Native to the ecoregion known as The Amazon Basin, Guarana (pron: g’wara-naa) is a climbing plant which produces a reddish brown fruit. The seeds from this fruit are ground down into powder form and are regularly used as a dietary supplement. The Guarana plant is categorised into the ‘Acer genus’ which is more commonly known as maple. Brasil houses around 65% of the Amazon Basin and is where the plant can be most commonly found. As intrepid as jungle explorers ourselves you can imagine we got curious about it, so keep reading to discover the Top 5 Health Benefits of Guarana!
1. Energy boosting
Guarana contains guaranine, commonly referred to as caffeine, which is the same stimulant found in tea leaves and coffee seeds. It boasts however a concentration of caffeine that is double the level usually found in coffee. This makes it an extremely potent stimulant which is used as a natural performance enhancing supplement by professional athletes, giving them that extra boost in beneficial slow releasing energy.
2. Muscle recovery
Another reason guarana is a must have in the cupboard of any budding athlete is its benefits linked to post-workout muscle recovery. Guarana helps to stop the build up of the compound, lactic-acid, which is produced in the body during exercise. It prevents muscles soreness from occurring and means the muscles can recover much faster, the psychological advantage here is also a plus.
3. Appetite suppressant
Similarly to coffee, the high caffeine content found in guarana acts as an appetite suppressant, which is often used by those on a strict diet. With the dose of caffeine found in guarana being much greater than that found in coffee, its appetite suppressing qualities are relatively stronger. This can assist people with their weight loss goals, see below.
4. Weight loss
Combined with its ability to suppress appetite, guarana can also assist weight reduction with its ability to increase your metabolic rate and energy expenditure. When ingested, its stimulant qualities mobilise glucose in the body and use it as fuel to produce more energy which subsequently increases physical activity. The increased physical exertion leads to the reduced storage of carbohydrates preventing them from converting into fat.
5. Source of antioxidants
Guarana contains a vast amount of antioxidants including the antioxidant catechin which can be commonly found in herbal medicines, teas and some fruits. Catechin helps in the prevention of oxidation, a chemical reaction which causes the states of atoms in the body to change. Oxidation can play a part in the development of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Guarana is commonly sold in powder or tablet form and can be mixed into your daily drinks such herbal tea and coffee. It can also be used to give you a kick blended into your pre-workout smoothie or batch of homemade granola bars. You can make your own guarana powder by purchasing the seeds and roasting them in the oven for 10-15 minutes, you can then grind the seeds in a high speed blender or food processor. Got some experiences to share about guarana? Comment below or tell us @KeepFitKingdom !