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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
- 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
- Potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium.
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