Acai is known by the native people of Brazil as "A-Sigh-EE," meaning “fruit that cries.”
The acai berry was initially used by the tribes of the Amazon jungle as a cure for various ailments. Acai berries have been consumed by Brazilians for centuries and are a staple of both the Brazilian diet and culture. It can be blended with Banana, Strawberry, Soy Milk and topped with Coconut, Almonds, Granola, and Honey.
The Açaí palm originates deep in the Amazon rainforests and in South American countries like Peru. It is a species of palm tree cultivated for the superior hearts of palm that are said to have between 10 and 30 times more antioxidants than grapes, pomegranates and blueberries. Acai also has extensive vitamins, amino acids, minerals, omega acids and other elements. It also is known to be one of the most nutritionally dense berries on the planet.
Acai American Introduction
The introduction of the acai to American culture came in the 1960s when the famous Gracie family, founders of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, recommended eating acai both before and after workouts because of the natural energy and long list of nutrients the super fruit provides. During the 1990s, acai’s second introduction was made by surfers returning to the U.S. after long trips to Brazil.
Rapid technological advancements have only recently allowed acai to become commercially available and economically viable. Larger companies now offer acai-flavored smoothies and acai-infused drinks. Many small cafes rely on acai bowls as a core product offering. The berry’s popularity has been apparent and profitable, and there are now many forms of liquid drinks and other related products available from many of the nation’s largest grocery chains. However, in places like Northern California, acai is still very difficult to find. The only location currently serving Acai Bowls is Brazzle Berry in Half Moon Bay. It is only a matter of time before mainstream America adapts acai into its daily diet.
Acai is an indigenous berry commonly found in the rain forests of the Amazon. This antioxidant-rich fruit has been heralded for centuries as a healing, immune-stimulating, energy-boosting fruit. An exotic relative of the blueberry and cranberry, research has shown that this antioxidant-rich berry may be able to support in the prevention of diseases associated with oxidative damage, not to mention many other health benefits.
The list below offers a little more insight into some of the many health benefits of Acai.
1. Heart Health
Similar to red wine, research shows that acai berries are extremely high in anthocyanins, a form of plant antioxidant associated with the ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream. They are also rich in plant sterols that provide cardio-protective benefits to our cells. It does this by preventing blood clots, improving overall blood circulation, and relaxing the blood vessels.
2. Antiviral, Antibacterial & Anti-Parasitic Agent
Scientists from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro have shown that consuming acai extract can help fight both viral and parasitic infections. However, I would personally recommend Oregano Oil for this same task.
3. Aids in Weight Loss
Known by nutritionists as a super-food, acai may help us not only lose weight, but maintain a healthy weight. One interesting study from the National Institutes of Aging found that pulp from the acai berry had the ability to reduce the negative effects of a high-fat diet in laboratory studies on flies.
4. Promotes Skin Health
Currently, many modern beauty products are carrying acai oil, again due to the oil’s high antioxidant content. What is more, acai oil is a great natural alternative to chemical based skin-care products that harm the skin in the long-run. Taken internally, the berries can also give your skin a healthier glow. In fact, Brazilians have been eating acai berries for centuries to treat skin conditions.
5. Helps with Digestive Upset
Taking acai may also aid in keeping our digestive system clean and in optimal function. The berries have powerful detoxification capacities in the human body and is a well-known traditional source of dietary fiber. Of course, there are many other high fiber foods that can do the same thing, including many other types of berries.
6. Anti-Allergenic Substance
Acai berries contain anti-inflammatory properties that may prevent the typical inflammation response associated with allergic reactions.
7. Improved Cellular Health
On a general level, the anthocyanins found in acai play a role in our cellular protection system, helping to keep cells strong against the invasion of free radicals.
8. May Help Prevent Cancer
Acai is very high in Vitamin C and ellagic acid, an immune-system-boosting combination that has been shown to suppress the growth of cancer. One study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that polyphenolic compounds extracted from acai could reduce cancer cell proliferation by 56-86%. It is thought that acai’s phytochemcials can stop the process of carcinogenesis on a molecular level, killing off tumorous cells before they multiply. Acai is particularly indicated for the prevention of prostate enlargement.
9. Anti-Aging Effects
Extremely high in many forms of plant phytochemicals (antioxidants), acai berries may contribute to an ability to slow or reverse typical processes of ageing related to inflammation and cellular oxidative damage. In fact, the berries are one of the planets highest sources of antioxidants, with one berry holding ten times the amount of antioxidants as grapes, and two times the amount of blueberries.
10. Boost in Energy
Due its overall health benefits, taking acai extract can lead to an increased overall level of energy and stamina, and may aid to combat fatigue and exhaustion. Whenever you need a boost, simply eat a handful of berries and you will be ready to go in no time!
11. Better Sex
This famous red berry has also been linked to overall increased blood circulation in the human body, a phenomenon that may contribute to a boost in sex drive, especially for men.
12. Improves Mental Function
Preliminary research studies show that acai may prevent mental imbalance in menopausal women.
If possible, try to buy locally grown, organically-certified Acai. Not only are they safer, but taste better too. The best part is that Acai Bowls taste great and can be enjoyed at various times throughout the day.
The only bad wrap that the Acai Berry has received is that some experts have went above and beyond reasonable scientific evidence to claim that Acai can cure cancer and treat other symptoms.