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Superfood Highlight: Acai Berry

Acai Berry Tree

The acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a berry found on the acai palm in South America. They are small, deep purple berries, that have a pack powerful nutritional profile given their tiny size. The acai berry is used in many products such as skincare, shampoos and conditioners, food coloring and packaged foods, and for good reason too. Research has shown that this antioxidant-rich berry may be able to support weight loss, digestion and disease prevention.

Here’s four reasons why you should incorporate the acai berry into your daily routine…

Promotes Skin Health

Our skin needs many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to stay healthy. The best way to ensure you are feeding your skin properly is to consume a predominantly plant based diet, rich in whole-foods. One way to boost your nutrient content is to consume superfoods. A superfood is a food that contains a long list of nutrients so you only need to eat a little at a time in order for it to be beneficial, like the acai berry.

The following ingredients are found in the acai berry, (the ones in color are needed for skin health):

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • B Vitamins } niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin
  • Vitamin K
  • Fiber
  • Omega fatty acids } omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-9 (oleic acid)
  • Protein
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Antioxidants } resveratrol, cyanidin-3-galactoside, ferulic acid, delphinidin, petunidin
  • Polyphenols
  • Flavonoids

Skincare authorities, such as Dr. Nicholas Perricone, and companies, such as Eminence Organics have popularized the berry’s many attributes. In Dr. Perricone’s book, The Perricone Promise, he names the acai berry as his number one superfood. It was chosen because of its beneficial combination of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber.

However, you don’t have to apply it topically to reap the benefits of acai. In fact, drinking acai may be best form of ingestion because your body readily absorbs the nutrients as it enters your blood stream quickly. Look for beverages containing acai berry or make a smoothie to get the anti-aging benefits. 

Improved Cellular Health

We all know that health and beauty start form within, as deep as each individual cell. If our cells are damaged, we will eventually incur some sort of ailment. Keeping our cells healthy with a foods like, acai, will keep us strong and radiant from the inside out.

A study published in 2011 reported that the acai berry suppresses biological activity that would degrade cellular integrity. We are only as strong as our weakest cell! Keep those cells healthy with the reparative properties of foods like acai, leafy green vegetables, and sea vegetables.

Acai was also found to boost immune cell function at extremely low doses. If you watch the following video, Clinical Studies on Acai Berries, you can see actual footage of a human white blood cell eating invading yeast cells. When a little acai berry powder is introduced, they gobble more. With no acai, white blood cells were able to engulf about 140 yeast, but in the presence of tiny amounts of acai they engulfed closer to 200. Quite interesting.

Clinical Studies on Acai Berries

Primary research studies suggest that ellagic acid found in acai has the ability to directly inhibit DNA binding of certain carcinogens in food.

Researchers reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that acai juice was able to protect cells from oxidative damage, and showed anti-inflammatory properties when consumed. It is critical for optimal health to reduce inflammation in the body as it leads to diseases, such as heart disease.

Anti-Aging Effects

Several studies have researched the many compounds the acai berry contains and found them to act as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer functions by virtue of their anti-free radical fighting actions.

In addition, ellagic acid lessens skin wrinkles and inflammation induced by UV-B irradiation. A study form 2010 demonstrated that ellagic acid prevented collagen destruction and inflammatory responses caused by UV-B damage. If you are worried about the effects of aging, which I am sure you are, I suggest stocking your fridge with beverages and foods rich in acai berries, wild strawberries walnuts and pecans.

Process of quality control during the choice of Açai, the brazilian fruit which is considered the fruit of the future.

Protects Your Immune System

This little berry’s list of attributes includes a high level of antioxidant activity. In fact, the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) values measuring the antioxidant power of the acai fruit powder has found it to be the highest among fruits and vegetables. 

Acai is a natural free radical scavenger. Free radicals attack your body’s cells by attacking them, through oxidation causing cells to weaken and more susceptible to disease. Antioxidants combat these free radicals and keep your immune system strong. When we have a diet rich in antioxidants our bodies can ward off diseases like cancer, heart disease, atherosclerosis, neurological damage and many more. 

Need another reason to consume the acai berry? I think not! Try your superfood in the refreshing Acai Super Smoothie. 

Resources:
The Perricone Promise, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, M.D., Warner Publishing, 308 pages, paperback.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21486000, Inhibitory effect of acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) pulp on IgE-mediated mast cell activation, Sept. 2012
Exp Dermatol. 2010 Aug;19(8):e182-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.01044.x. Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV-B irradiation. 
Açai Berries Top the Antioxidant Rankings, Says Study, http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Acai-berries-top-the-antioxidant-rankingssays-study (Accessed November 20, 2008)
Acai Berry Health Benefits, http://www.articlesbase.com/women’s-health-articles/acaiberry-health-benefits-610522.html (accessed November 19, 2008)
http://foodfacts.mercola.com/acai.html
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