If raspberries and chocolate had a baby, that baby would combine the tasty and healthy properties of its parents in one delicious little bite. It would grow up to become super berry, fighting toxins and restoring the body to a healthy state. It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, it’s acai berries!
Acai-entific Approach – The-Need-To-Know
Native to South Africa, the acai (pronounced AH-SIGH-EE) palm produces a small, purple fruit with high antioxidant potentialEffects of Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: A pilot study. Udani, JK., Singh, BB., Singh, VJ., et al. Nutritional Journal 2011 May 12; 10(1):4.. Antioxidants are substances that can protect the body from the affects of free radicals (read one reason why that’s important here).
Studies have shown that the anthocyanins (the type of antioxidants found in acai berries) can help reduce pain, increase range of motion, and reduce inflammationPain Reduction and Improvement in Range of Motion After Daily Consumption of an Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) Pulp-Fortified Polyphenolic-Rich Fruit and Berry Juice Blend. Jensen, GS., Ager, DM., Redman, KA., et al. 1 NIS Labs , Klamath Falls, Oregon, US. Journal of Medicinal Food 2011 Apr 6.. Other fruits and veggies, such as blueberries, strawberries, and kale, also have antioxidant power, measured by the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), but acai berries’ ORAC has been shown to be much higher than its other berry counterpartsAntioxidant capacity and other bioactivities of the freeze-dried Amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart (acai). Schauss, AG., Wu, X., Prior, RL., et. al. AIMBR Life Sciences, Puyallup, Washington. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2006 Nov 1;54 (22):8604-10.. Drinking the juice from acai berries can also reduce overall cholesterol, especially LDL-cholesterol (the infamously “bad” cholesterol)Effects of Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: A pilot study. Udani, JK., Singh, BB., Singh, VJ., et al. Nutritional Journal 2011 May 12; 10(1):4.. Acai can even help fulfill a good day’s worth of Vitamin CCorrelation between antioxidant activity and bioactive compounds of açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart) comercial pulps. Santos, GM., Maia, GA., Sousa, PH., et al. Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brasil. Archivos Latinoamericanos de Nutricion 2008 Jun; 58(2):187-92. and enhance immune system functionPolysaccharides isolated from Açaí fruit induce innate immune responses. Holderness, J., Schepetkin, IA., Freedman, B., et al. Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, US. PLoS One 2011 Feb 28; 6(2):e17301. So take that diseases!
Becoming ACAI-borg – Your Action Plan
With claims that it can enhance energy and give a feeling of well-being, acai has gained popularity among athletes and others living active lifestyles. It’s even become Oprah-worthy!
But when looking for acai berry products, be sure to only purchase the berry best. There are lots of scams using acai’s likeness to sell extreme weight loss drinks and supplements. In reality, they’re mostly highly diluted, sugar-packed beverages. General rule of thumb: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Acai berries are not miracle weight loss products, so sticking to a well-balanced diet and regular exercise is still the best way to drop a few pounds. But throwing a few berries into a morning smoothie isn’t a bad idea. The acai berry might be small, but don’t be fooled, it packs a punchbowl-full of radical fighting power.