Superfoods are nutrient powerhouses that can widely contribute to overall health with consumed on a regular basis. These unique foods contain vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants, which can have a host of health benefits.
One such superfood boasting one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants is the acai berry. How much do you know about the superfood acai?
All About Acai
Acai berries are harvested from the Euterpe oleracea palm tree and are deep red and purple in color. Their shape, size and texture is similar to that of a red grape. Native to the rainforests of South America, these berries have been eaten for centuries by the indigenous people of these regions, namely those in Brazil, for their vast nutrients and healthful benefits. The berries and their juice are used to create medicine, but can also be consumed on their own.
Antioxidant Benefits of Acai
The main reason acai berries are revered is their high content of antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins and flavonoids, which contribute to the berry's rich color. These berries are said to provide more antioxidants than blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Antioxidants help neutralize free radical invaders, which we encounter daily and are also a product of metabolism. Free radicals cause oxidative stress and damage throughout the body, which can lead to illness as well as physical and mental signs of aging. Life-threatening conditions like heart disease and various cancers are linked to this damage. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants may help prevent this damage from occurring in the first place. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry confirmed the amount of antioxidants found within acai berries to be particularly effective in combating superoxide and peroxyl free radicals, which can damage cells.
Other common uses for acai include arthritis, anti-aging, erectile dysfunction (ED), cholesterol management and weight loss. All of these possible benefits are currently under research.
When it comes to weight loss, acai may help due its high fiber content, which supports proper digestion and helps you remain full. It may also help you feel more energized and able to complete your daily exercise to meet your weight loss goals. A 2011 study published in the Nutrition Journal and conducted in California found consuming 100 g of acai pulp twice a day for one month resulted in lower cholesterol, fasting glucose and insulin levels in patients who were overweight but otherwise healthy. More research will be needed to confirm acai's benefits.
Lastly, antioxidants can also benefit the outward appearance, helping to prevent or reverse the signs of aging like wrinkles, age spots and fine lines with long-term use. Consuming acai berries or juice may produce this benefit. You can also find topical beauty products that contain acai extract or oil.
How to Get More
If you're interested in adding daily acai to your routine, you can start with the fruit or juice, which have no known side effects. If you're looking to consume a more concentrated amount of acai on a daily basis, in supplement form, it's important to speak with your doctor first, especially if you're being treated for a medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
There is no established recommended daily dose for acai to obtain its benefits. Follow product instructions carefully and pay attention to how the supplement affects you. Stronger acai supplements are available in liquid, tea or pill form and may contain just the acai extract or a combination of acai with other superfoods.
Acai makes a great addition to your diet if you're interested in increasing your intake of antioxidants. Check out all our acai products at eVitamins and let us know how they work!