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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

      Gone through a few heartbreaks and lost hundreds of friends but I am still happy with my life.

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      Last Updated on May 22, 2019

      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

      There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

      One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

      In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

      Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

      1. Cat Camel Stretch

      Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

      Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

      Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

      Here’s a video to guide you through:

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      2. Go for a Walk or a Run

      This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

      Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

      The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

      Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

      Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

      3. Jumping Jacks

      Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

      Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

      4. Abductor Side Lifts

      Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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      Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

      5. Balancing Table Pose

      This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

      Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

      ablab

        6. Leg Squats

        Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

        Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

        The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

        7. Push Ups

        You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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        An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

        Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

        This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

        8. Bicycle Crunches

        There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

        Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

        9. Lunges

        Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

        Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

        This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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        10. Bicep Curls

        You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

        Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

        Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

        Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

        Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

        These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

        You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

        Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

        More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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