The Acai Berry: Superfood Wonder?
The Acai Berry has been found to contain antioxidant, amino acids, fatty acids, proteins and a number of vitamins, and thus, it has found its way into salads, smoothies, deserts, pies and everyday meals. The Acai Berry is a purple berry that is commonly found in the Amazon forests of South America, particularly near Brazil. Scientific research has proven that consuming acai berries does not lead to any side effects but has many positive benefits to the human body such as boosting up energy levels, aids in cleansing and detoxification, improves blood circulation as well as fighting cancerous cells.
Acai Berry has immense antioxidant properties because it has one of the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) which is a measurement of antioxidant capacity of foods or supplements. The benefits of the Acai Berry are seen in a short period of time especially in people who are dealing with various illnesses. Those that consume the Acai Berry have used it to treat high blood pressure, heart issues, cholesterol and weight problems, and arthritis as well as skin conditions. The Acai Berry is filled with the goodness of protein, fiber and minerals such as phosphorus, iron, calcium and potassium as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, E and fatty acids Omega 6 and 9.
The fatty acid content in acaí resembles that of olive oil, and is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid is important for a number of reasons. It helps omega-3 fish oils penetrate the cell membrane; together they help make cell membranes more supple. By keeping the cell membrane supple, all hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently. This is particularly important because high insulin levels create an inflammatory state, and we know, inflammation causes aging.
Since its discovery, the Acai Berry has received prominent reviews and has also entered the must-have list of prominent celebrities such as Oprah, Sumner Redstone-owner of Viacom and Brad Pitt. Some popular reviews come from Nutritionist Keri Glassman on CBS's The Early Show stating acai berries are a rich source of anti-oxidants. Dr. Oz from the Oprah show also recommended acai berries as an ultimate anti-ageing food. Tony Stallone of Peapod appeared on ABC 7 News listing acai berries as part of the super food list of the New Year. ABC went as far as to proclaim the Acai Berry as a miracle berry that helps you live longer.
Health Benefits of the Acai Berry
These are some of the health benefits the Acai Berry is purported to have:
- Boosts energy levels
- Improves digestive function
- Provides many important vitamins
- Minimizes inflammation
- Powerful antioxidant
- High levels of fiber
- Cleanses and detoxifies the body
- Strengthens the immune system
- Fights cancerous cells
- Helps maintain healthy heart function
- Prevents atherosclerosis
- Promotes healthier and younger-looking skin
- Helps alleviate diabetes
- Slows down the aging process
- Improves circulation
- Improves mental clarity/focus
- Enhances sexual desire and performance
- Contains several important minerals
- Normalizes and regulates cholesterol levels
- Promotes sound sleep
- Enhances visual acuity
According to proponents, some of the major health benefits from consuming the Acai Berry is the fact that the berry has been proven to strengthen both your heart and your immune system. The berries are full of compounds known as anthocyanins, which are the same compounds that give red wine its health benefits. The Acai Berry contains up to 30 times the amount of compounds as a single glass of red wine. Therefore, the Acai Berry is a clearly superior alternative than wine, as it has none of the health risks associated with consuming alcohol.
In addition to these compounds, the Acai Berry is also a very rich source of proteins and dietary fiber, which are a healthy part of any digestive tract. The berry also contains very high levels of Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids, which are thought to have a protective effect on the heart, as well as the rest of the cardiovascular system. These high levels of fatty acids may also help play a role in lowering levels of high cholesterol. While these are great health benefits, consuming the Acai Berry is also thought to slow down the aging process. In many health food circles, the Acai Berry is being touted as one of the most powerful anti-aging foods available on the market today. The anti-aging effects of the Acai Berry can be contributed to the high levels of anthocyanins, as well as the huge amount of antioxidants available within the berry. Bluberries, which have an ORAC score of around 2,500 for a recommended serving, don't even touch the Acai Berry when it comes to antioxidants. The Acai Berry has an ORAC score of 5,500, which is more than twice the antioxidant content available in blueberries.
A word from the Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic dietitian Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. has this to say about the Acai Berry:
The Acai Berry is a grape-like fruit harvested from acai palms in the rainforests of South America. Acai berries are a good source of antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats. Some manufacturers claim that products made from acai berries can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and gain energy. Research on acai berries is limited, however, and these claims have not been proved. Still, fruit is an important part of a healthy diet. If you'd like to try Acai Berry products, check local health food or gourmet stores for Acai Berry juice or other Acai Berry products. Fresh acai berries spoil too quickly to be distributed widely.
Acai Berry FAQ
What is the Acai Berry?
The Acai Berry is a dark purplish berry that closely resembles a grape. It's a product derived from the Amazon rainforest, near the Amazon River Basin. The whole berry is about 90% seed and 10% pulp, but the pulp is what has so many people in a craze. With it's high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it makes it one of the best foods you could ever eat.
What does the Acai Berry taste like?
The flavor of the berry is hard to describe, because of it's complexity. Many people have said the berries taste like semi-sweet chocolate, while others have referred to the taste as being similar to that of a raspberry, but with a salty after-taste. The taste isn't unpleasant, and depending on how the berries are preserved, they could have a completely different taste than what you're expecting.
Why is the Acai Berry healthy?
The acai berries' pulp and skin is very high in antioxidants. This is because the fruit is grown near the top of the tree, where the berries can make the most of the sunlight. Because of this, the berries are dark and high in antioxidants to help shield them from the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays. The Acai Berry is so high in antioxidants, it was discovered that the berries have around 30 times more than antioxidants contained within red wine. These antioxidants help reduce free radical damage in your body caused by normal cell production, and some studies have suggested that these berries may even help fight cancer. Aside from these two facts, the Acai Berry is also very high in fiber, iron, and amino acids, all of which are very beneficial to the human body.
What are the benefits of the Acai Berry?
Many people understand the Acai Berry is considered a superfood, but they don't understand the benefits of adding this food to their diet. The Acai Berry has been proven to energize and provide more stamina for the body. In addition, the berry improves both digestion and mental focus. Because of these improvements, people who use the Acai Berry have experienced improved sleep. The berry is also great for vegetarians who need to get protein, as one single berry has about the same amount of protein as an average egg. Recent studies have shown that the Acai Berry may even help to curb the development of cancer cells in the body.
Why is the Acai Berry known as a super food?
Because the berry is packed with antioxidants which help prevent several types of illness, they are considered a great addition to any diet. In addition to the antioxidants within, you'll find the berries are packed with monounsaturated fats, fibers, amino acids, and plenty of iron. There is currently no known food on earth which has more of a health value than the Acai Berry, which is what's leading many people to call it a super food. The berries are even low in sugar, so they're safe for people with diabetes to add to their diet.
Why can't the berries be bought in stores?
Because the berry is mostly seed, that leaves a very small amount of pulp. Once the berries have been harvested, they begin to break down as soon as 24 hours after being away from the tree. This break down causes the nutrients to leave the berry, so acai powder and pulp must be freeze dried in order to preserve all the beneficial aspects of the berry. Without this process, the fruit would be unavailable outside Brazil as a super food.
The Acai Berry and Weight Loss
The Acai Berry has been touted as a great weight loss aid. Here's a background on how the Acai Berry facilitates weight loss.
The Acai Berry and Cancer
The Acai Berry contains antioxidants that destroyed cultured human cancer cells in a recent University of Florida study, one of the first to investigate the fruitÕs purported benefits.