Acai: A nutritional powerhouse from Brazil
• One of the most nutritious foods in the world
• A powerful source of antioxidants to combat premature ageing
• Helps promote cardiovascular and digestive health
• Promotes weight loss
• Rainforest grown
What is Acai?
The Acai berry grows on palm trees in the Amazon Rainforest. The berry resembles a giant, purple, blueberry. Despite its many benefits, you cannot eat the acai berry directly. The berries must be harvested fresh and processed into a pulp. In Brazil, Acai has exploded into the mainstream, spreading rapidly throughout the country. Some Brazilians freeze their Acai and mix it with Guarana syrup.
How does Acai work?
Acai is called a superfood for many reasons. The berry naturally contains huge amounts of Antioxidants, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Phosphorus, Calcium, Potassium, Fibre, Proteins, as well as good fatty acids.
The incredible levels of antioxidants in Acai help you feel younger. Research has also shown that antioxidants can help regulate cholesterol levels in your body.
Acai has two essential fatty acids known as Omega 6 (Linoleic acid) and Omega 9 (Oleic acid). Research shows that Omega 6 helps lower LDL, which is the cholesterol that harms your body, while Omega 9 fatty acids lower LDL and maintain HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Acai’s high levels of antioxidants also play a factor in maintenance of vascular cardiac system, which is important for better blood circulation.
The dark purplish colour of the berry is due to the polyphenolic compounds present in the berry. One of the main compounds being researched is called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are a group of Flavonoids widely distributed in plants and that give a reddish or purplish colour to fruits such as blackberries, grapes, and raspberries. The more research that is done on anthocyanins, the more benefits are found.
Why take Acai?
• Weight Loss: The Acai berry helps increase the body’s metabolism rate and helps you get rid of extra pounds by burning fat, thanks to its high content in fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6, which are not produced by the body. Moreover, the Acai berry has the ability to control appetite thanks to its high fibre content, which satiates hunger. It also helps in the proper movement of food in the digestive tract. This actually helps eliminate excess food in the body, instead of converting it to fat.
• Inflammation: Anthocyanins help neutralize enzymes that destroy connective tissue. Their antioxidant capacity prevents free radicals from damaging connective tissues and may help repair damaged proteins in the blood-vessel walls.
• Nervous System: By preventing tyrosine nitration, the Anthocyanin properties in Acai may help protect against neurological diseases. The primary Anthocyanins in Acai known as Cyanidin-3-glucoside have been found to contribute to the reversal of age related neurological deficits.
• Arteriosclerosis: Anthocyanins ability to counter oxidants make them a powerhouse in the fight against arteriosclerosis. Even in small amounts, Anthocyanins effectively guard against LDL oxidation. Anthocyanins protect the integrity of the endothelial cells that line blood vessel walls and help to maintain micro capillary integrity.
• Diabetes: One of the serious diabetic complications is retinopathy, which in most cases can cause blindness. This condition occurs when the body attempts to repair leaking, damaged capillaries, but does so by producing to many abnormal proteins. The protection of Anthocyanins may help prevent these capillaries from leaking and assist in the prevention of abnormal protein proliferation.
• Eye Health: The Acai berry’s anthocyanins may also help improve eyesight by numerous mechanisms. A recent Japanese study found that people taking 50mg of anthocyanins adapted better to the dark and had less eye fatigue than those in the placebo group.