People love trends and fashions, especially when they taste good and are healthy. Much like other “superfruits,” the acai berry is one of the healthiest, most nutritious purple berries on the planet. Pair that with the words “antiaging” and you’ve got public hysteria right now. We’ll discuss some facts and benefits of the acai berry, and why this purple plant is Brazil’s most famous superfood.
Acai berries are small, dark purple berries native to Central and South America. They are rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, which give them powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Let’s get one thing straight. Acai, super healthy, acai bowls…not so much.Acai Bowls Filled more Not just acai. They’re topped with bananas, granola, coconut, and other delicious additions. They are not so much unhealthy per se as they are loaded with sugar. A bowl of acai can pack up to 60 grams of sugar, which is a lot for anyone.
The reason so many fruits are labeled as “superfruits” like the acai berry is that they are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to protect cells from damage, also known as oxidative stress. Research shows that by reducing free radicals and oxidative stress, you can lower your risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
However, acai berries are not only rich in antioxidants. A half cup or 100 grams of acai puree provides 60 calories, 1.4 grams of protein, 18 grams of carbohydrates and 0.2 grams of fat. While not particularly rich in any one micronutrient, they do contain other elements such as vitamin C, calcium, chromium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
As an interesting benefit, research suggests that acai juice may benefit range of motion and reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that drinking 120ml of acai juice for 12 weeks significantly reduced pain, improved ROM measures and improved daily activities (R).
Pain can affect joint mobility, trigger inflammation and impair movement. Considering the combined antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of acai berry, it does seem to produce significant pain-relieving effects, leading to greater improvement in mobility.
Overweight individuals, especially those with excess central adipose tissue, are more prone to lipid and glucose metabolism dysfunction, which can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes.
Studies have found that including some acai berries in your daily diet can actually improve and balance blood sugar and total cholesterol.
Improving insulin sensitivity through natural remedies can have a profound impact on a case of diabetes. Oxidative stress is thought to be one of the underlying mechanisms behind obesity-related risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
A pilot study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming 100 grams of acai pulp twice daily for 30 days reduced fasting blood sugar and insulin levels. Along with a significant reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL), total cholesterol was also reduced (R).
Research shows that antioxidants and polyphenols can help reduce the risk of age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Acai contains polyphenols called anthocyanins, which belong to the flavonoid family that are powerful anti-inflammatory agents and are primarily responsible for many health benefits.
Studies have shown that anthocyanins may reduce inflammation and improve cognitive function and memory in age-related decline (R).
Studies have shown that a diet rich in antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds can reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and brain disease. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can provide the body with the micronutrients and bioactive compounds it needs to improve quality of life and health. If you’re planning to add some acai to your diet, get it in powder, puree, or juice form. Since they are imported, acai berries go bad quickly and are hard to find fresh in the US.