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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

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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