Acai (Euterpe oleracea) berries have been consumed by people to improve their health for thousand of years. The berries possess several properties that have been known to improve our overall health. They help prevent arthritis, inflammation, erectile dysfunction, obesity, heart diseases, and cholesterol. They not only aid weight loss and digestion but also enhance your immunity and promote healthy skin and hair.
Acai berry (Euterpe oleraceae) is one of the most nutritious berries on the planets. Also called the Amazonian palm berry, acai is native to the Amazon rainforest. This fruit has been heralded for centuries for its healing, immune-stimulating, energy-boosting properties. Research reveals this antioxidant-rich berry may help suppress and repair oxidative damage.
Acai Berries Benefits
. Promotes Heart Health
. Stop Bad Cell Proliferation
. Aids Weight Loss
. Promotes Skin Health
. Helps Digestion
. Reduces Irritation
. Improves Cellular Health
. Immune System Booster
. Has Anti-Aging Effects
. Boost Energy
. Encourages a Healthy Libido
. Improves Mental Function
Promotes Heart Health
Anthocyanin consumption has been strongly linked to oxidative stress protection. One study has found that regular consumption of anthocyanins can reduce the risk of heart attack by 32 percent in young and middle-aged women. The fiber and heart-healthy fats in acai also support heart health. Heart-healthy fats increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol and decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Several longitudinal studies have reported a significantly lower cardiovascular disease risk and all-cause mortality with high consumption of fiber. Fiber intake also reduces LDL cholesterol. Fiber intake is not associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, but also a slower progression of the disease in high-risk individuals.
Acai berries are extremely high in anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that supports balanced cholesterol levels. They are also rich in plant sterol that provide cardioprotective benefits, including supporting circulation, improving overall blood composition, and overall blood composition, and relaxing the blood vessels.
Stop Bad Cell Proliferation
Acai berries are powerhouses against bad cell growth. Multiple studies have found that the anthocyanins and polyphenols found in acai berries have strong antiproliferative properties – which means they stop bad cells from growing out of control. Studies have found up to 95% inhibition from acai. It is thought that these phytochemicals can disrupt cell mutation at a molecular level, killing the affected cells before they multiply.
Aids Weight Loss
Acai may help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. One interesting study found that eating 200 grams of acai pulp reduced total body fat, reduced skinfolds, and increase insulin sensitivity in overweight women. In the same study, women whose weight was normal experienced a redistribution of body fat, with reduced subcutaneous body fat but increased visceral fat.
Improve Cholesterol Levels
Animals studies have suggested that acai could help improve cholesterol levels by decreasing total and LDL cholesterol. And its possible that it could have a similar effect in humans. A 2011 study had 10 overweight adults eat acai smoothiest twice daily for one month. Overall, they had lower total and “bad” LDL Cholesterol at the end of the study.
However, there were a few drawbacks to this study. It was small, had no control group and received its funding from a primary supplier of acai. While more reaserch is needed, it’s possible that the anthocyanins in acai could be responsible for their positive impact on cholesterol levels, since studies have linked this plant compound to improvements in HDL and LDL cholesterol. In addition, acai contents plant sterols, which prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by your body.
Promotes Skin Health
Natural skin care products made with acai oil are a great natural alternative to chemical-based skin care products. Currently, many beauty products contain acai oil because of the oil’s high antioxidant content. Its skin care benefits aren’t limited to an external application. When eaten, the berries provide nutrition that can give your skin a healthy glow. In fact, Brazilians have been eating acai berries for centuries to promote skin health.
Acai seed extract has properties that may prevent irritation in the lungs typically associated with respiratory distress and swelling from smoke inhalation. Although recommended quitting smoking or never starting in the first place, if you smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke, acai’s antioxidant properties may reduce smoke-induced swelling inside of your lungs.
Improves Cellular Health
Acai plays an important role in the body’s cellular protection system, helping to keep cells strong against the invasion of free radicals. Acai has the strongest activity of any fruit or vegetable tested to date against the peroxyl free radical and superoxides, which cause cell damage. The antioxidants in acai enter human white blood cells and perform an “oxygen quenching function” at very low doses. That’s why acai is called a SUPERFOOD!
Immune System Booster
People call acai a Superfood for a good reason. Studies have found that consuming acai fruit boosted the production of human gamma delta T cells in cell cultures, which are an important part of the immune system. When given directly to people, acai also boosted the production of interleukin 12 (1L-12) as well as myeloid cells, a type of white blood cells which ensure your immune system is healthy.
Has Anti-Aging Effects
Extremely high in many forms of phytochemicals, acai berries may slow or reverse aging processes as they relate to oxidative damage. In fact, the berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants; acai berries have ten times as many antioxidants as grapes and twice as many as blueberries.
Due to its overall health benefits, taking acai extract can lead to increased energy and stamina and may even help combat fatigue and exhaustion – especially after exercise. In one study, drinking an acai beverage not only reduced the body’s metabolic stress from exercise, but it also reduced the exercise’s perceived exertion, which is how much effort they felt they were expanding. It also increased the time before they felt exhausted. Whenever you need a boost, simply eat a handful of berries, and you will be ready to go in no time.
Encourages a Healthy Libido
Although not an aphrodisiac per se, this famous purple berry is linked to overall increased blood circulation in human body, a phenomenon that may contribute to a boost in sex drive, especially for men. When overweight men consumed an acai smoothie, it led to improved vascular function, which is a characteristic of how blood flows through the body’s blood vessels.
Boost Brain Function
The many plant compounds in acai could also protect your brain from damage as you age. Studies have shown this kind of protective effect in lab rats. The antioxidant in acai counteract the damaging effect of inflammation and oxidation in brain cells, which can negatively effects memory and learning.
In one study, acai even helped improved memory in aging rats. One of the ways in which the brain stay healthy is by cleaning up cells that are toxic or no longer working, a process known as autophagy. It makes way for new nerves to form, enhancing communication between brain cells. As you age, this process works less efficiently. However, in lab tests, acai extract has helped stimulate this “housekeeping” response in brain cells.
Improves Mental Function
Acai is high in anthocyanins and other neurologically active plant compounds (phytochemicals). Preliminary research studies show that acai may improve short and long-term memory and promote healthy brain aging. Scientists have studied how acai may protect against neurological diseases, including dementia.
Age-related brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease have no cure, but research suggests that diets rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory polyphenolic compounds may lower the risk of these diseases. Specifically, the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is abundant in acai berries, may lower oxidative stress and inflammation, promoting brain health.
Anthocyanins also have been shown to enhance and improve memory. They are thought to work by inhibiting neuroinflammation, activating synaptic signaling, and improving blood flow to the brain.
Loaded with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are important because they neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals throughout the body. If free radicals are not neutralize by antioxidants, they can damage cells and lead to a number of diseases, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Acai berries have an incredibly high amount of antioxidants, edging out other antioxidation-rich fruits like blueberries and cranberries. The antioxidant content of foods is typically measured by an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score. In the case of acai, 100 grams of frozen pulp has an ORAC of 15,405, whereas the same amount of blueberries has a score of 4,669.
This antioxidant activity comes from a number of plant compounds in acai, including anthocyanins. In 2008, researchers gave 12 fasting volunteers acai pulp, acai juice, applesause or a drink with no antioxidants at four different times and tested their blood for antioxidant.
Anthocyanins have been observed to engage in anticarcinogenic activities, although the exact mechanisms are unknow. Laboratory studies using a variety of cancer cells have indicated that anthocyanins:
. Act as antioxidants
. Activate detoxifying enzymes
. Prevent cancer cell proliferation
. Induce cancer cell death
. Have anti-inflammatory effects
. Inhibit some of the beginning of the formation of tumors
. Prevent cancer cell invasion
These function have been observed in multiple animal and culture studies. A small study of 25 patients with colorectal cancer found that a 7-day intake of .05-2.0 grams (g) of anthocyanins resulted in Improvements similar to other therapies.
Performance in Athletes
However, it was linked to an increase in plasma antioxidant activity, serum lipid profiles improved, and it appeared to help with exercise-induced muscle injury.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one 3-gram teaspoon of acai berry powder contains:
. 20 calories
. 0 g protein
. 1.5 g total fat
. 1 g carbohydrate
. 1 g fiber
. 6 milligrams (mg)
Acai berries are rich in fatty acids, especially oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acids. Although acai berries very little total protein, they do contain 19 amino acids, as well as several sterols, including campesterol, stigmasterol, and beta- sitosterol. The phytochemicals in acai berries include mainly anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins.
Acai berries contain more antioxidants than other commonly eaten berries. They also are high in fiber and heart-healthy fats. The antioxidant effects of acai berries have largely been attributed to phenolic compounds.
Antioxidants in the body are believed to help protect against various diseases as they can neutralize oxidative damage caused by environmental stressors, such as pollution.