Acai berry is obtained from a palm tree native to tropical Central, and South America. It is found throughout the Amazon basin. The botanical name of Acai Palm is Euterpe oleracea Martius (Synonyms Euterpe badiocarpa Barb. Rodr. Euterpe beardii Bailey).
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Acai palm grows naturally in flood plains of the Amazon River. It prefers fertile humid clay soil with good drainage. In recent years, the Acai fruit has gained popularity due to the health benefits, associated with its phytochemical composition, and antioxidant capacity. It is used as dietary supplements as it has high energy value, and a wide range of nutrients including proteins, lipids, vitamins, and polyphenols.
What is Acai Berry, and how it tastes?
Acai berry is a small, black-purple fruit. The berry fruits are round oval in shape with diameters of up to 1.8 cm, forming green clusters when immature, and dark purple ones with full maturation.
Acai berry looks like a grape in appearance, and size but has lesser pulp. There is a single large seed. The ripe fruits are eaten or consumed in the form of juice. The pulp of fruits is also used to make jellies, jams, and liqueurs.
Acai berries taste like berries, and have a rich, berry-cocoa flavor. They contain more antioxidants than blueberries, and pomegranates, plus omega fats, protein, and fiber.
Pronounced as A-sigh-EE [aˌsaˈi]
ACAI BERRY NUTRITION
- The mature pulp contains 38 % to 60 % water.
- On a fresh weight basis: 1-14 % fats
- Protein 2.5%-3.5%
- Sugars: 1-25%
- Fiber: 18 %
- Also contains Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, and Sulphur Dioxide, Beta carotene, Thiamine
Acai Health Benefits
Acai fruits offer numerous health benefits due to high levels of antioxidants. In Brazil, acai is used as a medicinal plant to treat fevers, skin complications, digestive disorders, and parasitic infections. Acai berry has an antioxidant anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and cardioprotective properties. Supplementation with acai berry-based juice has an antioxidant, and hypocholesterolaemic effect due to high total flavonoids, and polyphenol content. Anthocyanins give it anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant capacity.
Acai is considered a functional food because according to its composition it could induce a reduction of lipid peroxidation, and production of proinflammatory cytokine which generates a cardioprotective, and antiproliferative effect, imparting health benefits in the prevention of various pathologies.
Acai berries have significant antioxidant action due to the presence of polyphenolic compounds, containing a number of phenolic hydroxyl groups attached to ring structures. Acai supplementation shows a marked increase in the total antioxidant capacity of plasma. It improves the lipid profile, and reduces exercise-induced damage to muscles.
Experimental studies show that due to its composition, the acai berry has an antioxidantactivity related to its ability to reduce the reactive oxygen species (ROS), and its potential to inhibit cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2).
BENEFICIAL IN METABOLIC DISORDERS
Acai fruit pulp is beneficial in managing metabolic disorders. In an uncontrolled study intake of Acai pulp for one month reduced total cholesterol as well as borderline significant reductions in LDL-cholesterol, and the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol.
Acai pulp reduces the risk factors for Metabolic Syndrome. In a pilot study with 10 overweight adults, after 30 days of Acai consumption, researchers observed significant reductions in fasting glucose, insulin levels, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and the total cholesterol – HDL cholesterol ratio in the participants. The fruit is high in fibers, and helps in constipation.
ANTI-AGING AND GOOD FOR SKIN
Acai pulp is rich in minerals, including calcium, and potassium, and vitamins, especially vitamin E, admittedly with antioxidant potential, and with action to combat free radicals. Phenolic compounds protect from oxidative damage.
The Acai berry is considered high-calorie food due to the presence of a high amount of fatty acids (oleic, linoleic, and Palmitic), with 60% of monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated of 13%. Its proteins content is higher than milk (3.50%), and egg (12.49%), and the amino acid profile is similar to that found in the egg.
HIGH IN ANTHOCYANINS
Anthocyanins are colored water-soluble pigments belonging to the phenolic group. Anthocyanins give red, purple, and blue, colors to fruits, and vegetables. Blue pigment anthocyanin exists in alkaline condition.
Anthocyanin is considered as one of the flavonoids although it has a positive charge at the oxygen atom of the C-ring of basic flavonoid structure.
Acai berry is high in anthocyanins content. The reddish purple color typical of Acai is due to its high anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins possess antidiabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-obesity effects, as well as prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Scientific studies, using cell culture studies, animal models, and human clinical trials, show that anthocyanins possess antioxidative, and antimicrobial activities, improve visual, and neurological health, and protect against various non-communicable diseases.
ACAI BERRY AND WEIGHT LOSS
There are claims that Acai berry can help in Weight-loss. But this claim does not seem true.
Acai berry is definitely beneficial for health like any other fruit due to the presence of fibers, anthocyanin, nutritive value, and antioxidant effect. It is a functional food, and reduces bad cholesterol. You may include it in your balanced diet to gets its health benefits.
It can be part of weight loss diet but just by eating Acai berry, you may not be able to reduce weight.
Acai = Weight loss is a myth, and not a fact. Have a balanced vegetarian diet, drink sufficient amount of water, and daily do some physical exercise to lose weight. Also, do not eat too much of Acai berry as the excess of anything is bad.
Acai intake might affect MRI test results. Therefore, inform the doctor about all the herbal supplements taken on a daily basis.