5 Health Benefits of Acai Berry Nutrition
The acai berry is a superfood of vast potential and impressive benefits. The acai berry has become synonymous with the “fountain of youth”, but does scientific research show evidence that this purple berry has anti-inflammatory properties that combat aging? Find out as we explore the top 5 health benefits of acai berry nutrition!
This purple berry is harvested from the acai palm in the lush jungles of Brazil, and the natives aptly call it acai which translates to: “fruit that cries”. If you’re not familiar with the acai berry, it is similar to the elderberry of North America. They share the same deep purple hue, high antioxidant content, and nutrient density. The acai berry has been touted as an anti-aging supplement and marketed as a weight-loss agent. Today we’re examining the science behind acai berry nutrition rather than unsubstantiated claims.
The Top 5 Health Benefits of Acai Berry Nutrition
1. Acai Berries Are Heart Healthy
According to a 2018 human study published in Clinical Nutrition, researchers supplemented the diets of forty healthy women aged 21-27 with 200 grams of acai pulp daily for four weeks. Researchers discovered that the acai boosted their “good” HDL cholesterol metabolism thereby protecting their heart. Studies show that the regular dietary consumption of acai berry juice positively affects blood lipid levels and can protect the heart. Also, the anti-inflammatory benefits of acai berries act to protect the heart from disease.
2. Acai Berries Reduce Inflammation
In the same study I referenced above, female participants experienced an increase in antioxidant activity. An analysis of over 300 foods revealed acai berries as the winner for the most antioxidant content. Just ½ cup of acai berries contains an impressive 75,000 units of antioxidants! Inflammation is the root of all chronic disease, and antioxidants protect the body from inflammation by reducing the number of free radicals that contribute to oxidative stress in the body.
3. Acai Berries Are Nutritionally Dense
The acai berry lives up to its potent reputation as a superfood, packing a nutritious punch of vitamins, minerals and trace minerals, electrolytes, essential amino acids, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, fiber, polyphenols, and other nutrients. You can view the nutrition profile of the acai berry here.
4. Acai Berries Contain Anti-Cancerous Properties
Anthocyanins are plant compounds belonging to the antioxidant family, but these antioxidants, in particular, are anti-cancerous. A fascinating study was conducted by researchers in a lab at the University of Florida in 2006 demonstrating the anti-cancerous potential of acai berries. Concentrated acai berry juice was dripped on leukemia cells from a 36-year-old female, resulting in the self-destruction of an impressive 86% of the cancer cells.
5. Acai Berries Boost Cognitive Function
Autophagy is the “upkeep” process of the brain in which toxic or damaged cells are cleaned up. According to lab tests, acai berry extract stimulated this process in brain cells. The anthocyanins that acai berries contain have also been known to enhance and improve memory. In a 2013 in-vitro (test tube) study published in Neuroscience Letters, researchers found that acai berry extract acted as a protective agent against beta-amyloids. Amyloid proteins block brain pathways, eventually leading to brain cell death. Beta-amyloid proteins are involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Acai Berry Is Part of A Growing Superfood Trend
Superfoods provide more nutritional bang for your buck so it is no wonder that acai berries and other superfoods are increasing in popularity amongst health-conscious American consumers. In a recent article, the acai berry’s popularity was referenced as evidence of a growing trend in food and beverage choices amongst consumers according to health and wellness research conducted by the NPD Group. The researchers discovered that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how their dietary intake affects their management of medical conditions. Perhaps this research is further evidence that people are finding it to be true that “you are what you eat”.
Due to their short shelf life, acai berries aren’t available fresh outside of their native countries, but they can be enjoyed in a variety of ways including frozen puree, powder, and pressed juice. Speaking of acai berry juice, Monavie offers a tasty and nutritious drink called Monavie Active: a blend of acai berry juice with 18 other superfruit juices including wolfberry, passionfruit, elderberry, bilberry, and acerola. To learn more about Monavie, check out Monvaie.org.
Global Acai Berry Market Growth
The global acai berry market is forecasted to experience a double-digit surge in growth according to recent market analysis. The analysis indicated that the unique nutritional properties of the acai berry, increased awareness among individuals about the product, and the rising demand for organic cosmetics are influencing the market growth for acai berries and will sustain the market growth during the forecasted period.
Creative Ways to Incorporate Acai Berry Nutrition Into Your Diet!
We’ve all seen acai berry bowls exploding across our feeds on social media, but that isn’t the only way to have this delicious purple berry for breakfast. Try combining the acai berry with other purple fruits and vegetables in a smoothie for a sensory and visual delight that allows you to reap the benefits of acai berry nutrition!
Acai Berry Dietary Precautions
You may want to ensure that your acai berry products are pasteurized before purchasing. Some acai berry juice may be infected with Trypanosoma cruzi. This parasite from the Amazon region has been linked to outbreaks of Chagas’ disease, but this microorganism is destroyed through the process of pasteurization.
If you are about to undergo an MRI, you may want to avoid acai berries. The results of your MRI scan may be affected by the consumption of acai berries so consult your doctor about your diet before undergoing an MRI if acai berries are one of your staples.
In conclusion, the acai berry truly is a boon to mankind whether you like it dried, juiced, or frozen. To reap the host of health benefits, why not try the acai berry today? Acai berry nutrition is a diet trend that isn’t slowing down any time soon.
The author of this story Kaitlin Covel can be reached on Twitter at @kaitlin_covel.
This story has been reviewed by Dr. Inaam Schneider, MD of Schneider Medical Group. According to U.S. News Health, Dr. Inaam Schneider is an internist in Raleigh, North Carolina. She received her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.