Facts And Myths About Acai Berry

acai_berry

Increasingly, more and more people are starting to experience the health-giving benefits of superfoods such as Goji berries, Noni fruit and Acai berries. A superfood can be defined as a food that offers superior nutritional value for the amount of calories it contains. Acai berries are considered one of the top superfoods, generally due to their incredible antioxidant properties, and are said to have numerous other health benefits.

Unfortunately this has resulted in numerous supplement manufacturers and distributors making outrageous claims about the wonders of this berry. Whenever a product becomes popular, as Acai has, false claims seem to pop up everywhere. But before I investigate these, let’s find out more about Acai.

Acai berry is a dark purple colour fruit which is similar in shape to a grape. These berries grow in huge clusters near the tops of palm trees, which grow in the Amazon rain forests. Each Acai berry contains just 10% fruit and pulp and a large seed, which has no benefits, so harvesting this fruit is laborious since the tree has no branches and each cluster of berries needs to be cut and brought down manually in order to preserve the fruit and pulp.

Acai evolved from obscurity of the rain forests into the cities of Brazil where it was mixed into health-giving smoothies. Surfers and sports people claimed that it boosted their energy levels. Finally scientists latched onto this and found that Acai did indeed have some beneficial properties.

The benefits of Acai

The taste of Acai berries, once processed and powdered, is often described as a fruity red wine flavour with chocolate overtones. Within the nutritional pulp and skin, Acai berries are packed with antioxidants, amino acids, fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals making it a near perfect energising fruit.

The popularity of Acai is primarily due to its very high concentration of antioxidants. Briefly, antioxidants are molecules that prevent the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation produces free radicals which can damage the cells and glands within our bodies making us more prone to disease and ageing. Since our bodies are exposed to a variety of toxins and produce trillions of free radicals, it is important to take steps to reduce the effect of free radicals in the body. Having a diet rich in antioxidants is the first step and introducing Acai into your regime is another possible way of preventing free radical damage.

Acai has been recognised as one of the world’s highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) foods. ORAC is a measurement of how well antioxidants can neutralise free radicals. The higher the value, the better the body utilises it to fight free radicals. Acai has more than double the antioxidants of blueberries and nearly ten times that of grapes.

The antioxidants found in Acai berry, anthocyanins, are excellent for heart health. Heart disease is increasingly becoming a problem in the world and finding natural ways of keeping your cardiovascular system healthy is an excellent option. Additionally, anthocyanins are also good at preventing the oxidation of cholesterol. When circulating cholesterol, no matter whether you have high or low levels, gets oxidised, it sticks to the walls of arteries causing their narrowing. This build-up of plaque eventually leads to high blood pressure which is of course dangerous.

  • The fibre found in Acai berry skin and pulp can aid digestion. Fibre can help prevent or relieve constipation and may help support a healthy cardiovascular system.
  • Acai is naturally high in essential fatty acids having a fatty acid profile similar to olive oil. The link between essential fatty acids and heart health and a healthy nervous system is well documented.
  • Acai berries contain amino acids which help promote muscle performance, energy production, endurance and strength.
  • Acai berries contain as much Vitamin C as blueberries and is also a source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and E. It is also a source of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.

With such an amazing nutritional profile, it is not difficult to understand why Acai berries can be beneficial for your health and may help slow down the ageing process.

The hype about Acai

There is no doubt about the health benefits of Acai berries. Unfortunately when a product becomes very popular, unfortunately this can lead to misleading information and claims.

Firstly, the largest sector that Acai has been targeted to is weight loss. There are numerous sites that claim that taking Acai Berry in a liquid or capsule form will help to shed pounds. It is estimated that large numbers of the adult population at any given time are thinking of losing weight. Is it a surprise then that Acai has been targeted to this audience?

The truth is that Acai contributes to the overall health of the body, and should not be relied upon solely for weight loss. A healthy lifestyle including a variety of vegetables, quality protein and fruit coupled with some form of exercise will be of benefit. I am not dismissing that Acai can be of benefit, however it should not be relied solely for losing weight. Yes, antioxidants do help to neutralise the by-products of fat burning and thus ensure that the body can carry on burning fat. Acai’s fibre content will help to cleanse the colon and this is one of the steps in achieving weight loss since many of us have sluggish digestion.

Acai is expensive since the berries have to be freeze dried within 24 hours to keep their nutritional profile intact. Freeze drying preserves the goodness of Acai berries found in the skin and pulp and not in the juice.

Many products containing Acai use only a small amount of Acai and load the products with other fillers or juices.

There are many manufacturers who claim that Acai helps to cure arthritis, help depression and improve libido. Frankly, I am sceptical of these claims.

So which Acai product should you use?

There are obviously many acai supplements on the market however the one that I recommend is Acai Berry Powder by Green Origins. This product provides 100% Organic Acai Berry powder which has been freeze-dried instantly to preserve the active components and is not overly processed which often results in degradation of its active components. To summarise, Acai Berry:

  • Helps to increase your antioxidant levels to aid in neutralising damaging free radicals.
  • Boosts your energy levels.
  • Supports your immune system.
  • Helps to promote a healthy digestive system.

Save

Save

Save

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

Shabir Daya | , , , , , , , , ,
  • craig rees

    Great illustration of the power and benefits of the acai berry .something I discovered on my recent trip to Brazil and have continued to use on my return home .Manythanks

  • Johnny

    I’m confused according to this Doctor in the link below Acai ORAC antioxidant capacity is 300% higher than blueberries or of grapes:

    http://www.mercola.com/downloads/bonus/acai_berry/default.htm

    I know the link has the word download in it but just ignore it, they have like some kind of free report they are trying to pitch there. I never put in my email for it.

    I just want to know what is the real truth is it 300% or is it ONLY more than double the antioxidants of blueberries and nearly ten times that of grapes like what you said?

    Can you please help us get the real truth. There is just so much HYPE out there. Ugh!

    Thank you

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Johnny, Please check the link below which shows the ORAC values of different foods and you can definitely see that Acai is far greater than blueberries and more than 300%. http://modernsurvivalblog.com/health/high-orac-value-antioxidant-foods-top-100/
    Shabir

  • mayerd

    Hi Shabir
    Can you take this at the same time as yacon syrup?

  • Herpreet Kaur

    Great post. Very interesting to read. I have a question regarding the acai berry sachets sold on the link provided – can these be frozen as I have seen a lot of health food bloggers using frozen acai for their smoothie bowls etc. and wasn’t sure if the same can be done with these sachets?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Herpreet, thank you for your kind words. There is no need to put Urban Health’s Acai sachets into the fridge because this is the freeze dried powder that is already stable. Normally people put acai berries or crushed acai berries into the fridge to prevent loss of nutrients but in this case, all this is done and all you have to do is to put the product into a drink. Shabir

  • Mangalore Cafe

    after reading the link Thanks for it..I ma now like Screw Acai ..Turmeric is way up there and then there is cloves and cinnamon

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Mangalore, Acai is a very good antioxidant with one of the highest free radical scavenging properties. Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant but has many more benefits from digestion through to blood purification. Always good to get a variety of antioxidants from different sources. Shabir

  • http://www.everythinghealthy.co.uk Justyna

    Thanks for this! I use freeze-dried acai powder daily to create beautiful acai bowls. It is my dream that hopefully one day i will get to try fresh berries straight from a palm tree :)

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Thank you for sharing Justyna.

  • logrunner

    How much would you have to eat to have a measurable impact?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    I would recommend approximately 100 grams daily. Shabir

  • logrunner

    What might that cost?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi, i do not know what the cost of acai berries but you can check with your local store. Shabir

  • logrunner

    That is my point. Freeze-dried powder seems to cost about $25 for 100g so I am confused by your advice to take 100g daily. Or are you suggesting diluting in some way?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Sorry for the confusion, when I referred to the 100g this was eating fresh acai berries on a daily basis which is some parts of the world are easily accessible and not that expensive. If you are talking about freeze dried powder, this does vary according to manufacturer but usually 10 grams a day.

  • logrunner

    So to be clear, do you recommend eating freeze dried berries and if so how much per day?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi, a handful of acai berries should keep your antioxidant levels up.

  • http://www.100amazonia.com Fernanda Stefani

    Sorry, this is impossible. Only birds eat the whole berries. Acai berries contain a very small layer of mesocarp and exocarp (around 17%), and therefore are consumed in our country as acai puree in the least processed version. i live in Belem which is the capital of acai in Brazil. We produce freez dried acai powder here and a minimum recommeded quantity of these 100% acai FD powder would be around 4grams.

  • kingcobra777

    Hype or no hype, acai is one of the best foods you can eat and is also one of the best supplements you can take. It is of course foolish to rely on anything solely for weight loss and to lose weight and keep it off we must change our diet so that we do not store so much fat.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Thank you, that what precisely what my editorial piece was aiming at. Acai is an excellent source of antioxidants, fibre and nutrients. Shabir

  • Alan Skyrme

    Not edible straight from the palm. The berries need to be pasteurised and processed to produce a thick juice that can be eaten with prawns, fish, meat, tapioca or made into a porridge. Its only the thin skin that produces the juice.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Thank you for the tip.

  • James Bond007

    Thanks for the great info on this powerful health effects! I read somewhere on the Net and it said taking the capsules also give you the benefit effects since it also contains 1900 ORAC extract. I got the bottle at an outlet store such as ROSS’s or Marshall’s, and it was on sale for $2.99 for 60 capsules (which is cheap but the expiration date is too close but I do not care because it’s still look new for good uses). I started taking them recentlty and noticed to feeling great already. Since I do have some skin conditions so called dermatitis problem and it started healing most of the conditions because of the antioxidant levels in them to help to correct the damaging free radicals. Hope this “2 cents experience” will help for those with skin issues besides other health benefits.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Thank you for the info.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Absolutely Peter, Olive oil imparts numerous benefits to the body and so does the leaf.