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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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Katleen Brown

Katleen is a health and beauty advisor.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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