Brazilian “superfruit” acai (ah-sigh-ee) berries have been making a lot of noise when it comes to eating healthy, and it's not just an oversell.
The fruit, native to the Amazon region, only have a short shelf life so it's no wonder you don't find fresh acai berries in your local health food market. Rather, we're more familiar with its other forms – a frozen puree, powder, or juice. We've seen these incorporated into food bowls, super smoothies and even inedible items like face creams and masks. But what exactly does it offer?
Acai berries have been found to contain more antioxidant content than other berries like strawberries, cranberries and blueberries. It has one of the highest antioxidant content in the world, which is why it's been touted as a superfood. This content comes from the fruit's pigment, which contains a high amount of anthocyanins, which come from phytonutrients. These surve as antioxidants. The Oxygen Radical Absorbence Capacity (ORAC) test also found that the superfruit has a high ORAC score. The general principle is, the higher the ORAC rating, the better.
Acai also contains cancer-fighting properties. A study in the 2006 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed applying its extracts directly on leukemia cancer cells killed 86% of them. It contains high levels of vitamin C, and when taken with ellagic acid, can help fight the growth of cancer cells.
Promotes weight loss
One of the most popular claims of acai berry is its capability to promote weight loss. While there isn't enough scientific data to back all of these claims, it's not an entirely false claim. The antioxidant present in the fruit promotes lower cholesterol, which in turn helps you keep your body in check and promote better overall balance in your metabolism. It's an energy booster and can reduce your fatigue and increase blood circulation in the body. It also fights free radicals, ridding your body of unwanted toxins. It's one of the few fruits that have monounsaturated fats. These help the body feel more full and satisfied, especially when included in a diet. These health benefits, when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, certainly have the capacity to manifest in weight loss.
Among the benefits of inedible acai products most especially found in face creams and mask sheets are its high levels of vitamin C that promote regeneration in the body. This means you'll be able to see changes in your fine links, wrinkles, blemishes and dark spots. Acai also contains fatty acids that keep the skin firm and youthful.
How To Take Acai Berry
Most of the fruit's forms – pureed, juiced, or powdered – tend to be expensive since the product is harvested by hand. These products typically cost between $20 to $30. Another form you can take the fruit is through supplements, which can be cheaper. Remember to keep in mind to only buy acai berry supplements that have 100% pure acai berry extract.
The fruit generally has a tangy, earthy taste. Its juice form has a high concentration of antioxidants, but also has so much added sugar. The powder form contains high levels of fiber and fat, mixed in with other plant compounds. Many recipes that involve the use of acai berry are usually centered around the dried fruit puree form, which can be mixed with milk or water, with the addition of other fruits like strawberries or bananas. Others also add coconut flakes and chia seeds.
It's also important to tell your doctor if you've been taking acai in large amounts before taking an MRI, since it may interfere with the results.