Berries are known for their potent health benefits. Though traditional berries such as blueberries, strawberries and cranberries are all superstars in their own right, acai berries might just top them all in the health benefits department.
What are Acai Berries?
Considered to be a cross between a grape and a blueberry, you won’t find fresh acai berries in your markets. Acai berries are found in the Amazon, but transporting and shipping them fresh leads to a breakdown in the nutrients of the berry. This is because the acai berry is much lower in sugar and acids than other fruits, which typically helps to protect most fruits from degrading. If not processed quickly, acai berries will oxidize and lose their beneficial nutrients. Because of this you’ll only find dried acai berry products or acai berry juices in your markets, since bottling the berries or drying them helps to keep the health-boosting nutrients intact.
Traditionally used as a treatment for diarrhea, infections, and ulcers, acai berry is known for its healing and immune-boosting benefits. The tiny berry has only gained “superfood” status during the last few years in North America, but it can now be found in juices, food supplements and even anti-aging cosmetics.
Acai Berry Benefits
Just why should acai berries be in your diet? Acai berries may be low in sugar, but they contain a highly beneficial amount of iron, calcium, fiber and even vitamin A. Acai berries also contain oleic acid, the same beneficial fatty acid that is found in olive oil, as well as dietary fiber. These nutrients and more are what make acai berries such health-boosting berries.
Rich in Antioxidants
Like most berries the acai berry is full of antioxidants, with 10 times the amount of antioxidants found in grapes and two times the amount found in blueberries. Antioxidants are vital in fighting off damaging free radicals, which lead to oxidative damage in the body that can result in diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Antioxidants can also help to ward off early signs of aging due to oxidative stress, which is why acai berries are being utilized in anti-aging products and cosmetics.
Beneficial to Heart Health
Acai berries are also rich in anthocyanins, a plant antioxidant that has the ability to lower cholesterol levels. Plant sterols found in acai berries also protect the heart by preventing blood clots and improving circulation.
Potential Weight Loss Aid
Acai berry pulp has been found to be helpful as a weight loss aid in a few recent studies. Studies show that acai berries not only promote weight loss but also help combat the negative effects of a high-fat diet. These benefits included a low level of glucose levels as well as a reduction in total cholesterol. The high amount of fiber found in acai berries is also beneficial in warding off hunger pains, which can help reduce cravings and over-eating.
Like most berries acai berries are high in natural fiber, which aids in the absorption of nutrients as well as digestion of food. Acai berries may also promote weight loss as well as help with digestion due to their detoxifying nature. This detox effect helps to rid the body of any toxins and harmful substances that may negatively impact the digestive system.
There are still more studies being conducted to find out how many more benefits acai berries provide. One way or another the nutrient profile of the acai berry cannot be ignored.