The maqui berry is a small, dark purple berry native to the Patagonian region of South America, specifically Chile and Argentina. It has gained recognition for its exceptional antioxidant content, particularly anthocyanins, which are known for their potential health benefits. Let’s discover its benefits and uses.
The maqui berry resembles blueberries in appearance with its deep blue-purple hue, but has a distinctive flavor that combines sweet and tart notes reminiscent of elderberries.
The plant from which the berries are obtained is an evergreen plant that grows spontaneously in Chile and Argentina, in particular in the Patagonia region, characterized by a humid, rainy climate and cold temperatures. The cultivation of this plant has also recently begun in the United States, England (where it is known as Chilean Wineberry) and northern Spain.
What are the properties of maqui?
Maqui is well known and exploited by local South American populations. These berries have become known for their high concentration of antioxidant substances, as they are rich in anthocyanins and flavonoids. For this reason, they possess antioxidant properties as well as performing an important antibacterial action.
Antioxidants are substances that can inhibit cellular aging and neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals, which can damage cells and lead to various health issues
There is also a high concentration of vitamins, especially vitamins of groups B and E.
The maqui berries are also credited with the ability to stimulate the production of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL), reducing ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL).
There also seems to be a mild anti-inflammatory effect especially in favor of the oral mucous membranes and the upper respiratory tract, therefore this fruit can be indicated for colds and seasonal ailments.
How to lose weight with maqui?
Being usually associated with a fat-burning remedy, maqui can be recommended in slimming diets, promoting rapid disposal of excess fat; on the other hand, it seems that this fruit can cause a potential constipation effect due to its astringent effect which makes it useful in case of dysentery.
The berries can be consumed natural or the juice can be taken, especially recommended for those who need to support sports performances: alternatively, these berries can also be taken in powder form to be dissolved and mixed in a yogurt or in a glass of fruit juice. But these berries can also be consumed – fresh or dried – in other ways or act as a base for other preparations.
Some recipes with maqui
Below are some ideas for using these berries in the kitchen:
- Maqui smoothie: This is perhaps the most obvious idea. You can use fresh or frozen maqui as desired, a banana, half a cup of Greek yogurt, half a cup of milk (you can also use non-dairy milk) and a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup (optional, for sweetening). Blend everything until you obtain a creamy consistency: you get a fresh and nutritious drink.
- In fruit salads: Maqui lends itself to enriching any type of fruit salad, giving a pleasant exotic touch, perhaps in place of blueberries when we are out of season.
- In ice cream: Maqui ice cream can represent another pleasant variation. It should be prepared like any other berry ice cream.
- In meat sauce: Finally, a slightly more original use is this. Make a sauce with a cup of maqui, a couple of tablespoons of sugar, a spoonful of red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Cook everything in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens. Excellent for roasts or grilled meat.
Where to buy maqui
The maqui berry is typically grown in the wild in the Patagonian forests. It is considered a sustainable and environmentally friendly crop, as it grows naturally without the need for extensive cultivation practices.
Fresh maqui berries can be challenging to find in the USA. Maqui berries are native to South America, primarily in Chile and Argentina, and they are not commonly grown in the United States. As a result, finding fresh maqui berries in local markets or grocery stores in the USA may be difficult.
On the other hand, maqui berry products, including powders, juices, and capsules, are increasingly available in health food stores, specialty markets, and online retailers. Some consumers use these products as dietary supplements.
Does Maqui have any contraindications?
There are no known precise contraindications or side effects of any evidence linked to the consumption of maqui. In any case, it is always prudent to limit its intake together with other pharmacological treatments, especially if aimed at reducing cholesterol levels, given that maqui could amplify its effects.
As we anticipated, episodes of constipation have also occasionally been reported, probably linked to the astringent properties of the berry in question.
Curiosity: the maqui is a dioecious plant species, that is, a species in which the male and female reproductive organs are found on two distinct plants and whose reproduction requires a pollination process. This is a rarity in nature, as most plants are monoecious, or hermaphroditic, species. Examples of dioecious species, in addition to maqui, are papaya, pistachios, hops, spinach and asparagus.
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