Acai berry is a purple berry that grows on the acai palm, a palm tree belonging to the Arecaceae family and that measures from 25 to 30 m high. Acai palms grow in Central and South America, in particularly in Brazil (in the Amazon forest) where the acai berry has been valued for centuries by locals for its amazing health properties. Acai palm leaves are used to make hats, baskets, and even in construction. Acai berries are small and round berries made of 80% of seeds that can be used as organic soil to feed plants.
Acai berry health benefits
Acai berry has gained in popularity in the past 10 years thanks to marketing efforts to position the fruit as a “superfruit” like goji berries, blueberries or tart cherry. It is now grown outside the traditional Amazonian crops to meet the high demand in Western countries. The marketing buzz was done around the acai berry health benefits.
1 – Indeed, acai berries are very rich in antioxidants and rate high on the Orac scale (see our previous article about tart cherry). Acai berries are packed with anthocyanins much like blueberries and this explains their deep purple color as well as their antioxidant capacity. They are also rich in polyphenols, another type of antioxidant often related to the “French paradox”. French people eat fatty food (cheese, white bread, pastries) but the heart disease rate is one of the lowest. It is believed to be due to the amount of red wine consumed in France as wine contains polyphenols. Acai berries are said to contain 20 times more the amount of polyphenols than of red wine.
2 – Also, acai berries contain high amounts of essential fatty acids (omega 6 and 9) just like argan oil that contribute to the promotion of good cholesterol while soothing inflammatory conditions and making the skin looks healthy.
3 – Acai berries are believed to be a valuable source of energy. As a matter of fact, in Brazil, acai berries are consumed as “acai na tigela” (acai bowl) that consists of acai pulp, granola and banana to provide energy.
4 – Other claims include easing the digestive system thanks to the high amount of fibers.
5 – Acai berries are a great source of vitamins and proteins to keep our good health.
Acai berries can be taken in various forms including raw, in acai berry supplements, acai berry tablets, acai berry juice, smoothies, jam or cereal bars. However, always check the ingredients to ensure that the product does not only contain acai berries partially. Organic acai berry juice that is pure is the best as you can measure the amount you wish to take daily and mix it with other juices or water.
While acai berries are a powerful fruit, so are many other fruits such as blueberries or other vegetables and a mix of both should be part of the daily diet. So it is a great idea to incorporate acai berries in our diet but let’s keep aware of unverified commercial health claims over acai berries such as weight loss, sexual performances and more and always read the label of organic products to ensure they are truly organic.
By the way, acai is pronounced AH-SAH-EE if you ever visit Brazil 🙂