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15 Things You Need To Know About Acai Berry

15 Things You Need To Know About Acai Berry

Living a healthy lifestyle also means including a wide range of fruits and vegetables in your diet. They are rich in vitamins and other healthy nutrients that our body requires to function properly. Therefore, it is no surprise that most so-called superfoods belong to the fruit and veggie family. One of these highly powerful foods is acai berry. The acai berry is an inch-long reddish purple fruit that is super delicious and healthy at the same time. They are good for your overall health and they make your skin look flawless as well. If you haven’t tried these powerful berries, this article will inspire you why you should do so today. Plus, if you already like acai berries then this is a great opportunity for you to learn more about them. So, let’s start and step into the world of acai berries.

Oprah made them popular

You know the drill, when a national treasure like Oprah Winfrey says she likes something, the entire country including the rest of the world fall in love with that thing, product or food immediately. Oprah talked about Acai berries in her talk show where Dr. Oz was a guest and branded these little berries as the future superfood. Before Oprah Show, these berries were relatively unknown, and ever since then their consumption increased significantly. Furthermore, Oprah also appeared on Larry King Live where she spoke about the berries and stated they helped her lose weight.

The berries are native to Brazilian swamps and floodplains

The Acai berry is found primarily in Brazil. Acai palms are located in swamps, floodplains, and Amazon rain forests. Also, acai berries grow in Trinidad, and larger parts of northern South America. People native to the Amazon have been using these berries for hundreds of years and they are one of the essential parts of traditional medicine.

However, the little berries are hard to get due to the fact that acai palms grow as high as 60 feet. The harvesting is done by hand which means that the locals who are responsible for this task have to climb up to dangerous heights just to get them. Locals have to act fast; picking berries and preparing them for shipping has to be done rapidly because berries are shipped by boat and they spoil easily.

Rich in antioxidants

Acai berries are antioxidant powerhouse. Our body needs antioxidants to fight and destroy free radicals. The role of free radicals is to attack and damage healthy cells in our body thus causing various diseases. Regular consumption of acai berries protects your body from free radicals and prevents various health issues. Acai berries are thought to have higher level of antioxidants than strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. And the best thing is, these berries are versatile and they can be consumed in several different ways: raw, in juices, smoothies, as additive to some dessert, dried, or through supplements.

Abundant in important fatty acids

The berries contain high levels of fatty acids like Omega-3, Omega-6, and monounsaturated oleic acid. You already know that our body requires Omega-3 fatty acids to function properly, just like Omega-6. They are good for heart health, brain health, and they regulate high blood pressure as well.

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Several studies have discovered that acai berries have a quite powerful composition. For example, Schauss AG from Natural and Medicinal Products Research, AIMBR Life Sciences in Washington, US conducted a study to observe the composition of freeze-dried acai berries. Results of this study were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and they showed acai berries have a high level of phytochemicals and various flavonoids such as orientin, homoorientin, scoparin etc. along with some unknown flavonoids too.

Furthermore, team of researchers also found fatty acids, amino acids, minerals and other nutrients together with oleic acid and palmitic acid.

It’s all about the acai berry skin

The bluish-purple skin is the primary reason why Acai berries got their superfood status. Just like many other fruits, skin of these berries contains fiber and abundance of various nutrients. Also, the highest level of antioxidants from acai berries is located in their skin. Therefore, if you’re about to purchase supplement, juice or some other acai berry-containing product, you should make sure it contains plenty of berry skin.

Aids in weight loss

Acai berries are linked with weight loss. For example, you can even purchase various weight loss supplements whose primary ingredient is acai berry. The benefits of acai berries for weight loss are still subjected to various studies. However, scientists point out that acai berry can only be used as a tool that will help you lose weight, but most definitely the only manner of doing it. Therefore, if you want to lose weight with acai berries, try to combine it with healthy diet and physical activity.

How can this tiny berry help you lose weight? It’s because the berry is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Furthermore, acai berries suppress your appetite making you eat less.

Acai berries are good for your skin

Acai berries are extremely beneficial for your skin as well. You’ve probably noticed the wide range of skin care products containing acai berries on shelves of your favorite cosmetic store or drugstore etc.

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Acai berries are good for your skin because they are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, plus oleic acid does wonders to damaged skin. Antioxidants, also, kill free radicals that were caused by sun exposure thus preventing further damage in your skin.

In the research about usage of natural ingredients in skin care, Fowler JF Jr from University of Louisville, Division of Dermatology stated that acai berry can be used for treating hyperpigmentation. Findings of this research were published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.

If you have dark patches on your skin, you can easily make them less noticeable with acai berries. Plus, due to their healthy components, acai berries will make your skin look picture-perfect by restoring the healthy glow.

The berries promote heart health

As mentioned above, the berries are rich in fatty acids essential for our health. For example, Omega 3, Omega 6 and even Omega 9 (oleic acid) decrease the level of LDL or bad cholesterol and raise levels of HDL or good cholesterol thus preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Benefits of acai berries for heart health were proven in pilot study conducted by Jay Udani, MD, CEO of Medicus Research. Study included 10 overweight participants who received 200mg of acai pulp per day for a month. Results of the study were published in the Nutrition Journal and they showed that acai ingestion was linked with reductions in glucose, insulin, and total cholesterol.

Immunity-boosting properties

The berries contain arabinogalactan, which is a polysaccharide that induces the activity of cells that play an essential role in our immunity. Regular consumption of the berries helps your body fend off various infections and diseases. Now, you have another powerful weapon against cold, flu, and many other illnesses.

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Improving digestion

Acai berries are rich in dietary fiber which is crucial for the healthy digestion. Furthermore, healthy digestion is essential for weight loss, which means that with consumption of these berries, you really can’t lose; it’s a win – win situation for you.

Also, the berries have detoxification properties and eliminate toxins and other harmful substances from your body making it healthy and stronger.

Preventing cancer

Acai berries are also linked with cancer prevention, which has been documented in several studies. For example, Susan Percival, a professor with the food science and human nutrition department of University of Florida conducted a study with her team about link between acai berries and cancer cells.

Results showed that acai berries triggered a self-destruct response in about 86% leukemia cells tested. Findings of this research were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Promoting brain health

Due to high levels of antioxidants, acai berries are beneficial for improving the cognitive function. Polyphenols that give acai berries they bluish-purple color activate proteins that clean up damaged cells, thus breaking down and recycling toxic chemicals linked to age-related mental decline.

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Energy boosters

Due to numerous health benefits, antioxidants and other healthy substances, regular intake of acai berries is, also, linked with energy boost. Although these characteristics of acai berries are still subjected to clinical researches, it is believed they can help with fatigue and exhaustion.

Low in sugar

Acai berries are low in sugar, although quite tasty, and they help regulate insulin in your blood thus proving to be beneficial for people who suffer from diabetes. Also, eating low in sugar foods is always a good thing if you’re prone to gaining weight or in process of losing it.

Rich in vitamins and minerals

As already mentioned, acai berries are rich in vitamins, minerals and other healthy components that your body requires to stay healthy. Here is what these lovely little berries offer:

  • 100-gram serving of fresh acai berries has less than 240 calories
  • Fatty acids (Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9)
  • Calcium
  • Dietary fiber – 50g serving contains 26g of dietary fiber which is nearly 100% of recommended daily value
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium.

Conclusion

Acai berries were relatively unknown a decade ago, but their popularity is increasing. The berries are considered as superfood and they definitely deserved that status with abundance of vitamins and minerals that improve your overall health and even skin.

What are you waiting for? Munch on acai berries or, simply, make a yummy smoothie right now.

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Katleen Brown

Katleen is a health and beauty advisor.

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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