Some of the unique health benefits of acerola include its ability to manage diabetes, reduce signs of aging, prevent certain types of cancer, improve heart health, increase circulation, reduce allergic reactions, stimulate the immune system, improve the eye health, protect the skin, and improve your mood.
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Acerola is an unassuming shrub or small tree that bears a delicious cherry-like fruit, which is why you usually hear the term “acerola cherry”, rather than just acerola. Some other common names include Barbados cherry and West Indian myrtle, but the scientific designation of this tropical fruit is Malpighia emarginata. Native to Mexico, South America, and Central America, this fruit has been prized for thousands of years by various indigenous cultures. It is now widely exported throughout the world and is also cultivated in certain parts of the Indian subcontinent, as well as southern areas of the United States.
In terms of culinary applications, acerola cherries have a distinct flavor and are eaten in much the same way as regular cherries, although they aren’t related: either raw, or in baked goods, candies, ice creams, jellies, jams, and frozen juice concentrates. There is some use of acerola in the production of certain alcohols. The real benefit, however, comes from the rich mixture of nutrients and vitamins contained in the fruit, in addition to a wealth of antioxidants and one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in any fruit.
Health Benefits of Acerola
Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of Acerola.
Recent research has shown that the antioxidants found in acerola cherries can actually help to slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. This regulation of insulin and glucose is a crucial means of preventing diabetic spikes and drops, which can be dangerous (or even deadly) for people suffering from diabetes. Acerola cherries not only help to prevent the onset of the condition as well but also regulate the blood sugar level in healthy individuals.
Acerola cherries contain a diverse mix of antioxidants, including carotenoids and bioflavonoids, both of which neutralize the effects of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are the damaging byproducts of cellular metabolism that cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous or unhealthy cells, while also exacerbating other serious diseases. In terms of acerola cherry’s antioxidants, they have been linked to slowing the spread of lung cancer in patients suffering from this disease.
The high level of antioxidants found in acerola cherries are not only good for slowing the spread of cancer, but also for generally cleansing the body of dangerous toxins and substances that cause its breakdown. The carotenoids in acerola cherry help to protect your eye health and boost the health of your skin, while bioflavonoids help to boost your cognitive function and prevent the onset of other age-related diseases.
Acerola cherries have one of the highest contents of vitamin C, topped only by camu camu. For people who want a quick boost to their immune system, pop some acerola cherries into your weekly diet and see how much better you’ll feel! Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells, which are the body’s primary line of defense against foreign agents and pathogens. Furthermore, vitamin C is a crucial component of collagen, which means that your body can heal itself faster with repairing cells, blood vessels, organs, and tissues from illness or injury.
To keep your body running at a normal pace, you need to regulate your metabolism. One of the most important groups of vitamins which help to do that is the vitamin B family. These vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid, help to regulate your hormonal and metabolic processes to ensure that your body runs smoothly.
Improves Heart Health
As a rich source of potassium, like many juicy fruits, acerola cherry can also boost heart health. Potassium is a vasodilator, so it helps to relieve strain on the cardiovascular system by dilating the blood vessels and increasing blood flow, thereby reducing blood pressure. This can lower your chances of developing atherosclerosis, which also prevents heart attacks and strokes. The rich variety of antioxidants also helps to keep the cardiovascular system clear of excess cholesterol and free radicals causing oxidative stress.
Although acerola cherries don’t have as much fiber as many other fruits, it is still significant and can definitely help boost your digestive health. Dietary fiber promotes smooth passage of food through the gastrointestinal tract, which relieves constipation, bloating, diarrhea, cramping, and more serious issues like gastric ulcers. Furthermore, dietary fiber even helps clear out the dangerous cholesterol from the heart.
Word of Caution
Some people have reported adverse reactions to eating acerola cherries, including upset stomachs, sleeplessness, and insomnia. Too many acerola cherries can also cause diarrhea. The high levels of vitamin C can be dangerous if you suffer from gout, as it can boost levels of uric acid. Other than that, acerola cherries are not commonly known as an allergenic food.