What is the Acai Berry?

The Acai berry is the fruit of the Acai palm tree which is cultivated for its fruit. The tree is native to Trinidad, Brazil and northern South-America, mainly in swamps and floodplains. It grows very tall, more than 25m in height.

The name Acai comes from the Tupian (language) word of ïwaca’i and it means: Fruit that cries water.

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The berry is a dark purple fruit which is similar to a grape. These berries grow in huge clusters near the top of the palm tree. Each Acai berry contains just 10% fruit and pulp and a large seed. The seed does not have any benefits and the clusters need to be cut and taken down manually, so harvesting this fruit is very laborious. Usually just two crops are harvested per year.

Nutritional benefits… The Pros

The Acai berry contains:

High level of antioxidants:

Acai has double amount of antioxidants than blueberry has and it is one of the world’s highest oxygen radical absorption capacity food (ORAC). This means that this fruit one of the best fighters against the free radicals that can cause many problems in your body e.g increased aging, inflammation, heart disease, cancer, etc.

Essential fatty acids:

Its profile is very similar to olive oil. Helps prevent heart disease and supports a healthy cardiovascular system thanks to the oleic acid (omega-9) and the linoleic acid (omega-6)

Amino acids:

Help promote muscle performance, energy production, endurance and strength.

Vitamins:

It contains as much Vitamin C as blueberries as well as being a good source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, E, K.

Minerals:

A source of calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, iron manganese.

Fibre:

Can aid digestion and help prevent or relieve constipation. Fibre content will help to cleanse the colon and this is one of the steps in achieving weight loss since many of us have sluggish digestion.

The berries are used as traditional medicine as well. The Amazon natives use it to fight against fever (crushed seeds), diarrhea, parasitic infections, haemorrhages and ulcer treatment.

The Acai roots are useful in the treatment of menstrual pain, liver diseases and malaria in Peruvian culture.

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Cons – or just a “keep it in mind” fact

100g serving of Acai berry offers approximately 247 calories. 50g serving of powdered, freeze-dried Acai fruit pulp and skin provides about 265 calories. So it is a very good energizer.

As with every product and supplement Acai works differently on different individuals. In some cases, for a person who has an allergic tendancy to berry-products, it may create more adverse reactions.

Unfortunately the weight-loss industry takes advantage on Acai berry becasue of its nutritional benefits and they claim that Acai products are the most beneficial in dieting.  However the Acai berry is not a miracle solution and in order to be most effective an Acai berry weight loss programme needs to be used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise.

The main advantages of Acai berry as opposed to other pills and potions is the fact that it is a completely natural supplement.

Overall the Acai berry is a very healthy dietary supplement with lots of positive benefits. When you buy any Acai product make sure you are buying one that is pure and actually contains Acai berry. There are “fake” products on the market saying “pure Acai berry” and in real life it contains 5%-10% of Acai.

On its own it will not help you to reach your desired weight but it helps as a supplement if you are willing to change your eating habits and are willing to exercise.

Read more from Expert Richard Csosza.

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