What Is Acai?
Similar to a cross between a grape and a blueberry, the acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) berry is a small, reddish-purple fruit, harvested from tall, slender palm trees found around the Amazon River basin of South America. Traditional uses for acai fruit has included treatment for various illnesses. As a food, acai pulp in the tribal Amazon belt is often blended with the starchy root vegetable manioc and eaten as porridge.
The taste is often described as reminiscent of wild berries and chocolate.
Health Benefits of Acai Berry
This little berry’s list of attributes includes a high level of antioxidant activity similar to cranberries, but more than what’s been found in blueberries and strawberries. They have the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value among fruits and vegetables, or 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes.
Acai berries are low in sugar, but contain excellent amounts of calcium, fiber, and vitamin A. They also contain anthocyanin compounds that team up with flavonoids to defend the body against harmful free radicals. In fact, acai berries contain 10 to 30 times more anthocyanin power than red wine. Beneficial fatty acids such as oleic acid, one of the same oils found in olive oil, is another strong point, and healthy levels of dietary fiber keep the system functioning smoothly. (ahem…)
The properties contained in acai berries may help prevent health problems such as arthritis, inflammation, obesity, erectile dysfunction, neurological diseases, and allergies. Lab studies have shown them to have positive effects on ailments associated with oxidative stress, heart disease, and cancer. (did I mention E.D.?)
Congrats, you got through the science part of our show. Go reward yourself with an Acai Smoothie.