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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 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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