Two "super berries" on the market claim to be beneficial supplements, packed with nutrients, antioxidants, omega fatty acids and fiber. Both the acai and maqui berries make health claims including detoxification and cleansing, antiaging, immune support, anti-inflammatory benefits and treatment for common issues such as sore throat and fever to more serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Both berries are undoubtedly nutritious, but there are some differences to consider when choosing which one to take.
Both the acai and the maqui berry come from South America. The small deep blue acai berry has been known for centuries by the indigenous people of the Amazon rain forest where the wild fruit grows on tall acai palm trees. The berries are made into a fruit pulp that, when flash-frozen, retains its antioxidant and vitamin properties even when shipped around the world. The deep purple maqui berry, which grows on small evergreen trees, has been used for hundreds of years by the Mapuche Indians of Chile and Argentina for its medicinal and antiaging benefits. Maqui extract is widely used as a coloring agent for Chilean wines.
The acai berry contains antioxidants and fundamental nutrients including vitamins A, C and E. It is rich in omega fatty acids. The maqui berry also has antioxidants and omega fatty acids, along with vitamins A and C and the minerals calcium, iron and potassium.
Omega Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats the body cannot make and are important for good health. Omega fatty acids have anti-inflammatory and anti-blood clotting properties. They help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reduce blood pressure in addition to possibly reducing risks of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, colitis, some cancers and mental decline, according to MedlinePlus, a website of the National Institutes of Health. Omega-9 fatty acid, or oleic acid, is a monounsaturated fat that the body can produce if the essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, are present. The acai berry contains omega-3 -6 and -9 fatty acids. The maqui berry contains omega-9 and omega-6 fatty acids but does not have any omega-3 fatty acid content.
Antioxidants in Acai Berries
Both acai and maqui berries contain an extraordinary antioxidant compound called anthocyanin, which is thought to have many health and antiaging benefits with its ability to neutralize free radicals in the body, combat tissue damage and strengthen the immune system. Acai berries contain 10 times more antioxidant vitamins than grapes and twice as many as blueberries. The antioxidant capacity of acai berries were proved in a 2006 study published in the "Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry," which tested freeze-dried acai fruit pulp and skin powder. The antioxidants in the acai were found to be exceptional against the peroxyl radical and could enter human cells in a fully functional form even at low doses. Conclusions suggested that acai contains anti-inflammatory and enhanced immune function potential.
Antioxidants in Maqui Berries
Maqui berries contain the highest antioxidant value of any known superfruit. Medical News Today reported that the ORAC value of the maqui berry was four to 30 times higher than the average acai berry. ORAC, developed by researchers at Tuff’s University, measures a food’s antioxidant ability to correct potential health imbalances. The pulp of the maqui has a 27,600 value per 100-gram serving as compared to 16,700 per 100-gram portion of the acai.
- A 2 Z of Health, Beauty and Fitness: The Benefits of the Acai Berry
- NWFP-Digest-L: Berries: Maqui Berry, Super Berry
- Medical News Today: Maqui Superberry: The Highest Antioxidant Superfruit
- MedlinePlus: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry: Antioxidant capacity and other bioactivities of the freeze-dried Amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (acai).
- Maqui-Orac: What Is Maqui Berry?