On your maqui, get set, go
BY FITNESS JOURNAL ON
When it comes to superfoods, there are few people more passionate about them than Kevin Glucina. Founder of Matakana Superfoods and a pioneer of organic growing in the 70s and 80s, Kevin spends much of his time immersed in research and development around superfoods.
If it’s plant- based and organic, chances are he knows all about it. Each month in Fitness Journal, Kevin (aka Dr G) will put the spotlight on a superfood, looking at where it comes from, what the benefits are and how to use it. With more than 30 years experience as a health practitioner, his knowledge on holistic health and superfoods has made Matakana SuperFoods a New Zealand-based world leader in the research and marketing of new foods from around the globe, containing unique qualities and super-nutrients.
Last year the chia seed was the hero product which took New Zealand by storm. This year it is the maqui berry – introduced by Matakana Superfoods to the New Zealand health industry.
One of the more recent ‘superfoods’ to be released in the USA and UK, the maqui berry (aristotelia chilensis) (truly it’s fun to say out loud!) is creating quite the buzz in berry and health industries around the globe.
Dubbed “the ultimate superfruit” the maqui berry has stunned health scientists and berry growers with its antioxidant score of around 95,000 u mol TE/100g – even higher than the acai palm berry from Brazil, and many times stronger than the blueberry.
– Immune Function
– Cell Protection
– Cardiovascular Health
– Rejuvenation of Skin
The maqui berry has been used for centuries by the Mapuche Indians of Patagonia in Chile as a customary food and medicine, with the Indians claiming it could cure a variety of ailments (including sore throat, kidney pain, ulcers, fever, haemorrhoids, inflammation, diarrhoea, lesions, migraines and scars).
As with most claims by indigenous people none were scientifically proven, but since the heightened interest in superfoods in the past five years, scientists have been taking a harder look at traditional foods that are held in high regard by native tribes, and it appears they have come up trumps with the Mapuche’s maqui berry.
The berry grows in the harsh hill country of Patagonia and is packed with powerful disease-fighting anthocyanins, phenolic compounds and other natural berry bioactives which are being studied for their ability to support the body’s natural defences against disease. There is mounting evidence that these powerful berry bioactives may support cardiovascular, lung, immune and musculoskeletal function, however just because a berry’s antioxidants shows promise in lab studies it doesn’t necessarily mean it will play out that way in human clinical studies.
The latest studies do show however that eating more fruit and vegetables reduces the overall chance of death from multiple health causes, a good reason to select a wide range of fruit and vegetables in your diet – including some with super in front of them.
The berry is said to taste like a cross between blueberry and cranberry, and the leaves and bark of the 3- 5m shrub-like maqui tree also have anti-viral medicinal qualities and are being studied for possible use in the pharmaceutical industry.