Acai berries are sourced from acai palm trees and are native to the Amazon region where they are used as a staple food. In Brazil, acai berries are a superfruit.
In recent times, acai berries have gained attention and have become one of the popular fruits, thanks to their health benefits. Acai berries are dark purple when ripe and are richly packed with many nutrients. The health benefits are attributed to these nutrients.
They are thought to be very high in antioxidants and believed to help improve weight loss, digestion, heart health, and skin. Additionally, these small berries also play a role in strengthening the immune system and increase energy levels.
Acai Berries at a Glance
Acai berries are majorly grown in the Amazon Basin. The berries are a fruit of the acai palm tree which is a genus of the Euterpe. This genus has eight major species that are grown in swampy areas and floodplains.
The fruits or acai berries are approximately 2.5 cm round. Their skin is dark purple but the flesh is yellow with a large seed in the middle. These fruits, just like apricots and olives, contain pits qualifying them as drupes but they are mostly known as berries.
In the rainforest of the Amazon Basin, nearly every meal is taken alongside acai berries. Since their skin is tough, the residents soften them by soaking these fruits in water to make them edible. They are later mashed to form a paste with dark purple color.
Their taste is so strong that you might think that is a combination of blackberries and unsweetened chocolate. Fresh acai berries are highly perishable that they can’t be sold outside their harvesting area. To make them available to people in distant places, acai berries are traded as frozen pureed fruit, pressed juice, or as a dried powder.
In other areas of food processing, acai berries are used as a flavor of food products such as ice cream and jelly beans.
1. Acai Berries Are Incredibly Rich in Nutrients
Acai berries unlike other fruits are high in fats and low in sugar. According to the database from FoodData Central of the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 g of frozen acai berry pulp contains the following nutrients:
70 calories, 5 g of fat, 1.5 g of saturated fats, 4 g of carbs, 2 g of sugar, 2 g of fiber, up to 15% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A, and up to 2% of the daily recommended value of calcium.
According to one study carried out in Venezuela by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, acai berries have been found to contain other minerals in trace amounts. These minerals include potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, chromium, iron, and phosphorus.
Most of the health benefits of acai berries are attributed to the presence of powerful plant compounds it contains. Anthocyanin is one of the antioxidants in acai berries and it is what gives these fruits their dark purple color.
2. Acai Berries Contain Antioxidants Which May Improve Cardiovascular Health
As had been mentioned earlier, acai berries contain high amounts of antioxidants and specifically, anthocyanin. The dark purple color of acai berries is due to the high content of plant compound anthocyanin which acts as antioxidants in the body, according to one study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
Antioxidants help your body get rid of free radicals circulating in the bloodstream. Free radicals are end products of metabolism which can be toxic when allowed to accumulate in the body. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, antioxidants seek them out and eliminates them.
Without antioxidants, free radicals can cause damage to tissues, leading to various diseases and chronic conditions such as heart diseases. Anthocyanin has also been shown to help reduce the levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) “bad” cholesterols.
3. May Help Regulate Blood Pressure
According to one study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, acai berries contain plant sterols which are thought to act as vasodilators. This results in the ultimate relaxation of blood vessels thus reducing the blood pressure.
Additionally, reduced blood pressure may help reduce blood clots which is a leading factor and cause of stroke and heart attacks.
4. Acai Berries May Impact Weight Loss
Based on anecdotal evidence, acai berry pulp is believed to play a role in weight loss. It is thought that apart from initiating weight loss, acai berries may help an individual maintain a healthy weight. For that reason, supplements of acai berries have become popular.
5. Acai Berry May Help Protect Your Skin
According to the Phytochemistry Letters journal, acai berries contain powerful antioxidants which may help aid skincare. Many cosmetic products contain acai oil and they can be used periodically to relieve skin irritation and redness due to their antioxidant properties.
6. May Help With Digestion Problems
According to study findings published by Oxford University Press, acai berries have been found to contain natural fibers. Dietary fiber is essential in feeding the intestinal gut bacteria and adding bulk to your stool thus reducing constipation and improving digestive tract health. Adding acai berries to your routine diet may help reduce diarrhea by giving bulk to your stool.
7. May Help Boost and Strengthen Immunity
Published studies have shown that fruits made with acai berries can be a great source of vitamin C. Your immunity is naturally boosted by vitamin C which protects you from opportunistic infections such as upper respiratory tract infections. Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties which help protects your body tissues and cells from damages caused by free radicals.
8. May Promote Wound Healing
Wound healing may delay with poor inflammation. Consuming acai berries may promote wound healing since they possess anti-inflammatory properties. Nevertheless, more research on this area is needed.
Acai berries are the fruits of acai palm trees from the Euterpe genus. They are dark purple and are incredibly nutritious. It contains antioxidant – anthocyanin which gives it the characteristic color and protects the body from damages caused by free radicals. Acai berries also promote wound healing and protect the heart from chronic diseases.