The composition, beneficial properties and contraindications of guarana
Guarana is an evergreen climbing vines, a member of the genus Sapindidae. It begins to bear fruit three years after "birth".
- What is guarana
- What it looks like
- Where it grows
- Composition and calories
- Useful properties of guarana
- General benefits
- For Women
- For Men
- During Pregnancy
- For children
- For weight loss
- For diabetes
- Guarana in cosmetology
- Anti-cellulite scrub
- Moisturizing Mask for Face
- Guarana in Sport Nutrition
- How to Take Guarana
- Extract of
- Vitamin complexes
- Harms and Contraindications
- Interesting Facts
What is guarana
In science, it is known as "Paullinia cupana", one of the varieties of the plant that grows in the valleys of the Amazon. It is valued because of its fruiting seeds, counted among the soap berries, a close relative of the litchi, longan and aki.
The history of the exotic fruit began with a legend of the Indian peoples, Tupi and Guarani, according to which a long time ago in a small village there lived a baby. The baby was loved by all the inhabitants of his settlement - from small to large. But an evil ruthless god killed the wonderful boy, who was friendly, helping the lonely old people and the homeless. The whole village population began to pine for him very much. To make the villagers happy and cheerful again, one of the generous gods planted the child's eyeballs in the forest and village, and after a while the guarana grew. This is how the locals explained the unusual appearance of the plant.
The grains contain caffeine in large quantities. Therefore, the name of the fruit can often be found in the composition of energy drinks as an additive. The tonic substance in the composition of the fruit not only increases energy levels, but also contributes to improving the skin and the loss of extra pounds.
To obtain the natural energy drink, the fruits with a pungent odor are used to extract the pulp and seeds, which are washed, dried, roasted if necessary and ground to a powdery consistency. The resulting mixture was used in ancient times by Amazonian tribes.
Bacteria, fungi, various pathogens due to the high percentage of pure caffeine are not afraid of the plant. The shrub can be compared to a weed in terms of vitality.
Brazilians have been using the fruit as food and medicine since the late 1950s. The production of the first drink based on it, launched by Luiz Barrett, started at the beginning of the twentieth century. Twenty years later, the sparkling wine "Antarctica" was invented, gaining recognition in many countries.
What it looks like
The shrub reaches 10-12 meters in height. It has large leaves and during flowering is studded with bunches of bright red inflorescences from which the bitterish fruits emerge. The latter are about the same size as coffee beans or grapes.
It is prized for its seed pods, which are about 7-8 cm long. They crack as they mature. The color palette of the capsules begins red and ends in brown. The black seed itself is located on a white seed pod. In appearance, if you look closely, the opened fruits resemble a human eye.
Where it grows
Guarana is also referred to as the Amazon chestnut, which is widely grown in South American countries. Since ancient times, it has been used as a means of payment by natives. The Tupi and Guaraní Indians took the fruit with them on their long and arduous journeys. During the latter, the enterprising participants obtained a powder from the seeds and treated wounds with it.
The plant is native to Brazil and Paraguay, located in the Amazon basin. Fruits are cultivated in Colombia, Peru, Venezuela. In all of these states, guarana has been cultivated for centuries. In Brazil, chestnut plantations are located in two sunny states: Bahia and Amazon.
Guarana begins to flower in early March, just as the rainy season ends. During the summer the fruits mature and are harvested by hand. The plant became widespread thanks to the German botanist Christian Paullini, who discovered it in the 18th century. Since then, the fruit has been used both to make drinks and to treat illnesses. But mentions of the plant are found both in 16th century writings by Oviedo, Cobo and Hernandez, and in treatises by Spanish chroniclers around the same time.
Composition and calories
It is known that of all the guarana shrub, people use only the seeds, ground into a powder. This mixture is then taken internally as a dietary supplement or added to cosmetic products. The caloric value per 100 grams is 25-26 and the GI ratio is 0.1/0/6.5, respectively. Compounds have been found in the composition of the seeds:
- essential oils;
- vitamins A, E, B and PP;
- xanthine alkaloids.
The action of the fruit of the Amazon chestnut has been compared to coffee, but it is longer in duration from the fruit kernels and has an effect on the stomach. If you need to mobilize your energy, guarana is an excellent way to concentrate on the task and get a boost of energy.
Guarana molecules are similar in composition to caffeine, they are absorbed gradually and gently, and don't irritate the stomach walls, as compared to coffee beans. And the stimulating effect of the substance is much stronger than its analogues - it lasts about 6-7 hours - and not only provides the maximum burst of energy, but also fights with excess weight.
Epicatechin and catechin belong to the group of powerful antioxidants, protect the vascular walls and the heart muscle from the damaging effects of free radicals, and effectively fight signs of aging.
Vitamins A, E, B and PP are otherwise called "beauty substances", they are necessary for the human body every day. Minerals, which include compounds of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, perform functions related to metabolic processes, which is important in the transition to a balanced diet.
The presence of tannic acids, which have mild antiseptic properties, allows you to stimulate both the brain and the nervous system.
Useful properties of guarana
Guarana seeds can have a stimulating effect that is about 5 times stronger than that of natural coffee beans. But at the same time, there is no overexcitation and palpitations.
Specialists do not recommend guarana as a dietary supplement, so it should not be used as an independent medicine. But Brazilian hunters have long used the fruit of the plant in the preparation of medicines. Some recipes have survived to this day:
- For severe emotional distress;
- frequent spasms and cramps all over the body;
- weight loss or gain of muscle mass;
- digestive problems;
- poor memory and cognitive problems;
- sexual dysfunction;
- headaches and migraines;
- a desire to increase stamina and strengthen the immune system;
- a desire to improve heart function and lower cholesterol;
- Severe hangovers.
Traditionally, guarana powder was used for high fevers, fevers, as a powerful aphrodisiac and as a prophylactic against infections. The Indians of Latin America were convinced that the fruit would cure hunger, fatigue, arthritis and stomach upsets. The indigenous peoples of the Amazon valleys attribute lifting functions to the plant, which is why they call it the fruit of youth.
The exotic fruit is a natural source of energy. Guaranín, a substance obtained from plant fruits, is as close as possible to caffeine in its chemical characteristics. After it enters the body, a strong "shaking" of the brain cells and stimulation of nerve endings takes place. This gives you an almost instant rush of energy and motivation to work.
It's important to know that the guarana seeds do not contain a very aggressive form of caffeine, but this only increases its stimulating effects. This kind of substance penetrates the cells gradually, but leads to overstimulation and addiction.
Guarana has a multitude of beneficial properties.
- Increased brain "strength." Studies have found that eating guarana seeds affects memory. One of the experiments proved the positive effect of low doses of the exotic product on memory and attention. In a study of another group of subjects, the effects of guarana seeds and ginseng were compared - the former significantly increases both productivity when performing complex tasks and the degree of concentration.
- High content of antioxidants. The benefits and harms of the fruit are due to certain components. The fruit contains a fairly large number of antioxidants, which can include molecules of caffeine, tannins, saponin, theobromine and catechin. Antioxidants are useful because they actively fight free radicals, preventing the formation of new ones and the progression of harmful oxidative damage to cells. Some studies have shown that antioxidants even protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic ailments.
- Preventing fatigue. Guarana fruit loaded with 6% caffeine has an effect on certain brain neurotransmitters, due to which the energy level rises and a burst of energy occurs. That is why coffee and energy drinks are used by humans to quickly regain energy after a hard day's work or emotional turmoil. One scientific study stated that the fruit reduces mental fatigue.
- Improved intestinal peristalsis. As far back as the Amazonian tribes, guarana was used as an effective natural remedy for GI disorders - diarrhea or constipation. The fruit helps soothe intestinal problems. Caffeine aids in the proper digestion of food and its proper movement through the GI tract. Stimulating the digestive tract prevents constipation. The tannin in guarana prevents the elimination of excess fluid from the body - this helps to relieve the symptoms of diarrhea faster.
- Beneficial effects on the heart and blood vessels. Guarana seeds protect the cardiovascular system from thrombosis and reduce the likelihood of attacks and strokes. Also, cholesterol oxidation and progression of atherosclerosis is reduced - the formation of arterial plaques with regular use of fruits does not happen.
- Ensuring a glowing skin. The exotic fruit is an excellent addition to any of the cosmetic procedures. This useful property is due to the high content of caffeine and antioxidants. The former protects the skin from harmful UV rays, which slows down the photo-aging process and visibly increases blood circulation. Cosmetic aids with guarana extract reduce sagging of tissues and minimize wrinkles around eyes.
- Cancer prevention. According to preliminary scientific evidence, Amazonian chestnut reduces the active growth and spread of certain cells that directly cause cancer in the liver, colon and breast. Guarana also activates anti-cancer chemotherapy reagents.
The useful properties of the exotic fruit for the body of ladies lie in its effect on the condition of the skin. Due to the substances in the composition, guarana kernels improve skin elasticity and prevent the premature appearance of fine wrinkles. This is possible thanks to an improvement in blood circulation.
Guarana also improves the metabolic processes by 8-10% on average, due to which, when taken regularly, it activates the process of losing weight. Studies have shown that the plant also suppresses those groups of genes, mainly in women, which are responsible for depositing fat.
For the representatives of the stronger sex, the fruit will be useful for problems with potency. The product is an aphrodisiac and a vasodilator. The problems in intimate life can be solved by regular moderate use of preparations based on the Amazon fruit.
For women in an interesting position, doctors recommend reducing the consumption of caffeine-containing products to 180-200 mg per day. Because of this, pregnant women should not eat exotic fruits. If the lady, who is expecting a replenishment, after eating the Amazon chestnut noticed a deterioration in her condition - the heart rate became more frequent, anxiety or headache appeared, then it is necessary to reduce the amount or stop taking it altogether. Pregnant women who consume too much caffeine, risk the health of the child - because there is an increased risk of birth defects of the fetus and premature delivery.
The use of exotic guarana and its derivatives is strictly forbidden during lactation and breastfeeding of a newborn. Neglecting this prescription threatens the development of diseases of the nervous system in infants and adversely affects the overall health of the woman.
Parents should know that guarana seeds contain about 5-6 times more pure caffeine compared to naturally roasted coffee beans. That is, if a child eats amazon chestnut, its components will have a negative effect on the nervous system - sleep will be upset, mood will change dramatically, there will be a feeling of irritability and anxiety. In this regard, doctors strongly advise to exclude the fruit itself and its derivatives from children's diet.
When losing weight
Amazon chestnut in the process of getting rid of extra pounds is necessary. When properly consumed, a person will not feel hunger, which means that overeating will be reduced. The product also helps to increase the level of heat production, which significantly increases the intensity of the rate of fat burning during physical activity by 10-12%.
Guarana speeds up the metabolism and supplies the necessary nutrients to the body. In this way, a slimmer person achieves their goal without harming their health. Manufacturers use guarana seeds in combination with other nutritional supplements as a raw material for fat burners.
As well as patients suffering from heart disease, epilepsy, insomnia, insulin-dependent people are allowed to take guarana fruits and their derivatives only after consulting a competent specialist.
Guarana in cosmetology
Amazon chestnut is rich in caffeine, which is why it is used as a powerful fat burner. The fruit is quite effective in the treatment of orange peel, because it contributes to the splitting of unaesthetic subcutaneous tubercles. Cachetins in the composition help to significantly reduce swelling in the form of dark circles and bruises under the eyes. Due to the ability to accelerate metabolic processes in the subcutaneous fat decreases the level of excess fluid accumulation in the tissues. The product has an exfoliating effect, further stimulating and toning the skin.
That is, in cosmetology, the product will be needed during procedures:
- to elevator and tone the skin;
- reduction of inflammation;
- elimination of dark circles;
- Strengthening of blood vessels.
For maximum effectiveness, you only need to follow the simple instructions.
To prepare a home remedy will require:
- Guarana powder - 3 tbsp.
- Olive oil - 1 tbsp.
- Natural coconut oil - 1/2 tsp.
To get the product, you just need to mix all the ingredients until a homogeneous consistency. After showering, apply the mixture to the steamed skin with massaging movements, it is possible to use a special stiff brush for the body. Do not overdo it, the skin should tingle slightly. Massage for 5-7 minutes, rinse with cool water, apply moisturizing lotion or anti-cellulite cream.
Moisturizing mask for facial skin
- Blue clay - 2 tbsp.
- Extract of guarana - 3-4 drops.
- Infusion of chamomile - 3 tablespoons.
- Lavender oil - 2-3 drops.
Mix all ingredients until homogeneous mushy. Apply to a face cleansed of all makeup products, you can wipe the skin with a cotton pad, moistened with lotion or micellar water. Massage the mask over your skin including your neck avoiding the sensitive eye area. Leave for 7-10 minutes. If you feel tight, moisten the mask lightly with your fingertips or with a sprayer. Then rinse off and apply moisturizing cream, repeat the procedure once a week.
Guarana in sports nutrition
This exotic fruit is also used for high levels of sports activity, either alone or in combination with pre-training complexes. The use of Amazonian chestnut affects:
- to increase endurance;
- improvement of general health;
- oxidation of fat;
- appetite suppression;
- feeling of vigor;
- minimization of pain;
- reduction of fatigue;
- acceleration of the breakdown of the unwanted lipid layer;
- mental concentration.
Thanks to guarana seeds, athletes are able to train harder than usual. After taking the supplements, blood pressure increases significantly in the body, which contributes to increased heart rate and accelerated metabolism. Due to the increase in glucose levels and the outflow of blood from the gastrointestinal organs, appetite is reduced.
Guarana is used immediately before the beginning of the training process. The dosage is negotiated with your doctor and ranges from 1000 to 4000 mg. The supplement should be taken before dinner because the guaranine molecules produce an invigorating effect.
In laboratory studies, it has been found that constant consumption of Amazonian chestnut powder in combination with linoleic acid reduces body fat and dries out muscles.
The fruit of the curly liana has been compared to good energizers. If we take into account that they are completely natural compared to caffeine, the tonic plant is simply indispensable for sports enthusiasts.
Because of its analgesic properties, the product is often used for sports injuries. Not only does it reduce the pain of sprains and strains, but it also speeds up the elimination of lactic acid from the muscles, so that discomfort during sporting activities disappears.
How to Take Guarana
Before you start taking remedies with Amazonian chestnut, you should consider such nuances:
- The dosage depends not only on the form of release and the purpose of taking, but also on the health characteristics of a particular person. The standard dose of about 400-500 mg is taken 2 times a day after meals.
- The powder is mixed with other liquids, its properties will not be affected.
- The last intake is 5-6 hours before going to bed.
The drink has refreshing and tonic properties. He will be most useful due to the antioxidant-polyphenols for people who live in an area with radiation.
To prepare the brew, you will need a teapot 350-400 ml, kitchen towel, 2-3 tsp. black or green tea and water heated to 85-87 degrees.
You need to boil water, wait until it cools to the desired temperature. Place in a teapot 1 tsp. of guarana seeds and tea leaves. Carefully pour water in a thin stream and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Tea is ready.
It is able to have both tonic and soothing effect, to relieve stress. To prepare an energy drink at home, you will need powder from Amazon chestnut, 1 tsp. which should be mixed with liquid.
Its properties are in direct relation to the form of use, so the dosage ranges from 200 to 800 mg. The extract significantly reduces the degree of fatigue, improves mood, normalizes the pulse, is often used for prolonged migraines or neuralgia, also relieves hangover syndrome.
Most of the active supplements based on Amazonian chestnut are useful for ensuring proper functioning of the nervous system, increasing coordination and increasing intellectual and physical endurance. Vitamin complexes based on guarana seeds are a natural source of caffeine, preventing irritation on the walls of the stomach and intestines.
Harms and contraindications
The main side effect is considered to be addictive. When addiction occurs, the guarana itself goes into the background, because the body wants more and more, and the person has to find stronger analogues.
In order not to turn into a kind of "junkie", you should not abuse the fruit. The optimal length of the course is three to five weeks. Overdose on the fruit will lead to unpleasant manifestations, which include:
- nausea and vomiting;
- painful cramps;
- malfunctions of the heart rhythm;
- abdominal pain;
- Stars or flickers in front of the eyes;
- decreased vision;
- ringing in the ears;
- redness of the skin;
- Cold sweat trails;
- involuntary muscle contractions;
- increased irritability;
- rapid urination;
- Tremors in the arms and legs.
If such symptoms occur, guarana supplements should be discontinued. Plant extracts of Amazonian chestnut have a number of contraindications. Preparations are strictly prohibited:
- in the case of breastfeeding;
- mental disorders and predisposition to them;
- under 18 years of age;
- Gastrointestinal ulcers;
- Severe cardiovascular disease;
- esophageal hernia.
Beware of guarana products if you are elderly or have atherosclerosis or arterial hypertension.
Even healthy people should start taking a new remedy with a small dose to check individual intolerance. There is no need to exceed the doses prescribed on the packages.
It is necessary to know that caffeine and theobromine are quite weak drugs, therefore when using guarana supplements psychological and physiological dependence may theoretically occur, and its pronounced manifestation is insomnia at night and sleepiness during the day, irritability and depression. Severe caffeine and theobromine poisoning can cause epileptic seizures, internal bleeding, cardiac arrhythmia and myocardial infarction.
In America, guarana has not been given GRAS status. The protocol excludes the fruit from all regulatory approval lists. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved the medicinal properties of Amazonian chestnut. A reputable organization in the U.S. has classified guarana as a food additive, so its use in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease is not possible.
- Tropical fruits have a positive effect on visual function, because they curb the effects of poor diet, bad habits and stress, which is important for fans of long work at a computer monitor and reading with a lack of light.
- European missionaries who visited the valleys of the Amazon in the XVII century noted that the indigenous inhabitants often used the usual guarana fruits because their seeds allowed them to go without drinking for a long time.
- Due to its chemical components - tannins - guarana caffeine has a longer lasting effect.
- In ancient times, powdered guarana was smoked for a long period of time.
- The tradition of Native American tribes was to pass an Amazonian chestnut drink at a formal event or gathering.
- A mixture of guarana with nuts and raw bird eggs is considered a powerful aphrodisiac.
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