What is Guarana?
Guarana, or Guaraná in Portuguese and Guarana Paullinia cupana in Latin, is native to the Amazon basin and is most widely found in Brazil. This amazing plant is well-known for its fruit, which serves many uses and benefits. The Guarana fruit is often red to brown in colour on the outside with white arils (the fleshy part that covers the seed) and then a black seed.
As a result of the unique colouring and shape of the fruit, when opened it often looks like an eyeball which is where it gets its name; it has origins in the Sateré-Maué word warana, which means ‘fruit like the eyes of the people’. This is what makes it so unique and interesting across the world and was one of the reasons it was first brought over to Europe in the 16th Century.
Alongside eating as a raw fruit, there are many traditional uses for the plant. The Guaraní people wound shell, wash and dry the seeds to use it in a tea. These seeds would then be pounded into a fine powder to use into dough to make guarana bread. In modern times, it is now most commonly used in guarana energy drinks and other types of carbonated soft drinks. In Brazil, it is also used in a fermented drink that also includes cassava and water.
The Guarana seed is packed full of caffeine, and is actually said to have 4 to 6 times more caffeine than coffee beans! This means it is a powerful natural stimulant, which is why it is so widely used in many different brands of popular energy drinks. The plant contains caffeine as a natural defence to herbivores but is completely safe for us, so is a great choice if you’re looking to give your morning a boost or if you’re having a late night.
As the seeds contain the stimulant caffeine, many use it for drive and focus. This is why you or others you’ve seen may have an energy drink during a long night or when there is a lot of work to do. The caffeine in Guarana can also make you feel more alert and awake. This makes it ideal for students and for those that need to give their focus a boost to get something done!
Due to the levels of caffeine in Guarana, many say it can be beneficial for weight loss. This is because caffeine, and other stimulants similar to caffeine, can increase metabolism, meaning the body burns fat and calories at a better rate. As a result of this, Guarana has become popular in many weight loss products and dietary supplements.
Guarana contains compounds which have amazing antioxidant properties, including theobromine, tannins, saponins and catechins. These work to neutralise free-radicals caused by things like pollution, smoking, alcohol and radiation. This means they are protective of the body and can help defend against cellular damage such as to the brain, heart and skin.
Did you know there were also guarana benefits for skin? Due to the high levels of antioxidants found in the fruit and seeds, it can help look after the skin. Free-radical damage is one of the key reasons for premature ageing, so Guarana is essentially anti-ageing! By taking Guarana, you can help with wrinkles, fine lines and crows feet and generally keep the skin feeling and looking healthy.
Another of the effects of guarana seeds can be an improvement in heart health. The first way it does this is because it is said that the antioxidants can help with blood flow to reduce the risk of blood clots. It may also help decrease the oxidation of ‘bad’ cholesterol that can lead to many issues including heart disease and heart attacks. This research is still ongoing though for full results.
The best way to take Guarana
Whilst it can be hard to get the raw fruit into your daily routine, there are many easy ways to get Guarana into your diet. The most popular is in a guarana supplement, either in the form of pills or powder. The best guarana dosage for a pill is suggested at a minimum of 250-300mg daily, but for the best results we suggest something stronger, so shop around to find the best. These can be easily added to your diet and are great for convenience.
If you prefer a guarana powder, on the other hand, these are ideal for those that drink regular smoothies or shakes or want to try it out in some recipes. Why not try an energising Guarana smoothie for the morning, some Guarana biscuits for a healthier snack or chocolate truffles with Guarana to treat yourself! You can also try adding it to your own recipes for a fun twist.
Is Guarana safe?
As Guarana naturally contains caffeine, it does have a few minor side effects to consider, including dizziness, restlessness and insomnia. This, however, is only when taking too much caffeine, so make sure you always follow the recommended dose on Guarana pills and powders. Otherwise, it has been deemed safe for consumption, so there isn’t much to worry about.
When choosing the best Guarana supplement for you, make sure to pick one that is natural and contains no added fillers, binders or other unwanted ingredients. It is also highly recommended to buy from somewhere you trust to avoid any unusual guarana side effects as a result of a bad product.
Guarana is an excellent superfood that is ideal if you’re looking for a natural energy boost or a simple way to look after your body. It has some excellent benefits thanks to its caffeine and antioxidants, just make sure you follow recommendations on any supplements to keep safe and always stick to natural products.