The acai berry
has been touted as having many healthy benefits, including being high in antioxidants - but what is fact and what is fiction?
What is an acai berry?
The acai berry
is a small reddish, purple fruit, about an inch long. It comes from the acai palm tree, which is found primarily in Central and South America. As all reddish, purple fruits, it's related to a number of other berries including the blueberry and cranberry.
Is there any health benefit to the acai berry? Is acai good for you?
contains several substances called anthocyanins and flavonoids. The anthocyanins are what make plants red, purple or blue including fruits, vegetables and even flowers. Foods that have high levels of anthocyanins are blueberries, red grapes, red wine and acai are strongly colored with these deep red and purple hues.
Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants, which help defend the body against stress. Antioxidants also help the body's cell protection system and compounds such as anthocyanins help protect the body against damage by neutralizing free radicals. By reducing the impact of free radicals, antioxidants such as anthocyanins may help reduce the risk of some diseases associated with free radicals including heart disease and cancer.
[For more on the power of antioxidants in organic food, click here]
Does acai berry or acai powder assist in weight loss?
The research is still undecided as to whether or not acai berry or acai powder
helps with weight loss. Anecdotal evidence from everyday people indicates it may be beneficial. However, what is known is that the acai berry has high antioxidant properties so it can be an important part of helping bring your body back into balance, which may support you in your efforts to achieve a healthy weight.
Why are acai berries used in beauty products and cosmetics?
has been shown in studies to be a potentially safe alternative to other tropical oils often used in beauty products such as anti-aging creams, moisturizers and shampoos. When acai oil is processed and stored long-term, the antioxidant levels remain high, which is beneficial to products that typically have a longer shelf life (such as beauty care products as opposed to food products).
Do acai berries and acai juice have any known side effects or potentially dangerous implications?
If you have pollen allergies or have a known hypersensitivity to berries or acai, you may want to avoid acai. Otherwise, acai is likely safe to consume in moderate amounts. (Everything in moderation is a good motto to keep in mind with any food or product you consume).