What is Guarana?
Guarana is an effective energy booster. Guarana seeds are rich in caffeine and contain up to 4-8% caffeine, more than coffee beans, which contain approximately 1-2.5% caffeine. The seeds are also rich in tannins and xanthine alkaloids theophylline and theobromine.
The Guarana fruits color ranges from brown to red and contains black seeds which are partly covered by white arils. Guarana can be found in powder or pill form. It is an ingredient in energy drinks, sodas, and other beverages.
One of guaranas most well-known benefits is its ability to boost your energy, which is why guarana is added to various energy-boosting products, like energy bars. Most energy bar recipes that use guarana also include fruits and natural sweeteners to mask its very bitter taste, along with coconut oil to add healthy fat.
History Of Guarana
The word guarana comes from the Guaraní word guara-ná, which has its origins in the Sateré-Maué word for the plant, warana, that in Tupi-Guarani means “fruit like the eyes of the people.”
Guarana plays an important role in Tupi and Guaraní Paraguayan culture. According to a myth attributed to the Sateré-Maué tribe, guarana’s domestication originated with a deity killing a beloved village child. To console the villagers, a more benevolent god plucked the left eye from the child and planted it in the forest, resulting in the wild variety of guarana. The god then plucked the right eye from the child and planted it in the village, giving rise to domesticated guarana.
The Guaranís would make an herbal tea by shelling, washing and drying the seeds, followed by pounding them into a fine powder. The powder is kneaded into a dough and then shaped into cylinders. This product is known as guarana bread, which would be grated and then immersed into hot water along with sugar.
This plant was introduced to European colonizers and to Europe in the 16th century by Felip Betendorf, Oviedo, Hernández, Cobo and other Spaniard chroniclers. By 1958, guarana was commercialized.
Nutrition Value of Guarana
When it comes to nutrition, the guarana seeds are not rich or highly varied in vitamins or minerals, but these seeds do contain high levels of caffeine, often more than twice the concentration of caffeine in coffee. Furthermore, there are significant amounts of catechins and epicatechins in these seeds, powerful antioxidants that are also found in green tea.
100 gm of Guarana contains:
- Calories: 96
- Protein: 50 g
- Carbohydrate: 1 g
- Sodium: 6mg
- Potassium: 146 mg
- Calcium: 18 mg
- Vitamin A: 133 mg
- Vitamin C: 90 mg
Health Benefits of Guarana
1. Aids in Weight Loss
Guarana is classified as a metabolic stimulant, which means it helps consumers burn more calories throughout the day because of its caffeine contents. Overall, it increases fat (lipid) metabolism, enhances weight loss, and increases the amount of energy used for basic metabolic function, such as breathing and digestion.
Guarana may prevent the generation of fat altogether by decreasing the production of genes that contribute to the fat generation and increasing the production of genes that prevent it.
2. Reduces Cancer Risk
Guarana contains anti-cancer compounds (catechin, epicatechin, ent-epicatechin and procyanidins B1, B2, B3, B4, A2, and C1. They delay the growth of, and induce cancer cell death in human colon and breast cancer cells
In mouse models, guarana inhibited, delayed, or reversed the growth and formation of cancers and metastases, reduced tumor cell formation, increased tumor cell death in melanoma colonies, and reduced the incidence of visible liver tumors.
3. Skin Care
The protein content and antioxidant properties in guarana make it an ideal food for the skin. It can also be added to face masks to improve skin tone. It also helps treat acne and reduce the appearance of scars; it also acts as a moisturizer and keeps the skin looking healthy and supple.
4. Brain Health
Guarana has omega 3 and omega 6 which are excellent promoters of brain development and health. Good fats ensure that the nerves in your brain are functioning properly and that your memory will stay intact even as the mind ages. Sufficient amounts of good fats can keep memory-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and nerve related diseases such as Parkinson’s at bay.
5. Aids in Digestion
Guarana has a good amount of fiber which is essential for the regulation of bowel movements and to maintain overall gut health. A healthy gut is often guaranteed that the rest of the body will remain disease-free.
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6. Stress Reduction
Guarana is an excellent source of caffeine along with chemical compounds which make us feel better. This is helpful in alleviating mood and clarifying the mind, it is often used as a part of anti-stress medication and being a natural source of caffeine is useful for the body.
7. Heart Health
Guarana is essential for cardiovascular system. It is a stimulant which provides adequate blood circulation and also helps remove the excessive accumulation of fat in the arteries due to its fiber content. Its chemical composition also shows antioxidant properties which keep the free radical activity to a minimum.
8. Analgesic Properties
Guarana has shown antibacterial and pain-killer like abilities which are very useful for people who have sustained an injury or are suffering from headaches and migraines. This reduces the pain a great deal and was used for this purpose by the Amazonian tribes.
9. Energy Boost
It is an amazing stimulant and energy booster, this keeps the energy levels of the body high due to its caffeine content but is better than coffee as it also contains protein and fiber which provide nutrition to the body instead of empty calories.
10. Hair Health
Guarana has excellent protein amounts and fatty acids which help build hair follicles and also keep the base of the scalp dandruff free. Oral consumption is very beneficial, but adding it to your shampoo or using the water in which these berries have been boiled can be very useful as a rinse.
11. Energy and Metabolism
Like any other stimulant, this supplement is able to increase your energy levels and can stimulate your metabolism, which can help in fat-burning and weight loss efforts.
This supplement can provide clarity and relieve headaches when taken in moderate doses. However, the headache may return when the supplement wears off.
14. Appetite Suppressant
Caffeine is a well known as an appetite suppressant, so this caffeine-rich supplement can similarly help to relieve the cravings for junk food between meals.
15. Sex Drive
By boosting circulation and blood flow to the body’s extremities, this supplement does have some aphrodisiac qualities and can help overcome fertility issues.
This supplement has anti-inflammatory capabilities, which can reduce the discomfort of arthritis and other common conditions, such as gout and irritable bowel syndrome.
17. Cardiovascular Health
Some studies have found that consuming this supplement helps to keep your heart healthy, thanks to the antioxidants present in this supplement, and the positive effects it can have on circulation.
The extract is known to cure a fever by enhancing the body’s eliminations of toxins.
19. Blood Thinner
Caffeine and catechins, in guarana seeds, are linked with anti-platelet aggregatory activity and act as a blood thinner, effectively preventing blood clots.This could help reduce the risk of thrombosis and cardiovascular disease.
The guarana plant is traditionally used to help prevent and treat malaria.
Many people take guarana supplements, or they have the powder that they can mix into their smoothies or juice blends. There isn’t a clear dosage restriction on this substance, but most experts do not recommend consuming more than 800 mg per day.
Guarana vs Caffeine
- Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant.
- Guarana contains a high level of caffeine – up to 6% by weight!
- Guarana has other beneficial antioxidants, whereas caffeine is a singular compound.
How to use Guarana?
Traditionally, people used to take ½ to 1 cup of Guarana seeds infusion once to thrice every day. A tincture prepared in the proportion of 4:1 is also advisable twice a day.
If you are using the supplement in the form of capsules or powder, limit the intake to 3 to 6 grams, divided equally over three doses.You can use the powder in a multitude of ways
1. Guarana Tea/ Coffee- Make the tea by adding boiling water, tea bag / coffee , milk and sugar to 1 tsp of powder
2. Smoothies- Mix up to 1 tsp of powder with fruit , juices and yogurt
3.Juice – Mix up to 1 tsp powder into your favorite juice.
Precautions While Using Guarana:
While studies advise that 300 milligrams of caffeine intake per day is usually safe and beneficial for most of the adults, you should be careful about your consumption.Always consult your doctor before partaking any stimulants and be on the lookout for any warning signs..
- Guarana seed extracts are known to trigger nervousness, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, heart palpitations, and high levels of blood pressure in some, it is advisable not to exert while using this supplement.
- Pregnant women should stay away from this supplement as studies show that intake of caffeine in excessive amounts (more than 300 mg daily) could hamper with fetal development, and even trigger miscarriage.
- Lactating mothers are also advised to keep a check on the inclusion of this supplement in the hurry to lose baby weight due to its appetite suppressing nature .It is profusely rich in caffeine.and may not be recommended while lactating.
- It is a potential source of caffeine and is not advisable to intake this supplement just before you hit the bed, especially if you are suffering from any kind of sleep disorders.
- As with all fruits, vegetables, and dietary supplements, Guarana also comes with a set of benefits and precautions. Cross check with your dietician and doctor before you embark on your journey with this caffeine loaded supplement to make use of it in the best way.
Guarana is a great energy booster as it contain almost twice the amount of caffeine as coffee beans. Since Guarana is extremely bitter and unpleasant when consumed with plain water, this smoothie recipe is a delicious way to enjoy the benefits of Guarana without the bad taste.
Servings: 2 Servings
- 1 tsp. Guarana powder
- 1 cup of unsweetened yogurt
- 1 banana, peeled and sliced
- 1 tbsp. clear honey Papaya (optional) – The banana can be replaced with a papaya
Place the Guarana powder, yogurt, banana and honey into your Ninja Blender and process until smooth. To obtain your desired consistency, add milk.
Guarana extracts can lead to insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, headaches, and high blood pressure and heart palpitations. Guarana is not recommended for women who are pregnant or lactating, because caffeine may cause miscarriage or may slow the growth of a developing fetus when given in doses greater than 300 mg a day.
Guarana contains substances called tannins, which can block the absorption of iron supplements and dietary iron.