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The benefits of acai berry and why you should add it to your diet

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Acai berries are known for their high content of antioxidant compounds. Several scientific studies link the consumption of these berries with health benefits. Do you want to know more?

Acai berries come from the palm tree Euterpe oleracea, which is grown in South America, especially in the countries of the Amazon region, where they are a staple food. Their appearance resembles a grape, with a bluish-purple color on the surface and yellow flesh, and deep inside a large seed. The benefits of acai berries come from their nutritional content, and there are many studies researching this.

They are about 2.5 centimeters in size and have an earthy taste that can be described as a combination of the taste of blackberry and bitter chocolate. Because it is a food that goes bad quickly, the pulp is usually exported frozen, as a dried powder, or as juice. Are you interested in learning more about the nutritional properties and benefits of acai berries? Read on!

Nutritional properties of acai berry

Much of the health benefits of acai berries are attributed to their nutritional properties. In particular, and according to data compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100 grams of berries provide the following:

  • Calories: 70
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Vitamin A: 15% of the daily recommended intake
  • Calcium: 2% of the daily recommended intake

Meanwhile, information reported in the Archivos Latinoamericanos de Nutrición suggests that acai also contains other trace minerals such as chromium, zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.

In addition to this, it is a significant source of anthocyanins, which are not only behind its characteristic color but also for its antioxidant properties.

The benefits of acai berry

Until a few years ago, acai berries were known as a “superfood” due to their nutritional composition. Because they provide more antioxidants than other fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries, they were even claimed to be curative. However, nutritionists and health experts have made some clarifications regarding this.

Although it is true that it is a nutritious food, there is not enough evidence to claim that it can cure diseases. Adding them to your diet will help improve the nutritional quality of your diet, but they do not replace medical treatments or the effects of maintaining a healthy and varied diet.

In other words, acai berry can indeed have a very positive effect on health, as long as it is included in a balanced diet. What then are its main effects? Read on.

They help fight oxidative stress

One of the most important properties of acai berries is their antioxidant activity. It is said to have an antioxidant capacity three times that of blueberries.

These effects are attributed to their concentration of anthocyanins which, once assimilated by the body, help counteract the effects of oxidative stress. In the medium and long term, this means a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, metabolism, and cancer.

They help regulate cholesterol

Including these fruits in your regular diet can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Animal studies, such as one published in Nutrition Research, found that acai supplements stabilize cholesterol levels by reducing total and LDL, or bad, cholesterol.

Meanwhile, research in the Nutrition Journal found that overweight adults who consumed acai smoothies twice a day for a month had better control of their lipid profile at the end of the study. However, further tests are needed to confirm these effects.

The benefits of acai berry: Helps increase brain function

Bioactive compounds in this food, especially its antioxidants, help protect the brain from the negative effects of aging. Research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that acai berry mitigates damage from inflammation and oxidation of brain cells.

Because of this, they are said to be ideal for protecting memory and improving learning processes. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that acai juice and other derivatives act as a natural energizer, improving alertness.

Other possible benefits

In natural medicine, acai berries are used against various ailments and diseases. It is not a first-line treatment, but it can act as an adjuvant to reduce some symptoms.

According to a publication from the American WebMD, there is not yet enough evidence for the following:

  • Improved athletic performance
  • Control of blood sugar levels
  • Reduced risk of metabolic syndrome
  • Prevention of skin aging skin
  • Control of erectile dysfunction
  • Relief of osteoarthritis

Some reports relate the consumption of raw acai juice to outbreaks of the disease known as “American trypanosomiasis” or “Chagas disease”, but there is no conclusive evidence.

How to consume acai berries?

Acai berry and derived supplements are commonly found in health food stores. It is best to consume fresh, but remember that they have a short shelf life. Therefore, they are usually found in the following formats:

  • Frozen mass
  • Tablets
  • Powder
  • Food products (such as smoothies, jelly, or energy drinks)

The frozen mass can be used to prepare homemade smoothies, for example with milk and oatmeal. The powder, on the other hand, can be added to salads, ready-made smoothies, desserts, and many other recipes.

What should you remember about acai berries?

Despite the ideas promoted by marketing about acai berries, this fruit is not curative, nor does it have any super properties. However, it is valued for its nutritional composition, which can undoubtedly improve the overall quality of your diet.

Regular consumption is related to disease prevention and better mental concentration. It is safe for most people, but moderate intake is recommended.

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