Berries are generally considered to be excellent for your health. Acai berries have made it into the list of some of the top super foods on account of their nutritional benefits. A native of Central America and South America, this dark purple colored fruit is formed in the Acai palm tree, which is scientifically known as Euterpe oleracea. Acai berry is usually harvested twice. Storing and shipping of these fruits are not that easy because it starts to disintegrate soon after it is harvested. Acai appears similar to a grape but is larger in size with a large seed.
Acai berries are mostly popular for its weight loss and antioxidant properties. You might have found acai berry diet pills or acai pill and similar acai berry supplements online. Research reveals that Acai is rich in flavonoids and anthocyanins, which are very powerful antioxidants. The antioxidant property is highly effective in the removal of harmful free radicals produced in body and thus protect us from many of the serious diseases caused by these free radicals such as cancer and heart problems. Although the antioxidant properties of acai have been found to be true, there is no scientific evidence that supports the fact that these fruits aid in weight loss.
Nutritional value of Acai berry
Acai is high in antioxidants and it is also a good source of many nutrients and minerals. A 100g serving of this fruit can provide you with about 247 calories. In addition to antioxidants, Acai is also rich in fiber content. It also contains vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin E and minerals like calcium, manganese, potassium, copper, zinc and iron. Other nutrients present in Acai that are beneficial to our body include monounsaturated fat, fatty acids, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates and phytochemicals.
Uses of Acai in traditional medicine
The amazon tribal people have discovered the medicinal values of Acai and have been using it for the treatment of many ailments. The extracts of Acai are used as a remedy for ulcer, diarrhea, microbial infections and hemorrhages. An extract of Acai made by crushing its seeds is used effectively in the treatment of fever. Similarly an extract obtained from the Acai roots is used for treating liver problems and menstrual cramps.
Health benefits of Acai berries
Not only is the Acai berry very tasty to eat, it has numerous health benefits too. The high content of nutrients and minerals in this fruit makes it extremely nutritious and an effective solution for many health related problems.
Acai berry for cardiovascular health
The very fact that Acai is rich in antioxidants makes it ideal for protecting your heart and also for lowering the level of cholesterol in your body. The free radicals formed in our body as a result of cell metabolism are dangerous and can cause the buildup of plaque in your arteries. This affects the normal blood circulation and subsequently leads to heart attack. The antioxidant property of Acai helps to get rid of the free radicals, thus ensuring that you have a healthy cardiovascular system.
Acai berry can lower cholesterol
Excess amounts of bad cholesterol can block your blood vessels and lead to conditions like high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. Acai contains high levels of oleic acid and linoleic acid, which are capable of reducing the bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and improving the good cholesterol (HDL) levels. Another component of Acai that helps to lower cholesterol is beta-sitosterol.
Acai berry and cancer
The antioxidants found in Acai are known to have the ability to protect you from life threatening diseases like cancer. The high level of vitamin C in this fruits boosts your immune system and prevents the growth and development of cancer causing cells. According to a study published in the Journal of agricultural and food chemistry by the research team in the University of Florida, Acai berries were found to activate a response in the cancer cells (86% of cells) that caused them to self destruct.
Acai fights diabetes and other diseases
The powerful nutrients present in Acai berry makes it a wonderful food that helps to protect you against many diseases and to improve the overall health of your body. The rich concentration of fiber, antioxidants, amino acids and omega fatty acids in Acai helps to reduce the risk of many serious diseases including diabetes.
Acai helps to improve digestion
Acai berry is a rich source of fiber, which aids in easy digestion and in keeping your bowel movements regular. The importance of regular bowel movements is that it helps to prevent many digestive problems including bloating and constipation.
Acai helps to boost your energy
Acai berries contain the perfect combination of different nutrients that helps to increase your energy levels. Regular intake of acai speeds up your metabolism and keeps you energetic for long hours. Acai has become an important part of the diet of many atheletes because of its ability to increase energy and stamina. Drinking Acai berry after workout is good way to keep hydrated and enjoying health benefits of acai berry.
Improve your immune system with Acai
In order to fight diseases and remain healthy, it is quintessential to have a good immune system. What you eat plays a major role in boosting your immune system. Acai, being a super food with plenty of antioxidants and amino acids can improve your immunity and keep you safe from diseases.
Acai berries promotes healthy skin
On account of the high antioxidant properties of Acai berry, it is widely used in many cosmetic products. Being a natural product, there is no need to worry about side effects that are usually caused by using chemical based products. Consumption of acai berries has been found to enhance your skin and give it a healthy and glowing appearance.
Acai has antiaging effects
In addition to offering numerous health benefits, the antioxidants found in Acai are excellent in reducing the effects caused by aging. Free radicals are considered to be the number one causative factor of aging. The powerful antioxidants in Acai are capable of eliminating these free radicals that can cause damage to your cells.
Acai helps to improve vision
Acai berries are packed with plenty of vitamin A, which helps to improve vision. The anthocyanin content in Acai helps to prevent many disorders of the retina such as glaucoma, night blindness and macular degeneration. Retinopathy is a major complication of diabetes that may lead to the loss of vision. Acai is capable of slowing down the progress of this condition.
Acai and pregnancy
You can improve the health of your reproductive system by including Acai in your diet. It helps you to maintain a healthy weight, which is very important for the process of ovulation. The nutrients present in Acai provide good nourishment to the mother as well as the developing embryo. The antioxidants in this fruit protect the embryo from the harmful effects of free radicals. The protein requirements of the pregnant mother can also be met easily by the regular consumption of Acai.
Acai and weight loss
Although there is no scientific proof that states Acai promotes weight loss, a lot of Acai products have been advertised that claims to help you lose weight. However, it has been proved that foods rich in antioxidants play a great role in promoting a healthy body. When it comes to weight loss, there is no single solution or an easy way. The only natural way to lose weight is to consume the right amount of calories, exercise regularly and to eat a nutritious and balanced diet. Companies have been promoting acai for weight loss. Personal judgment should be taken while consuming acai diet or acai berry supplements.
Acai regulates your brain function
Acai has a high content of essential fatty acids that regulates and improves the functioning of your brain. The omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids in this fruit enhances the brain activity and development of the nervous system.
Acai helps to improve sleep
Acai berries contain ample amount of amino acids, vitamins and fatty acids that stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine. These two neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating your sleep. They also help to relax the muscles of your body, allowing you to have a peaceful sleep.
Acai berry and sex drive
People in South America believe that acai increase hedonistic energy and increases your sexual drive. Scientific studies could only relate increase in energy and stamina with sexual drive. Acai berry provides body energy for physical activity including sex. It is believed that acai berry improves brain activity and influence levels of sex hormones in body. Some people in latin america term it Amazon rainforest viagra.
Side effects of Acai berries
Although not many, Acai berry has also been associated with some negative effects. It has been found that Acai can cause decrease in appetite. While this is considered a negative effect for people who want to gain weight, it surely comes as good news for those who want to shed some pounds. However, eating Acai berry in smaller portions is a solution to this decreased appetite problem. Another negative effect is that like any other food, Acai is also found to cause allergy in some people. So it is important to try a small amount of the fruit first to see if you are allergic to it.
More and more people are realizing the wonderful effects of Acai on their health. Although available in the form of powder, liquid and capsule forms, in order to effectively reap the benefits of this fruit, it is recommended to have it in the juice form. Regular intake of Acai ensures good health and increased energy levels. Hence it has become a favorite choice for those who wish to improve their health through natural means.
Try out some Acai Recipes at home:
How to make Acai Muffin?
Preheat oven at 180 C. Grease a muffin tray. Combine 2 cup multi grain or wheat flour, 1/2 cup of ground flax seeds, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup whey protein powder, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda in a bowl. In another bowl mix some vegetable oil or butter, 1 egg (optional), 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup yogurt. Combine contents of both bowls and mix till even. Add a cup of fresh washed acai berries.Pour the mixture in muffin tray and bake for 20 or more minutes at 120 C.Image Credits: Flickr Eli Duke, By CostaPPPR (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia