Acai berries help improve heart health and aid in weight loss, skin care, and digestion. They also help reduce allergies and boost the immune system and energy levels. Research has shown acai berry to be one of the best sources of antioxidants, an aphrodisiac, a brain booster, and a great weapon against premature aging, cancer, and unexplained fatigue or exhaustion. Overall, these miraculous little berries can have a huge impact on your health!
What are Acai Berries?
Acai berries come from the acai palm, which is widely found in the Amazon Basin. The acai palm and berry belong to the Euterpe genus and there are eight major species, primarily grown in swamps and floodplains. They represented a major staple food of the indigenous tribes, and the nutritional value made these berries vital to their overall health, sometimes making up more than 25% of their food volume intake.
Acai berries are one of the newest and most popular organic solutions for a wide range of health concerns. Although they were first hailed as a miracle cure for dozens of illnesses and diseases, leading to wide skepticism about their actual impact on health, research has now been done to back up some of those claims, and it is being actively used by alternative medical practitioners.
The different varieties are often said to have different benefits, with the white acai berries not being nearly as potent or powerful as the dark red or purple varieties. The berry has a large seed in the middle which makes up approximately 80% of the fruit, but the remaining endocarp, pulp, and skin all contain beneficial nutrients and can be widely used in juices, dietary pills, salads, as well as a good livestock food source to promote animal health. Traditionally, the leaves are also used to make mats, hats, brooms, and roofing material for thatched homes.
Nutritional Value of Acai Berries
Acai berries contain carbohydrates, dietary fiber, healthy fats, and protein and are rich in vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Amongst minerals, acai berries contain calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium.
Health Benefits of Acai Berries
In recent years, acai berries have become a phenomenon in numerous countries of the world, primarily in America, because of their potential health benefits. The most researched health benefits of acai berries are explained below.
Improve Cardiovascular Health
Acai berries contain high levels of anthocyanins, which are a form of plant antioxidants. Antioxidants seek out and eliminate the free radicals that are responsible for a wide variety of diseases and conditions, including heart diseases. Anthocyanins are also related to regulating blood cholesterol by reducing the LDL or bad cholesterol, thereby lowering the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.
Regulate Blood Pressure
Acai berries have plenty of plant sterols, which act as vasodilators and relax blood vessels to reduce blood pressure, prevent blood clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks, and generally improve the circulation and oxygenation of the blood.
Research indicates that the pulp of the acai berry can help in weight loss. It not only stimulates weight loss but also helps people maintain a healthy weight by reducing the negative impact of high-fat diets. In recent years, acai weight loss supplements and pills have become wildly popular and although the results are not uniformly successful, there have been a number of positive testimonials regarding the same.
One study found that 30 days of using acai berries resulted in a lower level of fasting insulin and glucose levels, as well as a reduction in total cholesterol levels. The high fiber content of acai berries can also reduce appetite and stop hunger pains associated with overeating and weight gain.
The antioxidant properties of acai berries aid in skin care. Acai oil is frequently used in cosmetic products because the antioxidants in the oil can relieve irritation and redness and moisturize the skin. Also, if acai berries are ingested, they can give the skin a healthy, attractive glow. In fact, in Brazil, the pulp of the acai berry has been used for generations to treat or reduce the number of skin conditions and diseases.
Aid in Digestion
Acai berries have been found to have strong detoxifying effects on the human body, which help cleanse the body’s digestive system and remove the build-up of hazardous toxins. They contain natural fiber, which aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. It bulks up the bowel movements, making the excretory processes regular, and reducing the chances of constipation and other uncomfortable digestive issues. Consuming fiber-rich acai berries can also give bulk to the stool and reduce the chances of diarrhea as well.
Acai is a wonderful source of vitamin C, which is a well-known immunity booster. Its antioxidant properties fight against the free radicals and keep you healthy, away from many life-threatening diseases.
Vitamin C, in acai berry, can improve your ability to fight off many diseases like cancer. Besides the ellagic acid in acai berries also aids in fighting against cancerous cells. Acai is packed with polyphenols, which battle cancerous cell growth on a molecular level and also prevent it from multiplying and metastasizing into lethal amounts. One study actually found that acai berry can stop the growth of cancer cells up to 80%, which is one of the most successful rates for alternative medical treatments for that dreaded disease. There has also been a specific attention placed on acai berry’s effect on prostate cancer in men.
The acai berry extract is a well-known supplement used to boost instant energy. It also aids in combating fatigue and mental exhaustion.
Although the direct impact of acai berries on sexual stamina and sex drive is not completely known, they do have an ability to increase the blood circulation throughout the body. Since lack of blood flow is one of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction and lack of sexual stamina, acai berries are commonly used as an alternative medicine for helping people with these conditions.
Delay Premature Aging
Acai berries slow down the aging process due to their high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants remove the free radicals that cause the breakdown of skin, hair, teeth, and eye health, often associated with premature aging. Regular consumption of acai berry juice helps reduce the damaging effects of free radicals, tooth and hair loss, macular degeneration, and cataract formation. Also, the application of acai oil to certain areas of the skin helps prevent wrinkle formation. Cellular oxidative damage and various types of inflammation can also be reduced with the frequent use of acai berries, although the specific components of acai berries have not been identified that give it such potent health abilities.
In terms of brain health and function, acai berry juice has been linked to increased mental functioning and sharpness of mind. The berries also improve memory and protect the brain from the development of neural disorders.
Promote Wound Healing
Acai berries have anti-inflammatory properties because of which the acai berry water extracts are used to speed wound healing.
The antioxidant properties of acai berries are its most celebrated aspect, and they can also benefit healthy cellular metabolism and functioning. They reduce the chances of unhealthy apoptosis (cell death) and increase the efficiency of the cell’s absorption of nutrients and the subsequent translation into useful energy.
How to eat Acai Berries?
- Fresh acai berries can be eaten raw. They are perishable in nature so are used for immediate consumption.
- They are also available in other forms that have a longer shelf life, including frozen fruit purees, juices, and powders.
- Acai berries can be used in preparing various foods like jelly beans, ice-creams, etc.
- The most delicious way to eat these berries is by making an ‘acai bowl’. It is made by preparing the acai puree and topping it with honey, granola or muesli.
Side Effects of Acai Berry
While it is clear that consuming acai berry can be very beneficial to overall health and is used by millions to protect themselves from various diseases, there are also inherent risks in taking this miraculously healthy berry.
- If you have any allergies to pollen or other fruits, be very careful before adding it to your diet, and consult your doctor for an updated allergen test.
- The additional ingredients added to the supplements can reduce the benefits of the fruit, or even prove harmful to your health. The most common additive is caffeine, which gives an instant energy boost that people associate with healthy activity in the body.
- The fruit and its juice contain sugars and calories, which can be detrimental to weight loss attempts and can also be very dangerous for diabetics if consumed in bulk.
Other than those risks, acai berries can provide you with a wealth of health benefits to improve your body and mind!