Saturday, October 22, 2011

All About Acai Berry by Kathryn Steed

You’ve seen it in your fruit drinks, your makeup, your weight loss pills, your vitamin supplements, and you’ve heard it called a superfood. It’s acai berry, and it’s the newest fad fruit that you know nothing about! Let’s do away with all the hype and take an honest look at this interesting fruit.

The Basics

Acai (pronounced “ah-sigh-EE”) berries grow in Central and South America. They are small, purplish berries that are about an inch in diameter. They somewhat resemble grapes, except acai berries have a large seed in their centers. They are grown on acai palm trees and are in the same family as cranberries and blueberries.

Health Benefits

Acai berries are loaded with antioxidants called flavonoids and anthocyanins. In fact, they have more antioxidants than cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Acai berries also contain a high concentration of vitamins C and E. These antioxidants and vitamins are essential to fighting and preventing diseases like cancer and heart disease. They do this by preventing blood clots, relaxing the blood vessels, improving your circulation, and blocking carcinogens. The antioxidants in these berries also help fight the aging process. Due to its anti-aging properties, acai oil can now be found in cosmetics and beauty products. In addition to their high antioxidant content, acai berries contain plant sterols that help reduce cholesterol, promote prostate health, and lower cholesterol.

Acai berries are now touted by many weight loss companies as the best dietary supplement around. While they cannot work miracles, the amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that they contain may help increase your energy, boost your metabolism, and suppress your appetite.

Fun Facts

1. In certain areas around the Amazon, acai berry juice is known as the “poor man’s juice.” It is incredibly affordable and often served from plastic bags.

2. The seed of the berry takes up about 80% of the fruit itself.

3. Many people say that acai berries have a chocolatey taste.

4. Oprah, Rachel Ray, and Dr. Oz have all publicly praised acai berries.

5. Brazilians believe that acai berries can boost your sex life and fertility.