13 Important Benefits of Acai Berries

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Acai berries are high in antioxidants and are said to aid in weight loss, skincare, heart health, and digestion. They also known to boost the immune system and energy levels. Overall, these miraculous little berries can have a huge impact on your health!

What are Acai Berries?

Acai berries originate from the acai palm, which is widely found in the Amazon Basin. The acai palm and berries belong to the Euterpe genus. 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 percent of their food volume intake.

Acai berries are one of the newest and most popular organic solutions for a wide range of health concerns and 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 percent of the fruit, but the remaining endocarp, pulp, and skin all contain beneficial nutrients.

Watch Video: 5 Interesting Benefits Of Acai Berries

Nutritional Value

Nutrition Facts

Beverages, Acai berry drink, fortified
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]84.88
Energy [kcal]62
Protein [g]0.83
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.83
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]12.83
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.2
Sugars, total [g]11.1
Calcium, Ca [mg]19
Iron, Fe [mg]0.16
Magnesium, Mg [mg]11
Phosphorus, P [mg]13
Potassium, K [mg]130
Sodium, Na [mg]13
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.11
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]42.1
Thiamin [mg]0.03
Riboflavin [mg]0.04
Niacin [mg]9.06
Vitamin B-6 [mg]1.1
Folate, DFE [µg]4
Vitamin B-12 [µg]3.4
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]485
Vitamin A, IU [IU]9698
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]11.11
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]16.7
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, acai berries contain carbohydrates, dietary fiber, healthy fats, and protein and are rich in vitamins and minerals. They also contain vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Amongst minerals, acai berries contain calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium.

Health Benefits of Acai Berries

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, according to a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Antioxidants seek out and eliminate many of 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 LDL (bad) cholesterol. This reduction–along with a balanced diet and exercise–can help, lower the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack, according to the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis.

Regulate Blood Pressure

Acai berries have plenty of plant sterols, which act as vasodilators and relax blood vessels to reduce blood pressure, says The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This prevents blood clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks and generally improves the circulation and oxygenation of the blood.

Weight Loss

Anecdotal evidence indicates that the pulp of acai berry can help in weight loss. It not only stimulates weight loss but also may help 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; 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 help reduce appetite and stop hunger pains associated with overeating and weight gain.

A wooden bowl of fresh acai berries with leaves on a mat

Skin Care

The journal Phytochemistry Letters suggests that the antioxidant properties of acai berry powder aids in skincare. Acai oil is frequently used in cosmetic products due to its 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.

Aids in Digestion

Acai berry contains 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.

Boost Immunity

Acai juice is a wonderful source of vitamin C, which is a well-known immunity booster. Its antioxidant properties fight against free radicals and help maintain health.

Rich in Antioxidants

A research report led by Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D. and his team showed that acai berry had high antioxidant potential, which helps scavenge free radicals. The antioxidants also showed potential for anti-inflammatory properties.

Boost Energy

The acai berry extract is a well-known supplement used to boost energy. It also aids in combating fatigue and mental exhaustion. This is seen in a 2015 study issued in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism journal, which focused on the elite athletes.

Aphrodisiac Powers

Although the direct impact of acai berries on sexual stamina and sex drive is not completely known, they are thought to have the ability to increase the blood circulation throughout the body. Since a lack of blood flow is one of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction and lack of sexual stamina, acai berry juice is commonly used as an alternative medicine for helping people with these conditions.

Delays Premature Aging

Acai berries are thought to 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, and are often associated with premature aging. Regular consumption of acai berry juice – and other antioxidant-rich foods – helps to reduce the damaging effects of free radicals. Also, the application of acai oil to certain areas of the skin helps prevent wrinkle formation. A study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology discusses acai berries as being highly beneficial against hyperpigmentation. Cellular oxidative damage and various types of inflammation can also be reduced with the frequent consumption of acai berries. While these little berries obviously have powerful health effects, the specific components of acai berries have not been identified that give it such potency have yet to be determined.

Boost Cognition

In terms of brain health and function, a rodent study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience showed a link between acai berry juice and 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, and therefore acai berry water extracts are thought to have promising effects on expediting wound healing. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.

Improve Metabolism

The antioxidant properties of acai berries are one of its most celebrated aspect; they can also benefit healthy cellular metabolism and functioning, according to some research. They are considered helpful in reducing 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.

Uses

There are many uses of acai berries, including the following:

  • There is a huge range of cosmetic products that contain acai berry oil, owing to the skin-enriching properties in it.
  • The fruit is also widely used in juices, dietary pills, salads, as well as a good livestock food source to promote animal health.
  • Traditionally, the leaves were also used to make mats, hats, brooms, and roofing material for thatched homes.

How to Consume Acai Berries?

There are many different ways to eat acai berries, discussed in detail below. Let’s take a look.

  • 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.

What is Acai Berry Cleanse?

Acai berry cleanse is often considered a part of a detoxification regimen that helps in cleansing and weight loss. Acai juice is the most important factor here and it is thought to work better than the supplements available in the market.

Side Effects

While it is clear that consuming acai berry can be beneficial to overall health, there are inherent risks in consuming any food.

  • Allergy to pollen: If you have any allergies to pollen or other fruits, be very careful before adding acai berries to your diet. Consult your doctor for an updated allergen test if you suspect an allergy.
  • Effects of additives: The additional ingredients added to the supplements can reduce the benefits of the fruit, or even prove harmful to your health. A common additive is caffeine, however, many nutritional supplements are unregulated, which means they could contain other unknown substances.
  • High sugar content: 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 these risks, acai berries can provide you with a wealth of health benefits to improve your body and mind!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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