The “superfood” has become one of our most powerful allies in our constant quest to lose weight, boost our energy levels and stay healthy. Until recently, the Acai berry was unquestionably the superfruit of choice, hailed for its astonishing health benefits and unprecedented antioxidant value. Unprecedented until 2008, that is, when the discovery of the Maqui berry took the health-food world by storm. With two superfruits on the market, today’s health-conscious consumers have a tough choice to make. Take a look at the differences between the Acai berry and the Maqui berry in order to decide which fruit is the best dietary supplement for you.
Origin of the Superfruits
Both the Acai berry and the Maqui berry come from South America, where their naturally-occurring medicinal properties have been used for generations by the native populations. The Acai is the fruit of a palm tree found in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil, while the Maqui is the fruit of a shrub that grows in the Patagonia area of Chile and Argentina.
With the discovery of the Maqui berry, the Acai was displaced as the fruit with the world’s highest level of antioxidants. Antioxidant levels are measured using the ORAC scale, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and reflects a food’s ability to neutralize the impact of damaging free radicals. The Maqui’s ORAC value of 2500 is the highest of all known fruits and berries, and the Acai’s ORAC value of 1027 comes in at a distant second.
The antioxidants found in both berries come from the anthocyanins and polyphenols that give berries their blue, purple, or red colors. Although the Acai berry does contain significant levels of antioxidants, they are still only half that of the Maqui berry.
In addition to anthocyanins and polyphenols, both berries contain beneficial amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. One significant difference in the nutritional content between the two berries is that the Acai berry contains omega 3 fatty acids; the Maqui berry does not. Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential dietary component, famous for their many significant health benefits. If foods high in omega 3s aren’t part of your normal diet, the Acai berry may be a good choice for you. Otherwise, you should get omega 3s from supplements such as fish oil capsules.
Because the Acai berry has been known outside of South America for much longer than the Maqui, it has been the focus of more scientific research. While the Maqui berry is thought to have many potential health benefits, they haven’t been as widely demonstrated as those of the Acai berry. Maqui has been shown to inhibit bad (LDL) cholesterol and protect cells against free radical damage. Acai berry has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties.
The Maqui berry, being newer to the market, is not as readily available as the Acai berry. The techniques for harvesting, processing, and distributing Acai are already in place, and it can be found in a variety of forms at many locations. The technology for preparing the Maqui berry is not yet as advanced.
Acai Berry versus Maqui Berry: The Winner?
When it comes to choosing which berry is the best choice for you, the most important thing to remember is that both the Acai berry and Maqui berry are full of beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. They have both been used for centuries by native South Americans, and both are thought to have significant health benefits. The Acai berry is better studied, contains important omega 3 fatty acids, and is easy to find. However, the Maqui berry is a promising newcomer, with a staggering level of antioxidants and tremendous potential health benefits. Which berry you choose should depend on your lifestyle and particular dietary needs. Whatever choice you make, there’s no question that including antioxidant-filled berries in your diet is a great choice both for overall health and for weight loss.