The Acai Berry – How Healthy Is That Little Berry For You?

Steadily, it has been making its way onto grocery store shelves, into specialty stores, and into diet programs. Many health foodists have proclaimed it as the next “superfood” – truly a wonder of nature, capable of battling weight gain, disease, and all around unhealthiness. But what are the true benefits of acai, and what is inside that makes it so powerful?

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Where Do You Hail From, Acai?

Scattered throughout the North of Brazil, particularly the Amazonia region, Euterpe oleracea palm trees litter the ground with their berries, pronounced phonetically as “ah-sigh-ee” rather than the Americanized “a-kai”.

For millennia, these fruits have nourished the Amazonian people, Amazonian animals, and many other living creatures in the region. While there is plentiful folklore surrounding the berry, its story in America largely begins in the 1970s when it was first recognized for its export potential.

Health Benefits

With studies in the 1980s in both the United States and in Europe confirming their benefits, many people interested in health-boosting foods jumped on-board with the Acai berry (and for all the right reasons).

The dark purple-pigmented berries are rich in anthocyanins and flavonoids, both of which are powerful antioxidants. These help protect our bodies from free radicals and defend against stressors, perhaps leading to a decreased propensity to develop disease and cancer.

The antioxidant capacity of these berries rival that of cranberry, blackberry, and blueberry. As if they were running the gauntlet of the produce isle, acai also rivals the anti-oxidant capacity of grapes – beating them out on nearly  a 10 to 1 ratio.

To complement this, they are also rich in fiber and dietary protein. They contain omega-6 and 9 fatty acids, which promote cholesterol maintenance and through extension, a healthy heart. Additionally, they come with trace vitamin C, calcium, Iron, vitamin A, and aspartic and glutamic acid.

What About Weight Loss Or Metabolism?

So are the rumors true about acai helping you lose weight? Yes and no. Studies show that eating a diet rich in anti-oxidants is indeed a way to help lose weight, but, as WebMD puts it, “The jury’s still out on whether there is something special about acai’s ability to shed excess pounds.”

Regardless of the uncertainty, many people still sing the praises of acai. Consumers of acai claim an increase in energy, a feeling of youth, enhanced sexual function, improved vision, better sleep, and increased mental clarity. Scientists are still researching the validity of these claims, but without a doubt, working acai into your diet only promises increased health!

Acai Suggestions!

Botafogo Style

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Pour 3.5 Oz of Acai Roots into a blender, 1 banana and a splash of Orange Juice.
Blend until smooth and serve. This isa vitamin and antioxidant rich healthy breakfast that will get your day going!

Brazilian Style

Pour 7 oz. (200g) of Acai Roots into a blender. Add 1/2 cup of soy milk or juice and 1 banana.
Blend until smooth and serve topped with banana slices and granola.
(Optional) Add 1/4 cup mixed fruits and 1/2 cup yogurt to turn it into a smoothie!

Thanks AcaiRoots for the great recipe ideas!

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