Guarana is commonly used as an ingredient in energy drinks and it is not surprising that due to its stimulating properties it is an excellent boost of energy. The substance can also positively affect the efficiency of thinking and contribute to increasing physical endurance. For this reason, it is becoming more and more popular, both among athletes and people performing intense mental effort.
Guarana - what is it?
Guarana is a plant native to Brazil. A type of creeper from the soap family also known as Paullinia Cupana.
The plant reaches a height of up to 10 m, and its leaves are impressive in size. At the time of flowering, small, intensely fragrant white flowers appear on the creeper.
However, guarana is known primarily for its seeds. It is from them that various types of specifics have been prepared for centuries, which are attributed numerous health-promoting properties. Interestingly, by the indigenous people of the Amazon, guarana seeds are considered a magical elixir conducive to longevity.
Guarana and the wealth of compounds contained in it
Guarana is full of compounds that have stimulating and antioxidant properties. In the plant we find large amounts of substances such as methylxanthines (including, m.in. caffeine, theophylline, theobromine) or tannins. Guarana also contains flavonoids such as catechins and epicatechins.
The seeds of the plant are also a treasury of vitamins and minerals, incl. vitamin C or B vitamins.
Guarana is distinguished by its high caffeine content, which makes it often used as one of the ingredients of energy drinks. The same seeds of the plant can be attributed a stimulating and psychostimulant effect.
In addition, guarana can improve memory and concentration and can help preserve mental energy. Caffeine contained in the seeds of the plant blocks the action of adenosine, a compound that is responsible for the feeling of drowsiness. Thus, it prevents its activation and may reduce the feeling of fatigue. In addition to mental energy, the substance can also have a beneficial effect on reducing physical fatigue.
Creeper seeds can also be used in the weight loss process. Scientific data suggests that caffeine, which is not lacking in guarana, can speed up metabolism by 3-11% within 12 hours of its consumption, which will intensify the process of burning unnecessary calories. What's more, guarana can inhibit the process of adipogenesis by suppressing the expression of genes responsible for the formation of fat cells.
The plant can also work as a natural support for digestive problems. Due to the presence of tannins, natural vegetable tannins, guarana can counteract the occurrence of diarrhea. This is due to the fact that tannins have a sealing effect on mucous membranes and inhibit their permeability, so they prevent excessive water from escaping into the intestines. In turn, thanks to caffeine, by stimulating intestinal peristalsis, guarana can help fight constipation.
Thanks to its antioxidant properties, guarana fights free radicals in the body and can reduce oxidative stress, which is why it is used in anti-aging preparations.
The substance can also have a positive effect on the condition and condition of the skin and support the fight against cellulite. Thanks to caffeine, which improves blood supply to the skin, the consumption of guarana can affect the nutrition and oxygenation of the body's cells.
In addition, guarana contains compounds that have antibacterial properties. So it can fight bacteria and inhibit their growth. In addition, the plant can take care of proper vision and support the work of the heart. It can also affect the expansion of blood vessels, thanks to which it is used in erection problems to improve the quality of intercourse.
Guarana in the world of athletes
Guarana, due to its stimulating properties, is also often used by athletes. Thanks to the richness of various compounds and active substances, including caffeine, guarana can increase the efficiency of the body and improve physical endurance, which positively affects the sports performance of active people.
Guarana - for whom is it recommended?
Guarana seed extract is recommended primarily for people who:
- every day they struggle with a lot of physical or mental effort,
- need a quick boost of energy,
- use a reduction diet.
Guarana vs coffee
When we lack energy and feel tired, we most often reach for coffee, suggesting the richness of caffeine found in the drink. However, did you know that guarana seeds can contain four to six times more caffeine than coffee beans?
It is believed that tannins, which we also find in guarana, slow down the release of caffeine. However, it does not negatively affect the body. Simply for this reason, after consuming guarana, we do not feel a sudden stimulation of the body, but rather a gradual surge of energy.
Thus, guarana can provide mental clarity and focus for a longer time than a classic black espresso, which shows great potential.
Optimal form and portion of guarana
Guarana can be taken in various forms and the most popular are:
- natural guarana seeds,
- guarana powder,
- dietary supplements (e.g. in the form of tablets) based on guarana.
Each of the available forms seems to be a good solution, because it provides the body with many valuable substances and active compounds present in guarana, incl. a large dose of caffeine. For this reason, regardless of the chosen method of supplementation, coffee, cola and other sources of caffeine should be eliminated from the diet so as not to lead to excessive supply of the ingredient. It is important that guarana does not lose its health-promoting properties during heat treatment, which gives the opportunity to use it, i.a. as an addition to healthy pastries or dishes.
Interestingly, even small portions (about 20 mg) of guarana taken regularly can contribute to positive results.
Always take products rich in guarana according to the manufacturer's guidelines placed on the packaging. It is not recommended to exceed the recommended doses of the supplement, as it may lead to undesirable side effects.
Contraindications and side effects
Be careful when taking preparations rich in guarana not to provide the body with excessive amounts, as this may cause an effect similar to caffeine overdose, namely contribute to the onset of symptoms such as:
- problems with sleeping,
- increased heart rate and palpitations,
- problems with concentration,
- stomach problems,
- nausea and vomiting.
Particular care should be taken by people with diabetes, cardiac arrhythmia or hypertension.