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

Written by Annie Jangam

Maqui berries are nutrient-dense and loaded with antioxidants. They help reduce inflammation and levels of cholesterol and blood glucose. They are an excellent choice to combat metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. These sweet and tart berries can be easily incorporated into your oatmeal, smoothies, and desserts. Here, we will learn more about the benefits, ways to eat, and probable 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?

Around 5-7 berries on average should be the upper limit for consumption. In powder form (maqui berry powder), the recommended daily dose is around one teaspoon or 2.5 grams.

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.

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.

Conclusion

Maqui berries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds. They help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. These delicious berries can be used as toppings on oatmeal, desserts, or yogurt. The freeze-dried maqui berry extract is a popular nutraceutical supplement. You can try out the recipes listed in this post and start including these berries in your diet. Taking them regularly can give you great benefits.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ 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 are a good source of vitamin C.

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.

16 Sources

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Annie Jangam is a Molecular Biologist with 7 years of research experience in Rice Functional Genomics and Nutrient Signalling with International Publications in Abiotic stress, Nitrogen, and G-protein signaling. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has been an avid reader since childhood and is passionate about stories that help decipher life and its meaning. She believes in Human Rights for all and that one should "love others like we love ourselves."
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