abound in natural plant foods with antioxidant properties. Polyphenols play an important role to prevent and reduce the progression of diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. Polyphenols are also important as prebiotics.
They increase the rate of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, which is important for health, weight control and prevention of diseases.
Flavonoids are a sub-type of polyphenols.
They are natural pigments present in vegetables that protect the body from damage by oxidizing agents, such as ultraviolet rays, environmental pollution, chemical substances present in food, among others.
The acronym ORAC comes from the phrase Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. This reflects the overall activity or capacity that all antioxidants present in a food product have in order to neutralize free radicals that are a result of oxidative stress.
The level of antioxidant activity in a food item is measured according to its ORAC rating (oxygen radical absorbance capacity): the higher the ORAC rating, the more powerful the antioxidant activity of the food item.
The ORAC 5.0 is a complete analysis based on an ORAC method that performs antioxidant tests against these 5 reactive species.
Maqui berry has an antioxidant capacity that is higher than the acai berry, the goji berry, pomegranates, and raspberries, and the highest ORAC 5.0 of all fruits analyzed to the present day.
Maqui berry has been consumed for thousands of years by humans, mainly by the indigenous population that settled and lived in Patagonia 12,000 years ago.
Currently there are no known side effects of the maqui berries.