Acai berries are considered a superfood, with benefits ranging from weight loss to improved skin, although some of these claims aren’t supported by evidence.
Acai berries are the fruit of acai palm trees native to the rainforests of South America. However, biologically, these are not berries and contain pits like olives. Acai berries have a short shelf life, so they are often preserved as frozen fruit puree, pressed juice, or dried powder.
Acai berry extracts are used in a variety of food products and are often consumed in smoothies, ice creams or even pills.
13 health benefits of acai berries
- Boosts energy: Acai berries are packed in carbs, proteins and healthy fats, which may help maintain stamina and energy levels. These fruits are frequently referred to as "Amazon rainforest Viagra" because they improve libido. Acai berries may improve blood circulation and perhaps increase energy levels. There is, however, no study to back up this claim and a lot of the material is based on anecdotal evidence.
- Lowers bad cholesterol: Acai contains omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, which are considered essential fatty acids. According to research, these two fatty acids play a significant role in lowering and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
- Boosts immunity: Acai berries can strengthen the immune system. Antioxidants reduce free radicals and protect the body from infections and diseases. A study in 2011 showed that acai berries may help treat asthma and other infectious diseases.
- Aids in weight loss: Acai berries contain fiber and fatty acids that increase metabolism rate and decrease food cravings. While many standalone acai berry supplements are available for weight loss, it is important to note that acai berries alone do not cause weight loss.
- Detoxifies the body: Acai berries may help the body get rid of toxins because the antioxidants help combat the harmful free radicals formed in the body.
- Fights cancer: Consumption of acai may decrease the risk of certain cancers, especially colon and breast cancer. According to a 2014 study, acai berries have anticancer characteristics and may aid in the creation of chemopreventive medicine. According to a Texas study, the berries have anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic characteristics that successfully battled and reduced colon cancer when administered along with regular chemo.
- Prevents heart disease: Polyphenols are the abundant antioxidants in acai berries, which enhance heart health in general. A study done on 10 overweight individuals in California showed reduced levels of insulin, blood sugar, and cholesterol after feeding on acai berry pulp for 30 days.
- Manages diabetes: Acai berries have a low glycemic index and help maintain steady glucose levels in people with diabetes.
- Improves digestion: Acai berries juice can help with diarrhea. The fiber content promotes digestion and prevents constipation. Removal of toxins from the body aids in better absorption of nutrients.
- Enhances cognitive function: Acai berries are believed to improve and maintain overall brain health. They also promote good sleep. However, extensive research is needed to determine the exact effect of berries on sleep.
- Promotes cellular regeneration: Antioxidants in acai berries increase the absorption of nutrients and maintain the health of cells. Because of their anti-inflammatory characteristics, acai berries have considerable wound-healing capabilities. According to a 2017 study, a scratch wound healed quicker after 24 hours of ingesting acai berry extracts.
- Improves skin: Antioxidants and nutrients in acai berries delay skin damage and signs of aging. They can help lighten scars, reduce pigmentation, and prevent acne and breakouts when applied locally. Daily use of acai improves skin glow and health.
- Improves hair: Acai berries provide essential elements that may strengthen, soften and shine hair. These nutrients improve scalp health and prevent hair loss.
Though there are several benefits related to acai berries, studies are underway to evaluate both the benefits and side effects of acai berries.
Nutritional value of acai berries
Acai berries are grape-like fruits that are rich in antioxidants and fiber and low in sugar.
According to a Venezuelan study, acai berries were found to have trace minerals, such as zinc, copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese.
The characteristic deep purple pigment of acai berries comes from a compound called anthocyanins, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the body. Acai berries contain more antioxidants than cranberries and blueberries, and their pulp contains more antioxidants than their juice.
In 100 grams of frozen acai berry pulp, there are the following:
- Calories: 70
- Fat: 5 grams
- Saturated fat: 1.5 grams
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Sugar: 2 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin A: 15% of the recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Calcium: 2% of the RDI
National Institutes of Health. Acai. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/acai
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