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Berry-Go-Round! You Don’t Want To Miss The Amazing Benefits of Acai Berry!

Berry-Go-Round! You Don’t Want To Miss The Amazing Benefits of Acai Berry!

Regardless of where you live, you have probably heard of Acai (ah-sigh-ee). This berry is a superfood that can be found everywhere from boutique smoothie bowl spots and even the frozen food section of your local grocery store. But do you know what it is?

Acai is a small berry that is red and purple in color. It grows on an acai palm tree typically found in central and south America [1]. Aside from being pretty to look at, it’s also great for your health!

While all fruits have nutritional benefits, Acai boosts many antioxidants, making it great for your body, inside and out. In fact, many cosmetic products include the berry because no matter how much it’s processed, the antioxidant levels remain strong. It also contains high amounts of Vitamin A and phenolic compounds.

Acai also has natural detoxifying contents, iron, calcium, fiber and more! It even helps combat fatigue, furthering it’s claim to be a great breakfast food [2].

In recent years, Acai has made a name for itself through smoothie bowls and other trendy breakfast items. It’s an excellent addition to your diet because it not only looks beautiful, but it tastes good, too. For anyone who has struggled with eating well, you know that is a rare combination.

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Nutrition Profile

The following is a highlighted look at the nutritional profile of 100g of pure, unsweetened Acai berry [3].

  • Calories: 70.0
  • Total Carbohydrates: 4.0g
  • Sugars: 2.0g
  • Vitamin A: 750 IU
  • Calcium: 20.0mg

Health Benefits of Acai Berry

We’ve established that it’s beautiful and high in antioxidants, but there are more reasons to include the superfood in your diet.

1. Acai Helps Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease

The phenolic compounds in Acai helps to protect against heart disease and even cancer. In one study, researchers saw a reduction in the metabolic disease markers in overweight patients. This happened through consuming just 100 g of Acai pulp twice a day for 30 days.

2. Acai Can Provide More Energy!

Who doesn’t want more energy? Acari contains antioxidants, omega fatty acids, iron, calcium, fiber, vitamin A and anthocyanin which has been shown to aid in health. Because these things help you to break down carbs in a steady way throughout the day, you stay feeling full and energetic while avoiding that exhausted feeling. A recent study found that Acai represents one of the best sources of antioxidants you can buy!

3. Acai naturally detoxes the body.

A study by Sao Paulo State University over the span of 10 weeks used Acai berry pulp to treat a type of bladder cancer in mice. Not only did the cancer lessen, but DNA was actually repaired. While it’s important to keep in mind that mice and humans do not necessarily function the same way, it is a great sign of what the antioxidants can do in our bodies! Another study found that immense cell function was drastically increased simply by ingesting Acai.

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4. It Helps Improve Your skin.

Dr. Lindsey Duncan, ND, CN says Acai helps to maintain healthy hair, skin and nails, especially in females. This is largely due to the polyphenol antioxidants Acai has that can fight free radicals and oxidative stress. The best part? It can even slow down aging!

5. It increases your blood flow.

Healthy circulation is key. When your blood is circulating well, it can help you ward off health ailments. Plus, Acai assists in regulating and establishing proper blood flow. Researchers for one study have quickly figured out that adding in just a little bit of Acai to your daily eating habits positively affected cellular function.

6. Acai helps with range of motion.

In a pilot study called “Pain Reduction and Improvement in Range of Motion after Daily Consumption of an Acai” showed that after only three months of eating Acai, the subjects who experienced conditions such as osteoarthritis experienced way less pain.

7. Acai might help you lose weight.

Amherst College’s Acai Report 2005 study showed that because of all the healthy contents of Acai, ingesting the blueberry-sized berry could aid in weight loss!

Possible Side Effects

Now that we’ve talked about how incredible Acai is, let’s touch on the possible side effects that could come with eating the berry.

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Natural Standard, a research collaborative involving Harvard Medical School did a study and found few side effects. These included bloating, gas, nausea, constipation or loose stool, but all were minor and seemingly temporary.

More so, extracts and supplements of the berry could decrease blood sugar and have bad interactions with blood sugar-lowering medication. So if you’re on any medications to control blood glucose, talk to your doctor before including the berry in your diet. Lastly, it’s important to avoid eating Acai if you’re on a medically-prescribed low-potassium diet.

How to choose, pick and eat

Unless you’re in a Brazilian rainforest picking Acai off the trees, you can’t get fresh berries because they rot too quickly. However, if you’re in the US, you can get freeze-dried Acai in capsule form and the most popular form is frozen. This makes picking Acai at the grocery store super simple! No inspection necessary.

You can purchase Acai powder, capsules and frozen berries/puree at grocery and health food stores. And of course you can also buy online. Depending on what type you purchase (frozen or capsule) you can ingest the berry in different ways. If frozen, opt for smoothies or breakfast bowls.

Who can (and can’t) eat Acai?

As mentioned earlier, Acai is good for anyone unless on specific dietary restrictions or allergic to fruit. As with any fruit, enjoy in moderation to avoid excess sugar. If pregnant, check with your doctor before ingesting. While it hasn’t been shown to be dangerous, it is never wise to make assumptions when it comes to your health.

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Starting off with the simple yet delicious Acai Bowl!

Quick and Easy Acai Bowl

    Image from Dinner at the zoo

    Makes 2 servings

    • 1 cup apple juice
    • 1 large banana, sliced
    • 1 1/2 cups frozen berries
    • 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 frozen packed of acas berry puree broken into piece
    • Assorted toppings such as sliced almonds, berries, shredded coconut, granola, chia seeds, sliced bananas, etc.

    Instructions:

    1. Place the apple juice, banana, frozen berries, yogurt, honey and acai puree in the blender.
    2. Blend until thoroughly combines and smooth.
    3. Pour the smoothie into 2 deep bowls.
    4. Arrange the desired toppings over your smoothie bowls and serve.

    Featured photo credit: Total Body Nourishment via totalbodynourishment.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Heather Poole

    Heather shares about everyday lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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