Acai berries can be a tremendously healthy addition to your diet and help to increase heart health, aids in weight loss, as well as aiding in health issues relating to your skin, digestion, allergies, immune system, and energy levels. Furthermore, research has shown it 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, this miraculous little berry can have a huge impact on your health and happiness!
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What are Acai Berries?
Acai berries are one of the newest and most popular organic solutions for a wide range of health concerns. Although it was first hailed as a miracle cure for dozens of illnesses and diseases, leading to wide skepticism about its 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.
Acai berries come from the acai palm, widely found in the Amazon Basin. It represented a major staple food of the indigenous tribes, and its nutritional value made it vital to their overall health, sometimes making up more than 25% of their food volume intake.
The recent popularization of the acai berry throughout the world in alternative medicine use and dietary supplements threatens the availability of the berry for the locals, although experts have proposed that the palm is easy enough to grow, and maintains two healthy crops per year, so the supply shouldn’t run out. The acai palm and berry belong to the Euterpe genus and there are eight major species, primarily grown in swamps and floodplains.
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
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 its potential health benefits. The most researched health benefits of acai berries are explained below.
Improve Cardiovascular Health
Grapes are the primary ingredient in wine, and they are similar to berries in many ways, including their high levels of anthocyanins, which are a form of plant antioxidants. Antioxidants are the scavenging particles in our body which seek out and eliminate the free radicals that are responsible for a wide variety of damaging diseases and conditions including heart disease. Anthocyanins are also related to reducing blood cholesterol by scavenging some of the harmful LDL cholesterol off of artery walls, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.
Acai berries also 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.
Promote Weight Loss
Early research indicates that the pulp of the acai berry can help in weight loss efforts in many people. It not only stimulates weight loss but can also 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 and although the results are not uniformly successful, there have been a number of positive testimonials regarding the success with weight loss brought on by consistent consumption of acai berry juice and other products. One reputable 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. Although more research is currently being done, it appears that acai berries do have a strong effect on weight loss. 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 have been well-documented, and the relationship between antioxidants and skin health is well known. Acai oil is frequently used in modern 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 indigenous populations of Brazil, the pulp of the acai berry has been used for generations to treat or reduce the number of skin conditions and diseases.
Acai is a wonderful source of vitamin-C, which is a well-known immunity booster and can generally improve your ability to fight off many diseases, including cancer. Besides the immunity boosting ability of vitamin-C, the ellagic acid in acai berries also aids in the fight against cancerous cells. Acai is packed with polyphenols, which battle cancerous growth on a molecular level and prevent small cancerous growths from multiplying and metastasizing into lethal amounts of carcinogenic growth. 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 been specific attention placed on acai berry’s effect on prostate cancer in men.
Although the direct impact of acai berries on sexual stamina and sex drive is not completely known, the acai berries do have a well-researched ability to increase the general blood circulation throughout the body. Since lack of blood flow is one of the primary causes of sexual dysfunction and lack of sexual stamina, acai berries are commonly used as an alternative medicine for helping patients with these conditions.
One of the most important medical qualities of acai berries is its ability to slow down the aging process in people, due to its high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants remove the free radicals that cause the breakdown of skin, hair, teeth, and eye health that is so often associated with premature aging. Regular consumption of acai berry juice or the application of acai oil to certain topical areas of the skin can help reduce the damaging effects of free radicals, reduce tooth and hair loss, prevent wrinkle formation, and slow down the effects of macular degeneration and cataract 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. Finally, in terms of brain health and function, acai juice has been linked to increased mental function and sharpness of mind.
Acai berries have been found to have strong detoxifying effects on the human body, which help to cleanse the body’s digestive system and remove some of the hazardous toxins that build up. Also, acai berries, along with most other types of berries, have high levels of natural fiber, which aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. The fiber bulks up the bowel movements of people, making their excretory processes more regular, and reducing the chances of constipation and other uncomfortable digestive issues. Also, if people suffer from loose stools or diarrhea, consuming acai berries or other fiber-rich foods can give more bulk to the stool and reduce the chances of diarrhea.
The antioxidant qualities 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 increases the efficiency of the cell’s absorption of nutrients and the subsequent translation into useful energy.
Risks 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.
However, besides allergic risks, which is the same caution that should always be taken before adding something to your diet, the dangers of the acai supplements is quite real. The additional ingredients that are frequently added to the supplements can sometimes reduce the benefits of the fruit, or even prove detrimental to your health if you don’t know the full ingredient list. Some of the most common additives are caffeine, which gives the energy boost that people associate with “healthy activity” in the body.
The health benefits often encourage people to overdue their intake of acai supplements, but since the fruit itself contains many minerals, it is possible to consume too much, which can result in new health conditions. Finally, the fruit and its juice contain many sugars and calories, which can be detrimental to weight loss attempts and can be very dangerous for diabetic patients if taken in bulk.
Other than those risks, acai berries can provide you with a wealth of health benefits to improve your body and mind!