Acai Berry Superfood

Close up picture of an acai berry.

Acai Berries & Acai Berry Juice

What Is An Acai Berry

Acai berries (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) look like slightly large elongated reddish purple grapes; they have a pleasant tropical taste. In addition, acai berries contain abundant antioxidants, cementing them as a high-ranking superfood. The fruit is native to South and Central America and is a staple food of many Amazonian tribes.

The fruit grows on trees in clusters of between 500-1000 berries; although they look like giant grapes, they don’t have as much meat. An acai very is made up of around 70% stone.

A study of traditional Caboclo indigenous Amazonian tribes revealed that the açaí palm was the essential part of their diet, making up over 40% of their total dietary intake (by weight).

Nutritional Benefits of Acai Berries

Acai berries offer many nutritional benefits to those who eat them or consume products made with berries. However, Acai has recently gained notoriety for the extremely high levels of anthocyanin and flavonoids they contain.

Flavonoids and anthocyanins are identifiable in various fruits and vegetables by the blue, reddish-purple hues and tones that those fruits contain, most noticeable in blueberries and acai berries.

Fruits and vegetables with high levels of anthocyanin contain elevated antioxidants; these can help the human body defend against free radicals and other elements that can overwhelm the body’s immune system.

They also assist the body in regenerating cells faster and more quickly and can, in some instances, increase cells’ ability to carry oxygen around the body.

A body with abundant antioxidants from flavonoids and anthocyanins from acai berries or a similar source will have cells that can carry more oxygen around the body.

An abundance of oxygen in the bloodstream will make the body’s immune system more robust, more likely to fight disease, and generally will remain healthier. In addition, solid physical well-being almost always leads to more nutritional and psychological well-being.

Acai Berries Availability & Shelf-life

Acai is not a particularly healthy fruit. Acai Berries are highly perishable, and it is doubtful that you will be able to find fresh berries outside of Central America. In that respect are very similar to the shared garden pea we all know and mostly love. As soon as peas are picked, they lose their nutritional goodness.

The faster the fresh acai fruit is frozen or freeze-dried, the more of its nutritional goodness it will retain. Once freeze-dried or processed, they keep their nutritional value for quite some time. If the process has been conducted correctly, it can be suitable for years.

Acai Berries V’s Acai Juice

Acai berries are marketed in many different forms, and the seller of each product will always try to convince us that his product is the best. However, as users of super foods and healthy foods, we should always try and keep ourselves informed and knowledgeable of what products are available and the benefits they have for us.

The berries are commonly marketed in three different forms, freeze-dried, juices and extracts. Each product has its advantages, and here we will try to outline them so you can make an informed decision.

Acai Berry Extract

Acai in juice or extract form can be very convenient to consume. However, what is marketed as acai extract could be any part of the acai fruit, even with little or no nutritional value.

Equally, acai juice can be bought in handy snack-sized containers or larger family packs; as with acai extract products, the liquid is very convenient and easily fits in with a busy, hectic lifestyle.

The berry extract isn’t quite as nutritionally well stocked when it’s compared to its freeze-dried sister. This is because a lot of the goodness that acai berries pass on to us has contained in the meat or pulp of the berry itself.

When the fruit is put through the juicing or extract process, the pulp is often discarded or used in other products, and thus a good percentage of its healing power is dissipated.

The value of acai berries is held in such high regard that, in some cases, the pit or seed has been known to be ground down and included in extract products. The pit seed of the fruit is sometimes referred to as the ‘endocarp’; the endocarp has zero nutritional value.

Some unscrupulous marketers add this ground-down seed to products to market them as containing acai berries, they indeed include Acai, but the source has no nutritional properties. Read the labels carefully when buying extract products. They are not all created equally!!!

Freeze Dried Acai Berries

Freeze-dried acai berries are the holy grail; these, when freeze-dried close to the source, pack a mighty nutritional punch and contain many of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals our bodies need to maintain themselves.

The freeze-dried berries can be exported to all parts of the world because of the very stable nature of the freeze-drying process; this is the same process that garden peas have endured for many years.

The freeze-drying process allows the acai berry to retain its full goodness because the whole of the fruit (less the seed or ‘endocarp’, which has zero nutritional value anyway) is processed, and the fibre and goodness are retained by the flesh or pulp and skin of the fruit, all of this is freeze dried.

Once the berries are freeze-dried, they can be transported or stored without losing nutrition or goodness. After being freeze-dried, the fruits can then be processed into a wide variety of products, from being ground down to making capsules or easy-to-consume tablets or later rehydrated and consumed directly or added to foods or juices.

Acai Berry Juices

As a consumer, you must read labels when buying acai berry juices. However, many juice products are excellent and provide a powerful nutritional punch.

However, all are not equal. Such is the marketing power of acai berries that some marketers and manufacturers will claim their juices contain “Acai Berry”, but when the small print is examined, you will discover that acai berries make up only a minimal percentage, if any, of the drink.

Commonly, juices are diluted with another fruit juice; apple juice is often used.

Acai juice drinks made from a high percentage of acai berry pulp and freeze-dried whole acai berries are superb and retain elevated levels of antioxidants and flavonoids, boosting the body’s immune system.

Deciding Which To Buy

Make sure you know what you are buying. Unfortunately, some marketers and manufacturers misrepresent their products in every industry worldwide.

If you stick to freeze-dried acai berries or products made from freeze-dried Acai, you can’t go wrong. But you will undoubtedly need to read the products’ labels.

However, having said all of this, it is undoubtedly better to consume an acai extract product or a high-quality juice than not to consume anything at all.

Can Acai berries Aid Weight Loss?

The nutritional benefits of eating products high in acai berries are not in question, but there are various opinions on their advantages regarding weight loss and weight control.

Currently, no quotable scientific data can support or deny the claims that acai berries assist those who want to lose weight.

This is partly because the berries are relatively new to western civilisations; previously, they have just been consumed by the indigenous people of South & Central America, who have not had the means nor the need to analyse the food they eat.

To date, we only have the testimonies of those who have lost weight using acai berries. Whether the high levels of antioxidants the berries contain helped speed up the subject’s metabolism and assisted weight loss, as claimed, or just provided a psychological and confidence boost that helped them achieve the weight reduction results can’t be confirmed. One thing that is for sure is that lots of people claim that consuming acai berries made a difference for them.

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