Just as we finally learned how to say “açai,” there’s a new superfruit on the scene: maqui berry. Also known as Chilean Wineberry, maqui berry is an exotic dark-purple berry that originally hails from South America. It is mainly harvested by the Mapuche Indians of Chile who have used the stems, leaves, and berries for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. So while we may be late to the game, it’s not too late to start incorporating this incredibly nutritious berry into your diet.
What is a superfruit?
You might be thinking, “What makes a fruit super?” While the term is somewhat new, Oxford Languages defines a superfruit as a “nutrient-rich fruit considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” Many types of fruits are considered superfruits such as blueberries, goji berries, cranberries, and cherries to name a few. In addition to being potent sources of antioxidants, superfruits contain powerful phytonutrients—compounds that can only be found in plants that offer many health benefits and have been linked to prevention of specific diseases.
Even though our bodies naturally produce antioxidants—think: glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant—eating superfruits like maqui berry is a great strategy for supporting optimal antioxidant levels. As a reminder, antioxidants are powerful compounds responsible for combating free radicals which play a role in cell damage, inflammation, and disease over time.
What makes maqui berry so unique?
Maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis) has been deemed a superfruit due to its exceptionally high content of potent antioxidants. In fact, research shows that maqui berries contain up to 3x more antioxidants than blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. More specifically, they are especially high in a group of antioxidants called anthocyanins, the compound responsible for giving the fruit its deep purple color (this is why I preach eating colors of the rainbow!). Anthocyanins have been shown to have heart-protective benefits and may even lower “bad” LDL cholesterol which is associated with heart disease.
But it doesn’t stop there. Maqui berries’ health-promoting nutrients also include flavonoids and ellagic acid which have anti-inflammatory properties to support immune, cardiovascular, skin, and eye health.
How can I add this superfruit to my diet?
Unless you’re living in South America, it is unlikely that you will find fresh maqui berries. Luckily, however, maqui berry is available as a juice or powder online or in many health food stores. Maqui berry powder is a great option since freeze-dried maqui is much more common. Studies show this to be one of the best drying methods to preserve the most natural antioxidants. Try adding maqui berry powder to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, energy balls, and desserts.
Categorized under Wellness