It is nearing the end of maqui berry harvest season in the Patagonia region of Chile, and native farmers are busy gathering the premium purple berries that they hand picked to be used in the new organic, freeze-dried Maqui Berry Powder from Navitas Naturals (http://www.navitasnaturals.com/). The rainforests of South America have become a legendary source for antioxidant-rich fruits, and maqui is the latest powerhouse to join the likes of acai and camu camu in the fast-growing international superfruit category. Studies on the phytochemical composition of the berry have found an abundance of health-promoting phenolic acids and anthocyanins, as well as other flavonoids.
Maqui has a unique, slightly tart taste that some describe as having hints of blackberry, blueberry, watermelon and acai flavors. Navitas Naturals’ dark purple maqui powder is ideal for smoothies and other beverage recipes, and is also recommended to be blended with yogurt, oatmeal and cereals. Maqui berry powder also adds a boost of nutrition, flavor and color to jam and dessert recipes. A recipe for Maqui Fudge Truffles is listed below, and more delicious maqui recipes are posted at http://www.navitasnaturals.com/recipes.
In the ancient culture of the Mapuche, Chile’s native inhabitants, the maqui plant is sacred and symbolizes goodwill. For centuries, maqui leaves and fruits have been used in traditional native herbal medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments. The growing body of modern scientific research on the maqui berry is now proving what the indigenous people have long known and cherished about this superfruit. A recent study published in Food Chemistry noted that phenolic extracts from maqui demonstrated antioxidant and cardioprotective activities in vivo.* The latest research, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in July 2010 states, “In summary, phenolic extracts from the berries of A. chilensis (maqui) inhibited lipid accumulation, adipogenesis, and inflammatory mediators in vitro.”**
While research studies like these specific to maqui are somewhat new, the body of research on the many active compounds found in maqui is rather extensive, such as research on antioxidants. ORAC assessments of the maqui berry by the most reputable ORAC labs have indicated that it contains more antioxidants than any other berry.
Antioxidants help protect the body from toxins, chemicals and free radicals that can cause harm and disease. They are also known to combat the effects and ailments associated with aging. In addition to being an abundant source of powerful anthocyanins and polyphenols, maqui is a great source of vitamin C, calcium, iron and potassium. Maqui also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can benefit people affected by arthritis and other inflammation ailments. There are indications that maqui may also be beneficial for weight loss programs.
Offered in an 3-ounce sealable pouch for $19.99, Navitas Naturals Maqui Berry Powder is freeze-dried, raw, kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and 100% organic. Navitas Naturals products are available at stores across the U.S. such as Whole Foods, and online at http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.navitasnaturals.com/.
About Navitas Naturals
Quality, Integrity & Food Safety Nutrient-rich whole foods are at their best when they are produced via organic agriculture and minimal processing methods. That is why all Navitas Naturals products are certified organic, and use methods such as freeze-drying to ensure maximum nutrition. Food safety is very important to Navitas Naturals, which is demonstrated by the rigorous third-party testing of their superfoods. Since 2003, Navitas Naturals has been committed to socially responsible business. Their direct purchasing partnerships create and expand fair trade opportunities for farming communities in developing regions around the world. In addition to maqui, Navitas Naturals offers a vast selection of organic superfoods such as raw cacao, hemp seeds, acai, maca, camu, pomegranate, chia seeds, and goji berries. http://www.navitasnaturals.com/ .
* Cespedes, C., ElHafidi, M., Pavon, N., and Alarcon, J. 2008. Antioxidant and cardioprotective activities of phenolic extracts from fruits of Chilean Blackberry aristotelia chilensis, Maqui, Food chemistry 107: 820-829.
** Schreckinger, E., Wang, J., Yousef, G., Lila, M.., and De Meija, E., 2010. Antioxidant Capacity and in Vitro Inhibition of Adipogenesis and Inflammation by Phenoilc Extracts of Vaccinium floribundum and Aristola Chilensis, Jounal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 58, 8966-8976.
Maqui Fudge Truffles
2 tablespoons maqui berry powder
2 tablespoons maca powder
1 tablespoons mesquite powder
6 tablespoons lucuma powder
½ cup cacao powder
¼ cup palm sugar
6 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ cup agave nectar, or maple syrup
In a medium food processor bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil, and agave or maple syrup, and mix again until combined. If mixing by hand, use clean hands to knead the mixture for one more minute. Roll into 1-inch balls and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes to solidify. (Makes 18 truffles)