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Acai Berry: Health benefits to Our Skin and Weight

Acai Berry: Health benefits to Our Skin and Weight

When it comes to health and wellness, you are familiar with the usual buzzwords. “Superfood” and “Power-packed” get thrown around a lot. Likewise, the words probably bring to mind images of leafy kale and bright, juicy blueberries. If you’ve ever visited a health-foods restaurant, then you probably also think of Acai berries.

The long, reddish-purple berry that closely resembles a blueberry is rich in antioxidants. In fact, many makeup and cosmetic brands even use it as an ingredient for their skincare! While there is debate as to whether or not Acai specifically promotes weight loss, there is no doubt that berries are part of a healthy diet which can aid in reduced pounds.

What is Acai?

The acai berry comes from the acai palm tree, which is native to Central and South America. The pulp is richer in antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and even blueberries [1].

According to research, Acai really became popular around 2009. One website recorded this shocking find: “According to Spins, a market research and consulting firm for the natural products industry, Americans spent more than $108 million on acai products in the 52 weeks ending Feb. 21, up from just over $62 million the year before. [2].

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As you might expect, Acai berries are pretty fragile, so it’s hard to find them whole anywhere but Central and South America. That means most connoisseurs are going to have to purchase powdered or frozen acai pulp to add to smoothies.

While plenty of people like to add powder or frozen berries to smoothies, these antioxidant-rich superfoods can also be added to skincare.

    Raw acai berry

    Nutritional Profile

    While some fruits can often be high in natural sugar, acai berries remain relatively low. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional profile of 100g of the food [3]:

    • Calories: 70
    • Calories from Carbs: 16
    • Calories from Fat: 50
    • Calories from Protein: 4
    • Vitamin A: 750 IU
    • Calcium: 20mg
    • Sodium: 10mg
    • Dietary fiber: 2g
    • Sugars: 2g

    Health Benefits

    Acai berries, like all fruits, have some pretty exciting health benefits. Here are some of the most important ones [4].

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    Acai helps to prevent cancer

    Remarkably, antioxidants found in Acai berries have been shown to kill cancer cells, especially leukemia. Other research proved Acai began destroying cancer cells in less than 24 hours of ingestion. In one exiting study, the berries successfully killed 86 percent of lung cancer cells [5]

    Acai helps aid weight loss by reducing appetite

    Some research indicates acai berry pulp is effective for weight loss for most people. In fact, it has been shown to reduce the negative impact of high-fat diets. If you’ve ever perused your local health food store, you may have noticed supplements boasting their acai contents. This is due to reports illustrating the health benefits of the food. One such study found that 30 days of using acai supplements or eating the berry on its own allowed for lower levels of fasting insulin and glucose.

    Acai is useful in treating various skin disorders

    Antioxidants have long been known to help boost skin health, and Acai berries are no exception. They can prevent early aging and even help regenerate skin cells. Our ancestors are believed to have used Acai and other antioxidant-rich foods internally and externally to prevent breakdown of skin cells and to avoid dark spots ,wrinkles and fine lines [6].

    Acai reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and stroke

    Acai berries are high in something called anthocyanin. This antioxidant is also found in red wine and has the ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream! These powerful antioxidants can prevent blood clots and enhance oxygen flow to your blood while lowering the overall risk of stroke and heart attacks [7].

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    Acai boosts mental function and sharpness

    Unfortunately, we can’t always prevent certain things in our bodies from going downhill as we age. Damaged cells accumulate in our brains and can cause Alzheimer’s and other memory and mental related issues. Polyphenols are what give berries their red/blue hues. They activate proteins that can undo damaged cells [8].

    Acai aids in healthy digestion

    Acai berries detoxify the digestive tract and assist in healthy digestion. The berries are also a great source of dietary fiber. Many berries are high in fiber, but acai is one of the best [9].

    How to prepare Acai and incorporate it into your diet

    While Acai berries can be eaten on their own, they are typically added into smoothies or smoothie bowls or taken in a supplement form. If you like sweeter breakfasts, the pulp can be added on top of your waffles. When baking, they can easily be added into the recipe in place of other fruits. Acai juice also serves as an ideal substitute for juices or wines in receipts and is a great addition to marinades, sauces and salad dressings [10].

    Acai Bowl Recipe

    While there are plenty of acai smoothie bowl receipts out there, this one from Bakerita is one of our faves.

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      Acai breakfast bowl

      Ingredients:

      • 2 bananas, frozen
      • 1 packet unsweetened acai blend
      • 1 Cup frozen raspberries
      • 1/4-1/2 cup milk of choice

      Toppings

      • Raspberries, fresh or frozen
      • Dark chocolate, chopped
      • Chocolate hazelnut spread
      • Shredded coconut

      Directions

      1. In a high-powered blender, combine the bananas, acai berry packet, raspberry and 1/4 cup milk. Blend until completely smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup more milk if necessary to blend smooth.
      2. Pour into a bowl and top with raspberries, dark chocolate, coconut and a drizzle of chocolate hazelnut spread. Enjoy immediately [11].

      Make sure to share this post along with your favorite way to enjoy Acai. Now, time to go to the store and load up on antioxidant goodness!

      Reference

      More by this author

      Jolie Choi

      Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

      The result: no more mental stress.

      2. Unplug

      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

      3. Easy on the Caffeine

      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

      The result: mental stress will be gone!

      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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      Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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