7 Benefits of Maqui Berry, Nutrition, Recipes, And More

Reviewed by Gabrielle Kane, RDN, CSP, LD
Written by Sindhu Koganti, BTech (Biotechnology), Diploma In Nutrition

The nutrient-dense composition and antioxidants are responsible for the health benefits of maqui berries. These berries may help lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels and reduce inflammation. They also help one combat metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disorders. You can easily incorporate these berries into your smoothies, oatmeal, and desserts. Here, we will further discuss the benefits, ways of intake, and potential risks of maqui berries. Take a look.

What Is Maqui Berry?

Maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis) is an edible berry endemic from central and southern Chile. It appears dark purplish due to its rich anthocyanin content. Traditionally it was used by native South Americans as an astringent and an anti-laxative (1). It tastes similar to blackberries and has a rich nutrient profile like acai berries.

Find out the numerous health benefits of maqui berries in the next section.

What Are Maqui’s Health Benefits?

1. May Help Fight Free Radicals

Maqui is rich in antioxidants, especially anthocyanins. Antioxidants help fight free radicals and protect cells from oxidative stress, damage, and inflammation (2). Incorporating antioxidants into your diet may also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and cancer (3).

Other reports suggest that maqui berries have an exceptionally high anthocyanin content (4). In fact, the FRAP (ferric reducing activity power, the measurement of a food’s antioxidant capacity) for maqui was (12.32) significantly higher than many vegetables and fruits (5).

Maqui berry is the richest known source of antioxidants known as delphinidins (6). The berry extract may also improve oxidative status in healthy adults, overweight adults, and adult smokers (7).

2. May Help Fight Inflammation

Maqui berry has potent anti-inflammatory properties (8). It contains phenolics such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and organic acids (8). Consuming maqui berries can help fight inflammatory disorders like heart disease, respiratory ailments, diabetes, and arthritis. The berry extracts were found to improve resistance to respiratory infections while lowering oxidative stress in the lungs (9).

3. May Protect Against Heart Disease

Maqui berries have been linked with reduced heart disease due to their anti-inflammatory effect. Their extracts could help reduce inflammation in human aortic endothelial cells (10). The rich antioxidant and anthocyanin content in maqui berries may also help reduce the risk of heart attacks.

A 90-day clinical study used Delphinol (a maqui berry supplement) in prediabetic people. The supplement could reduce bad cholesterol levels (LDL). Lowering LDL may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disorders (11).

4. May Aid Blood Sugar Control

The delphinol found in maqui berry extracts may significantly lower blood glucose in prediabetic individuals(11). Daily intake of 180mg of maqui berry extract helped reduce blood glucose levels by 5%.

5. May Support Eye Health

Animal studies have reported that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of maqui berry extracts may help improve eye health. Maqui berry extract (MBE) was found to protect photoreceptor cells in mice (12). The major anthocyanins in MBE prevent the death of photoreceptor cells induced by visible light (12). However, more studies are warranted to understand if MBE has similar effects in humans.

Animal studies have reported that maqui berry extracts may help relieve dry eyes (13). A preliminary study in humans has also been promising (14). In general, eating berries or vegetables rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins have been found to support good vision.

6. May Improve Digestive Health

Maqui berries can help support gut health by promoting the growth of good bacteria. The dietary fiber in the berries can help improve digestive function and help prevent gastrointestinal issues.

Anthocyanins in diet have also been linked to gut health (15). However, further studies are needed to understand how anthocyanins influence the bacterial populations in the gut.

7. May Reduce Cancer Risk

A study published in the Journal of Berry Research reported the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of maqui berry extracts against human colon cancer cells (16). The study demonstrated that the anthocyanins, flavonoids, and organic acids in maqui extracts inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the colon (16).

These are the benefits of maqui berries. But how many of these can you take? How can you include them in your diet?

How Many Maqui Berries Should I Take?

There is not enough data to conclude the ideal dose of maqui berries. As per anecdotal evidence, taking 5 to 7 whole berries or 1 teaspoon or 2.5 grams of maqui berry powder could be ideal.

How To Eat

You can eat fresh maqui berries. However, juices and supplement powders are more popular alternatives. They can be added to your desserts, oatmeal, smoothies, or even yogurt. That said, juices and supplement powders can possibly cross the upper limit of maqui berries. Hence, talk to your doctor or certified nutritionist for better clarity in this regard.

You may also try the following maqui berry recipes.

  • Wild Maqui Berry Smoothie Bowl

You Will Need

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter or almond butter
  • 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons wild maqui berry powder
  • Toppings of your choice

Process

  1. Add the ingredients into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add more almond milk if you want the texture to be thinner.
  3. Serve in a bowl with your favorite toppings.
  • Maqui Berry Superfood Smoothie and Chia Pudding Jar

You Will Need

Layer 1: Chia pudding

  • 1 cup almond milk or any milk of choice
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup or your favorite natural sweetener
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract or powder

Layer 2: Maqui berry smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup almond milk or any liquid of choice
  • 1 tablespoon freeze-dried maqui powder

Toppings (optional):

  • Few blueberries
  • A drizzle of homemade coconut yogurt
  • Edible flowers

Process

  1. To prepare the chia pudding mix the seeds, liquid, sweetener, and homemade vanilla powder or vanilla extract.
  2. Make sure you stir the mixture well to avoid clumps of seeds sticking together and sinking to the bottom of the mix. Place the mixture covered in the fridge and leave it to thicken.
  3. Place the bananas in the freezer too, ready to be used in the smoothie when frozen.
  4. When you’re ready to serve the chia pudding jars, simply blend all the smoothie ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
  5. Layer the smoothie over the chia pudding in your cups/mason jars and add the toppings of your choice.

Precautions

There have been no known reported cases of adverse reactions to maqui berries. However, they may cause allergic reactions to certain individuals. If you experience any allergies, stop use and visit a doctor.

Key Takeaways

  • Maqui berry has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may improve digestive health, and reduce the risk of cancer.
  • The recommended dose for maqui powder is a teaspoon, while about five berries can be consumed daily.
  • You can add maqui berries or powder to juices, desserts, smoothies, and more.
  • While these berries are considered safe, some people may be allergic to them.

Maqui berries’ benefits go beyond their delicious taste. They are frequently featured in confectioneries, a popular breakfast topping option, and a nutritious dietary supplement. Maqui berries are loaded with potent antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help promote overall health. They can help promote heart, gut, and eye health. In addition, maqui berries may help reduce the harmful free radicals present in your body and relieve inflammation. They may also aid in blood sugar level management. Consuming these berries regularly can offer you great benefits. However, when used in excess, it can cause problems. If you experience any adverse effects, limit the use and seek medical advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do maqui berries taste like?

Maqui berries taste sweet and tart, almost similar to blackberries.

Does maqui berries have vitamin C?

Yes, maqui berries contain vitamin C. However, there is unclear information about the amount of vitamin C these berries contain.

Do maqui berries help with weight loss?

Maqui berries are nutrient-rich and low on the glycemic index. They may help weight management.

Are maqui berries the same as acai?

No, maqui berries are different from acai berries. But they are both superfoods rich in antioxidants and are popular as nutrient supplements.

References:

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Gabrielle Kane

(MS, RDN, CSP, LD )
Gabby is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and the founder of Peak Performance Nutrition LLC in Houston, Texas. She coaches both... more

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