Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Seeing Your Ex Partner Getting into a New Relationship Is Often Devastating, Here’s What to Do A Vegan Diet Is Not Only About Giving Up On Meat, It’s More Than That! 5 Home Appliances That You Can’t Live Without 5 Pie Recipes That You’ll Definitely Wanna Try This Weekend 7 Craziest Things Fitness Instructors Want You to Do

Trending in Food and Drink

1What Foods Have the Most Brain Vitamins for Enhanced Mental Strength 217 Acid Reflux Remedies That Are Natural and Super Effective 3The Ultimate List of Superfoods 4How I Lose Weight, Get to 9% Body Fat and Build Muscles with Vegan Diet 5Muscle Building Diet: How to Eat to Lose Fat and Build Lean Muscle

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 18, 2018

What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

Video Summary

Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

Sitting Is the New Smoking

Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

Advertising

Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

    Sit Properly

    If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

    Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

      Credit: StayWow

      Stand Up More

      Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

      Advertising

      Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

      Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

      Or get a standing desk.

      One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

      Exercise for Lower Back Pain

      Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

      But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

      The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

      Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

      Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

      This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

      Advertising

      Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

      Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

      There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

      Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

      I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

      Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

      If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

      Where to Start

      The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

      Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

      Advertising

      If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

      Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

      Keep a straight back.

      Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

      Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

      I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

      If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

      Stay Away From the Back Pain League

      Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Read Next