Acai Berry: Separating Facts from Fiction

A forbidden fruit takes us to that purple color of the rainbow that some sources say could help out in so many ways.  You should always be on the lookout for the next best thing when it comes to your health and we hope we spotted something that is not just some fad.  The acai berry (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) can be found in juices, energy drinks and supplements. The acai berry grows on a specific type of Amazonian palm tree, the Acai palm. Acai palms also produce some of the hearts of palm harvested in this region. The flavor of the berry is typically described as a combination of red wine and chocolate and the natural sugar levels are quite low.

Is the acai berry really a superfood? Extreme claims about this berry suggest that it has cancer fighting powers, can speed up weight loss and metabolism, slow aging and improve overall health. Even conservative analysis shows high concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.

Studies have shown that there are highly bioavailable antioxidants in acai berries, in quantities 10 times higher than those of red grapes and 10 to 30 times higher than red wine. The berry contains a balance of amino acids ideal for good muscular health. Specifics on the antioxidant absorption of acai berries can be found at Science Daily online. The essential fatty acids in these berries contain monounsaturated oleic acid, similar to olive oil. High levels of protein and fiber make this an excellent addition to any diet. The theobromine in these berries does cause a mild stimulant effect for some people.

While the acai berry is clearly a nutritionally dense and well balanced food, can it stand up to the miracle superfood and health claims suggested by some? While it has been called the #1 superfood in the world, there is not yet any proof that adding acai berry juice or pulp to your diet will not change your life or health in dramatic or amazing ways. There have been a few promising studies, including a University of Florida study that showed that acai berries triggered a self destruct response in cancer cells; however, this was just a cell culture study.  More information is available at University of Florida site.  Further studies may show additional benefits to these berries, but many of the claims are currently unfounded.

Acai berry is certainly a healthy addition to your diet, whether you opt for pulp or juice. There is, however, no proof that you will lose weight, change your health or live longer because you drink juice containing acai berries or take acai berry supplements. As is true of most foods, it is best to consume the food as opposed to supplements containing the food.

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