Reversing the damage done to our health by the Standard American Diet requires a tactical strategy: avoid the temptations of processed fast junk foods and opt instead for organic and fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lots of water, and of course, plenty of exercise. But it certainly won't hurt—and may even help significantly—to add in superfoods, those nutrient dense powerhouses of goodness like the mighty maqui berry.
A relative latecomer to the burgeoning superfood category, the maqui berry makes up for lost time with its super nutrition. This member of the evergreen shrub family (Aristotelia chilensis) can be found growing throughout southern Chile where it has been a staple food among the Mapuche Indians for millennia.
These dark purple berries are reported to contain more antioxidants than any other food on earth! The ORAC scale, which measures the antioxidant potency of a food puts the maqui berry at a value of over 27,000—more than four times the antioxidant strength of the blueberry and nearly double that of the açai berry!
The maqui berry is rich in anti-aging and immune-boosting flavanoids (anthocyanins and polyphenols) along with anti-inflammatory compounds. It fights free radical cellular damage, which can support healthy cardiovascular function, regulate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and may actually help you to lose weight. It's also an excellent source of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron.
Not only are bad-for-us foods everywhere, but some of them taste pretty darn good, too—while some of those healthy foods aren't the easiest to get down. (Wheatgrass; you know it’s true.) But, the maqui berry tastes delicious. While fresh berries are not an option stateside, the dried berry is a worthy investment. Whole dried berries or even maqui powder (Navitas Naturals has an excellent powder) can be mixed into smoothies or fresh juices, or added to yogurts, granolas, trail mixes or dessert recipes.
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Image courtesy of Navitas Naturals