Scientists have proved time and again just how important antioxidants are for our general health and wellbeing. According to the American Heart Association, however, we’re better off obtaining our antioxidants from naturally antioxidant-rich foods, which contain a combination of complementary nutrients, rather than from isolated antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin C and vitamin E tablets. And, there’s one supreme superfood source of antioxidants that positively outshines all others – maqui berry powder.
What is maqui berry powder?
Organic maqui berry powder is a highly concentrated powder made from the berries of the Aristotelianism Chilensis – an evergreen tree native to Patagonia. The small, dark purple berries, which are also known as ‘wine berries’, have been used by the Mapuche Indians as a traditional remedy for inflammation, diarrhoea and haemorrhoids, for millennia. Indeed, organic maqui berry powder is brimming with valuable nutrients, including protein, vitamin C, and the minerals, calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc. Yet, it is its extraordinarily high antioxidant content that makes organic maqui berry powder such a truly indispensible addition to our daily diet.
What are antioxidants and why do we need them?
Antioxidants are special compounds that help to prevent the molecules known as ‘free radicals’ from attacking and ultimately damaging the DNA of healthy cells. Left unchecked, this type of damage manifests in the visible signs of aging and can lead to a number of chronic illnesses, in particular heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and eye disease. Although our body manufactures some antioxidants of its own (which, incidentally, require a number of micronutrient cofactors, such as selenium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese, in order to be effective), we can augment these considerably by consuming plant foods that contain antioxidants in the form of phytochemicals. These antioxidants go to work during times of ‘oxidative stress’ – when there is an imbalance of pro-oxidants and antioxidants in our body, caused by exposure to a variety of different environmental factors, including pollution, toxins such as alcohol and medication, infection or poor diet. They actively target and destroy the resultant free radicals, strengthening our immunity and reducing our risk of illness as a consequence.
According to a recent report in the Daily Telegraph for example, an antioxidant-rich diet can cut our risk of heart attack demonstrably – the comprehensive Swedish study found that those women who benefited from the highest levels of antioxidants in their diet, were 20% less likely to suffer a heart attack over a 10 year period, than those who consumed the lowest amounts.
Maqui berry powder – supreme source of antioxidants
Organic maqui berry powder is an entirely natural product that has been freeze-dried in order to optimally preserve the powerful and highly beneficial properties of raw maqui berries, which contain the highest antioxidant value of any known fruit, super fruit or super berry. In fact, the flesh of the maqui berry boasts an ORAC rating of 27,600 per every 100 grams, which is more even than acai berries, which already score an impressive 16,700 per 100 grams. ORAC is the standard used by the US Department of Agriculture to measure the concentration of antioxidants in our food. Scientists from the American Archives of Nutrition have confirmed, with the help of the ‘FRAP’ (ferric reducing activity power) method, that no other fruit on our planet offers quite as much in vitro antioxidant capability as the mighty maqui berry. And, a 2008 study published in ‘Food Chemistry’ revealed that maqui berry extract has antioxidant qualities ‘in vivo’ too.
In addition to vitamin C, which is revered for its potent immune boosting properties, organic maqui berry powder contains the following antioxidants:
- Anthocyanins – the purple plant pigment that is responsible for the maqui berry’s deep purple colour. In fact, dried maqui berries contain a staggering 212 milligrams of anthocyanins per every 100 grams, which is more than any other fruit or berry. Anthocyanins are believed to be both anti-aging and immune strengthening, and recent research has linked the high anthocyanin content in maqui berries to an added ability to help prevent atherosclerosis (a hardening of the arteries), combat HIV and support healthy vision. Organic maqui berry powder contains the anthocyanins, delphinidin, malvidin, and petunidin, which may also help to prevent certain types of cancer, bacterial infections, diabetes, and a variety of neurological disorders.
- Polyphenols – antioxidants that are also found in red wine and are thought to support a healthy digestive system and boost longevity. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that those consuming 650 mg of polyphenols per day enjoyed a 30% lower mortality rate than those receiving less than 500 mg per day.
- Coumarin – an antioxidant, which is known for its ability to suppress the appetite and might therefore prove a useful aid to weight loss.
- Cyanidin – which has been associated with a decreased risk of cancer and may also help to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
- Triterpene – precursors to steroids found in natural plant products that promote wound healing and have expectorant, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
This unique combination of antioxidants helps to provide specific protection from five of the most common types of free radicals – ORAC (peroxyl), HORAC (Hydroxyl) NORAC (peroxynitrite), SOAC (Singlet oxygen) and SORAC (Superoxide anion) – and thus simultaneously strengthens our immune system, delays the signs of aging and ultimately improves our overall health and wellbeing.
How to incorporate maqui berry powder into your daily diet
Organic maqui berry powder is not only a supreme source of antioxidants; it also scores low on the Glycaemic Index and is thus suitable for diabetics, as well as all those following a vegetarian, vegan or rawfood diet. And, it boasts an intensely sweet and fruity flavour, making it a tasty addition to your favourite drinks and dishes. Try stirring a small amount of organic maqui berry powder directly into smoothies, shakes and juices, sprinkle over breakfast granolas, fruits salads and desserts, or use as an extra ingredient in raw chocolate, cakes and biscuits, for decidedly delicious results every time.
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