Acai, pronounced AH-SIGH-EE, has been talked about significantly in the press; it has been touted as a “super food” and proclaimed to have many health properties, such as high levels of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins C and E.
Let’s find out just what Acai is, and what it can do for your health.
The Acai berry grows naturally in Brazil, and is about the size of a grape, but with less pulp. The seed takes up approximately 80 percent of the berry, and is separated before using the pulp.
Acai berries in powdered, freeze-dried preparation are high in dietary fiber and low in sugar; both important properties for people who have blood sugar issues.
A December, 2008 study published in “The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” proved that the antioxidants in acai berries are absorbed into the bloodstream; an important discovery for people looking to improve their health by ingesting antioxidant-rich foods.
Many websites have claimed that consuming acai will help people lose weight quickly, like no other superfood out there, but these claims have not been based on scientific research, and are unfounded.
Weight loss is not a sure thing with any specific foods, and acai berries are no exception. According to an article in CanadianLiving magazine, Toronto-based Registered Dietitian and nutrition expert Cara Rosenbloom says that there is no scientific evidence showing that acai is an appetite suppressant, nor can it speed up your metabolism or flatten your belly.
What you will get from acai, however, are the benefits of berries, like fiber and vitamins that are part of a healthy diet.
Acai has been shown to be very high in antioxidants, which is a substance that reduces the oxidative damage to cells, such as that caused by free radicals. Free radicals attack molecules and modify chemical structures in the body.
Antioxidants, such as those found in acai, can help to reduce the risks of certain types of cancer, and age related macular degeneration.
Acai may be the latest wonder food on the market, but it has similar properties to many other berries out there, including regular, tried and true strawberries and blueberries. You can get great health benefits at a lower cost by eating these berries when they are in season, or eating frozen when it’s winter.
A March, 2009 article on CNN’s website which interviewed Johnny Bowden, a certified nutrition specialist and author of several health books agrees that most berries are high in antioxidants and do the same thing as acai; they have simply not been marketed in the same way.
So, eat your berries, any of them, and enjoy the great health benefits of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins!
- New York Times; Pressing Açaí for Answers ; Abby Ellin;March, 2009
- CTV News;Consumers warned of acai berry Internet scams ; March, 2009.
- “The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry”; Stephen Talcott;January, 2006
- “The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry”; Susanne Talcott;December , 2008
- cnn.com;Saundra Young and Madison Park,March, 2008;
- Canadian Living; Acai berries and weight loss: Separating fact from myth,Yuki Hayashil