We know that fruits and vegetables are responsible for proper functioning of our bodies to a large extent. If we want to be nourished with vitamins and minerals and energized throughout the day, then consuming several portions of fruits and veggies every day is a must.
Different kinds of berry fruits are considered to be one of the healthiest types of fruit due to their high content of antioxidants, natural substances that protect all the cells and tissues in our system from the destructive effects of the free radicals. These molecules are created in our body as a result of exposure to toxic substances from the environment and to excessive UV light radiation, poor diet, in the process of digestion, and other factors.
Free radicals damage and destroy the healthy cells in our organism, which makes them one of the leading causes for all kinds of inflammatory diseases and cancer. This cellular damage also leads to premature aging of the skin and all the organs.
Of all the berries that exist in the world, one of them is the ultimate winner when it comes to its content of antioxidants.
Is it a blueberry, a raspberry, or perhaps a cranberry? No, it is a berry that bears a scientific name Euterpe oleracea Martius– a small, reddish- dark violet fruit that has a very distinctive taste of red wine and chocolate. This delicious and precious fruit, commonly called Acai berry, was almost unknown to us ten years ago.
It grows on palms trees hidden deeply in the Amazon forests and swamps, in Brazil, as well as in the northern parts of South America. The native people have been handpicking and utilizing Acai berries as food and medicine for hundreds of years.
Here are at least 11 important reasons why acai berry is super healthy for you:
1. It has a superior antioxidant capacity. It appears almost at the top of the ORAC score, which is a measurement of the amount of antioxidants a certain food possesses.
The abbreviation stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. The dark red and purple color of acai berry indicates the presence of valuable colored pigments, anthocyanins in particular, that act as remarkable health-protective antioxidants.
Just for illustration, the amounts of anthocyanins in acai berry are ten times bigger than in red grapes, and up to 30 times higher than in red wine. Furthermore, the antioxidants present in acai berry are easily and fully absorbed by our cells, neutralizing the certain types of free radicals very effectively.
2. It maintains skin health and prevents premature aging of the skin, again thanks to its amazingly high content of antioxidants. Our skin is the organ that mirrors all the inner changes in our body. Premature wrinkles, discoloration, and saggy appearance are the early signs of free radical damage to the skin. Acai berry slows down the aging process, provides elasticity and beautiful complexion of the skin.
3. It improves memory and focus and overall cognitive abilities. It has also been found to protect brain cells from damage caused by inflammation and oxidative stress, which is especially important for patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is attributed not only to anthocyanins, but also to phenolic compounds such as ferulic and vanillic acids, resveratrol, catechin, and quercetin.
4. Acai berry abounds in heart-healthy fatty acids, like Omega 3 and 6 that promote heart health. Consumption of acai berry juice has also been found to improve blood lipid levels, which means that it helps protect the heart and the whole cardiovascular system.
5. The results of another study have revealed that acai berry has the ability to prevent hardening of the arteries, thus maintaining heart health.
6. Ingestion of acai berry pulp has shown to reduce the bad cholesterol levels, as well as blood sugar levels in a pilot study that involved overweight people. It can therefore be used to help lower the risk of diabetes and heart diseases.
7. Acai berry has strong anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties that significantly contribute to joint health and improvement of mobility, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods.
8. It boosts the immune system with its content of arabinogalactan, a compound that increases the activity of the cells responsible for immunity. The abundance of vitamins and minerals also strengthens the defense mechanisms in our body. Using acai berry on a regular basis will help you ward off different bacterial and viral infections, like colds and flu.
9. Acai berry improves digestion and promotes weight loss. It has a high content of dietary fiber that plays a major role in maintaining healthy metabolism. When the digestion process is healthy, the shedding of extra pounds is guaranteed.
10. It cleanses the liver and helps flush out toxins from our system, which is vital for the proper functioning of our body.
11. It quickly boosts energy levels and reduces exhaustion with its high content of essential amino-acids. There are as many as 19 natural amino-acids in acai berries that are easily absorbed in the body, as opposed to those of animal origin. Amino acids are essential components of proteins that build our muscles and tissues.
It is linked with cancer prevention and treatment. According to the results of a study from 2006 performed by scientists from the University in Florida, acai berry has shown the ability to destroy almost 90 % of leukemia cells. The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, titled “Brazilian Berry Destroys Cancer Cells in a Lab”.
Let’s have a closer look at the nutrition information of acai berry per 100 grams.
Energy (kilocalories) ————————- 533.9
Sugars (grams) ——————————– 1.3
Dietary fiber (grams) ————————- 44.2
Fat (grams) ————————————- 32.5
Protein (grams) ——————————– 8.1
Minerals – mg and Daily Value (DV)
Calcium —————————————– 260 mg, 4% DV
Iron ———————————————- 4 % DV
Sodium —————————————– 30.4 mg
Magnesium ———————————— 4% DV
Manganese ———————————— 130 % DV
Copper —————————————– 8 % DV
Vitamin A ————————————– 1002 IU or 15 % DV
Beta Carotene ———————————- <5.0 IU
Sterols ——————————————- 0.48 mg/g
Cholesterol ————————————- 13.5 mg
Proanthocyanidins —————————- 12.89 mg/g
Amino Acid ———————————— 7.59%
Oleic Acid (Omega-9) ———————– 56.2% of total fats
Palmitic Acid ———————————- 24.1% of total fats
Linoleic Acid (Omega-6) ——————– 12.5 % of total fats
What about the highly acclaimed Goji berries? Are they better and more nutritional than acai berries and what is the difference between them?
Both types of berries burst with different nutrients and both have been utilized for their marvelous nutritive value and medicinal properties since ancient times.
Goji berry has a rich content of B-complex vitamins, more than 15 essential amino acids, healthy fats, around 20 minerals, and beta-carotene. It is also known for an array of health properties it possesses.
It promotes fertility and eye health, boosts the functions of the brain, eases digestion and reduces appetite, lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, provides a lot of energy and muscle strength, and flushes out toxins from the liver. Acai berry provides pretty much the same benefits.
There are slight differences in regards to their composition. Goji berry has no cholesterol, sodium or saturated fats but it has a somewhat higher content of carbohydrates and sugar, as well as of vitamins C, A, and iron.
The greatest difference between the two is in terms of the amount of antioxidants.
Acai berry is unparalleled in this respect – we have already mentioned the ORAC scale which measures the concentrations of antioxidants in certain foods. Acai berry has the score of 102, 000, while goji berry has the score of 30, 000. The difference is quite impressive, don’t you agree?
Having in mind that both berries are extremely healthy and very rich in nutrients, we cannot conclude that one is better than the other. We suggest that you combine them and utilize their health properties in different mixtures and recipes.
How to Use Acai Berries
Just like other berry fruits, acai berries rapidly lose their nutrients in the fresh form, within a day’s time after they have been picked. This makes the growing and shipping process of acai berries difficult for suppliers. Unless you live in Brazil, it is best to utilize all their benefits in the form of dried powder, frozen juices and supplements.
This small disadvantage should not prevent you from enjoying the immense health provisions of this incredible berry.