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Guarana: Benefits Of The Exotic Seeds Of Energy

Native to the Amazon, Guarana is a Brazilian climbing plant valued for its fruit and its seed. A member of the maple family, Guarana belongs to the Sapindaceae and is scientifically termed as Paullinia cupana. Although the plant is commonly found in Brazil, the seeds are largely produced in parts of Paraguay as well.

The guarana fruit resembles the human eye in its shape, and has an attractive red shell encasing the white aril covered black seed. [1] The properties of the Amazonian fruit is not limited to brewing but extends to the medicinal application as well.

In the contemporary health-conscious society, Guarana's medicinal properties are exceptionally valued. Guarana was widely used as an 'energy drink' by the Amazonian tribes during the hunting season due to the exuberance of caffeine, and the scant amount of theophylline and theobromine present in it.

Fairly small in size, you should not mistake the guarana berries for any ordinary berry. The exotic berries encompass a plethora of benefits that can do good to our bodies. The red exotic berry is a natural source of immense energy, making it a favoured ingredient in various beverages, especially energy [2] drinks.

Nutritional Value Of Guarana

The calories in guarana seeds amount to 96 kcal. The guarana seeds also consist of a minute 0.39 g of omega 6 fatty acids, 0.15 g of omega 3 fatty acids, 0.49 g of saturated fatty acids and 0.54 g of polyunsaturated fatty acids.[3]

100 grams of guarana seeds contain approximately:

• 1 gram carbohydrates

• 50 grams protein

• 2.95 grams fat

• 12.21grams fibre

• 4.6 grams caffeine

• 1.31 grams monosaturates

• 6 milligrams sodium

• 146 milligrams potassium

• 18 milligrams calcium

• 133 milligrams vitamin A

• 90 milligrams vitamin C

Health Benefits Of Guarana

A natural source of energy, the benefits of guarana on the human body are plenty. Check them out below.

1. Helps in weight loss & maintenance

The critical role played by caffeine in the journey of weight loss is globally known. The exotic fruit from Brazil has the dual property of not only aiding the process of weight loss but also helps in maintaining weight, which you do not usually see in fruits of similar nature.The high caffeine content of the guarana seeds acts as the catalyst for weight loss. Studies reveal the impact of the seeds on the nervous system causing the generation of lipolysis, where the fats released during exercise are converted to energy; thereby helping you in maintaining the weight. Likewise, the fruit is said to possess appetite-suppressing properties, thus limiting you from constant binging.[5]

2. Eliminates menstrual problems

A godsend for women suffering from constant menstrual pain and irregular cycle, the guarana seeds work wonders. Incorporation of guarana seeds into your daily diet can help you get rid of the tiredness and the premenstrual symptoms. Although there has been no scientific proof for this, the age-old practices with positive results accord to its effectiveness.[6]

3. Promotes better mental health

The guarana seeds possess the ability to improve your blood flow and circulation, thereby enhancing and promoting your mental health. An efficient system of blood circulation helps in eliminating fatigue, migraine and headaches.[7]

4. Improves quality & appearance of skin

The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the guarana seeds make it the most favourite ingredient of the cosmetic industry. It is commonly found in antiageing lotions, creams, soaps and hair products. The caffeine content in guarana also contributes to the appearance of your skin by abating skin troubles such as wrinkles and saggy skin, which has been proven by scientific studies.[8]

5. Improves digestion

The natural detoxifying nature of guarana helps in improving your digestive system. The presence of tannins (plant-based antioxidants) that have the ability to bind and contract the tissues aids in relieving chronic diarrhoea. In a way, guarana has the dual property of a laxative and astringent. The caffeine and the tannins work separately to improve your digestion. That is, the caffeine works in relieving constipation through the stimulation of your colon and intestines.

6. Reduces stress & anxiety

Guarana seeds have been widely known for its role in relieving stress and anxiety. Although there is no scientific evidence to back this up, the seeds are known for its calming properties. The caffeine content in guarana seemingly improves your mood and feelings of well-being. Anyhow, the dosage of intake has to be controlled, or else can negatively impact your level of anxiety.

7. Promotes heart health

The antioxidants present in the guarana seeds play a major role in your heart's health, by improving the blood flow and removing the blood clots. Several studies have shown the impact it has on diminishing the oxidation levels of 'bad' LDL cholesterol that causes the development of plaque in your arteries. Basically, the consumption of the seeds shields one against the heart diseases; keeping them at bay.[9]

8. Acts as an energy booster

The ample amount of caffeine in the red wonder acts as a natural source of energy. The role of caffeine as an energy booster is obviously acknowledged. Considered to be a natural stimulant, guarana prevents fatigue and supplies energy to your brain by blocking the impact of adenosine which helps your brain relax. It is also known as 'nature's rocket fuel', as the flavonoids and alkaloids present in guarana stimulate your central nervous system and myocardium; thereby enhancing your alertness and reducing fatigue.[10]

9. Possesses antibacterial properties

The guarana seeds are encompassed of components that possess antibacterial properties. Studies have revealed the guarana seeds' capability to diminish the growth of harmful bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans, Escherichia coli etc. It is believed that the combined role of catechins or tannins (caffeine and plant-based compounds) are responsible for the antibacterial nature of guarana seeds.[11]

10. Acts as a painkiller

The caffeine in the guarana seeds acts as an analgesic. That is, by stimulating the circulation of blood, the caffeine present in seeds aids in reducing any sort of physical pain. It is mostly used to gain relief from constant migraines, headaches and menstrual pain.[12]

11. Increases libido

The presence of caffeine in the guarana seeds acts as a natural aphrodisiac. The inclusion of guarana in your diet can enhance and stimulate your libido, thereby help you to lead a euphoric, passionate life.[13]

Guarana - How To Use It?

You may think that as guarana is a berry, it can be consumed as it is. Well, that's where you are mistaken! The exotic texture and look of the berry can confuse you into consuming it right off the bat. Customarily, the seeds of the guarana berry are used by people to acquire the benefits of it. Guarana seeds are available in the form of powder, capsules, liquids and even chewing gum. The powder can be infused in your daily beverages such as tea, coffee or even smoothies. You must be careful to limit the use of the powder to 3 to 6 g per day, which should be equally divided among three or four doses. [4] The guarana seed powder can be incorporated in your daily diet in various ways, such as;

• You can mix 1 tsp guarana powder into any juice you prefer.

• 1 tsp of powder can be mixed with yoghurt or fruit smoothies.

• You can make guarana tea or coffee by adding boiling water, coffee powder/tea bag, sugar and milk (optional), and 1 tsp of guarana powder.

Precautions While Using Guarana

Like any other herb or fruit, guarana also comes with certain side effects. Although it is safe when consumed in the correct proportion, the following cautions have to be taken into notice.

1. May affect pregnant women and lactating mothers

It is applicable to consume guarana seeds during pregnancy, however, taking it in high doses (more than 200 mg) may result in miscarriage and healthy development of the fetus. It is advised that lactating mothers stay away from consumption as it can negatively impact the health of your newborn.[14]

2. Can cause extreme anxiety

Though it has been advised that guarana seeds can reduce the level of anxiety, the increased consumption can trigger anxiety due to the overdosing of caffeine.[15]

3. Could be harmful to diabetes patients

Studies have revealed that the consumption of guarana can hinder the way individuals with diabetes are processing sugar (glucose), complicating their blood sugar control.[16]

4. Can cause seizures

Individuals prone to episodes of seizures are advised against the consumption of guarana, due to the presence of caffeine. The caffeine has the possibilities of hindering the proper functioning of the medications used to limit and control seizures.[17]

View Article References
  1. [1] Clement, C., Cristo-Araújo, D., Coppens D’Eeckenbrugge, G., Alves Pereira, A., & Picanço-Rodrigues, D. (2010). Origin and domestication of native Amazonian crops. Diversity, 2(1), 72-106.
  2. [2] Schimpl, F. C., da Silva, J. F., de Carvalho Gonçalves, J. F., & Mazzafera, P. (2013). Guarana: revisiting a highly caffeinated plant from the Amazon. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 150(1), 14-31.
  3. [3] Mazzafera, P., de Carvalho Gonçalves, J. F., Schimpl, f. C., & Da Silva, J. F. (2013). Guarana: Revisiting a highly caffeinated plant from the Amazon.
  4. [4] Moustakas, D., Mezzio, M., Rodriguez, B. R., Constable, M. A., Mulligan, M. E., & Voura, E. B. (2015). Guarana provides additional stimulation over caffeine alone in the planarian model. PloS one, 10(4), e0123310.
  5. [5] Dulloo, A. G., Geissler, C. A., Horton, T., Collins, A., & Miller, D. S. (1989). Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49(1), 44-50.
  6. [6] Baratloo, A., Rouhipour, A., Forouzanfar, M. M., Safari, S., Amiri, M., & Negida, A. (2016). The role of caffeine in pain management: a brief literature review. Anesthesiology and pain medicine, 6(3).
  7. [7] Lara, D. R. (2010). Caffeine, mental health, and psychiatric disorders. Journal of Alzheimer's disease, 20(s1), S239-S248.
  8. [8] Herman, A., & Herman, A. P. (2013). Caffeine’s mechanisms of action and its cosmetic use. Skin pharmacology and physiology, 26(1), 8-14.
  9. [9] Subbiah, R., & Yunker. (2008). Studies on the nature of anti-platelet aggregatory factors in the seeds of the Amazonian herb guarana (Paullinia cupana). International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 78(2), 96-101.
  10. [10] ngelo, P. C., Nunes-Silva, C. G., Brígido, M. M., Azevedo, J. S., Assunção, E. N., Sousa, A. R., ... & Freitas, D. V. (2008). Guarana (Paullinia cupana var. sorbilis), an anciently consumed stimulant from the Amazon rain forest: the seeded-fruit transcriptome. Plant Cell Reports, 27(1), 117-124.
  11. [11] da Fonseca, C. A. S., Leal, J., Costa, S. S., & Leitão, A. C. (1994). Genotoxic and mutagenic effects of guarana (Paullinia cupana) in prokaryotic organisms. Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology, 321(3), 165-173
  12. [12] Policy, G. M. O., & wOrKs Rental, P. Guarana (Paullinia cupana).
  13. [13] Smith, N., & Atroch, A. L. (2010). Guaraná's journey from regional tonic to aphrodisiac and global energy drink. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 7(3), 279-282.
  14. [14] Morgan, S., Koren, G., & Bozzo, P. (2013). Is caffeine consumption safe during pregnancy?. Canadian Family Physician, 59(4), 361-362.
  15. [15] Woods, D. J. (2012). Guarana: Paullinia cupana, P. sorbilis; also known as Brazilian cocoa and 'zoom'. Journal of Primary Health Care, 4(2), 163-164.
  16. [16] Seifert, S. M., Schaechter, J. L., Hershorin, E. R., & Lipshultz, S. E. (2011). Health effects of energy drinks on children, adolescents, and young adults. Pediatrics, peds-2009.
  17. [17] Spinella, M. (2001). Herbal medicines and epilepsy: the potential for benefit and adverse effects. Epilepsy & Behavior, 2(6), 524-532.

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