I just want to let you know that all opinions are my own and I may earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
When it comes to antioxidants, acai outperforms spinach, strawberries and even blueberries.
If you are interested in preventing wrinkles as well as heart disease and cancer, a little fruit from the Amazon might be just what you are looking for.
Dr. Nicholas Perricone, M.D., author of The Perricone Prescription calls acai berries “one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world.” In fact, it’s no. 1 on his list of top 10 superfoods.
What is Acai Berry?
The acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry is the dark purple, grape-size fruit of a palm tree scientifically named “Euterpe oleracea) indigenous to the Amazon rainforest. The berries have been valued by Amazonians for centuries as a rich source of nutrients.
Here is what Acai Berry is made of:
It is made of 50% essential fatty acids (primarily oleic acid, the same healthful fat found in olive oil), almost as much calcium as milk, and an amino acid profile similar to eggs. Research has also shown that acai berries are a concentrated source of anthocyanins, the protective antioxidants found in blueberries and red wine.
How Does Acai Berry Work?
In recent years, scientists have identified two culprits – free radicals and inflammation – as the primary causes of degenerative diseases and aging. The unique nutritional composition of acai berries help to protect the body on both fronts.
The antioxidant compounds in acai help prevent aging of the body and the skin by defusing free radicals.
You see, our bodies continually create free radicals – unstable molecules that are missing an electron) as byproducts of normal metabolic processes and in response to such environmental factors as pollution and radiation. Left unchecked, free radicals can steal electrons from healthy cells, triggering a chain reaction of damage that causes mutation in DNA, and increases the risk of heart disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases.
Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E, and beta carotene have long been known to protect the body from free-radical damage by donating electrons without becoming unstable themselves.
More recently, researchers have discovered that lesser-known antioxidant compounds in fruits and vegetables appear to offer even greater protection. These compounds, known as phytochemicals or phytonutrients, include the pigments that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors:
- Carotene makes carrots orange,
- Lycopene makes tomatoes red, and
- Anthocyanins give blueberries, grapes and acai berries their rich dark purple or blue hues.
A few years ago, researches developed a method for measuring the antioxidant potential of foods with a lab analysis called ORAC or Oxygen-Radical Absorbance Capacity.
According to the USDA, eating foods that rank high on the ORAC scale mau je;[ slow aging in both the body and the brain. Top-scoring foods include blueberries, spinach, strawberries and red wine. Acai berries outperform all of these, with an ORAC rating twice that of blueberries.
In addition to their antioxidant superstar status, acai berries play an important role in combating inflammation, the other prime cause of aging and degenerative diseases. It is believed that the rich concentration of essential fatty acids in acai confer the beneficial effects.
In general, inflammation occurs in response to an injury or infection, and is part of the body’s healing process. But inflammation can also be destructive. In the past few years, it has also been implicated in almost all diseases of aging, including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
The typical American diet, heavy in omega-6 fats from vegetable oils and meats, fuels inflammation because the body synthesizes the hormones that promote inflammation from these fats.
Foods rich in omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids, on the other hand, quench the fires of inflammation. Dr. Perricon says fats play a tremendous role in how well we age. The right fats, such as those found in acai, wild salmon and extra virgin olive oil, have an anti-inflammatory effect and help to keep our bodies young and our faces wrinkle-free.
How To Use Acai Berry
Acai berries contain a large seed covered by a thin layer of pulp and skin, which is stripped off during processing. Mixed with water, it’s made into juice, frozen puree and smoothie beverages, or dried to make a concentrated powder.
Acai has a delicious complex flavor that is often described as a combination of berries with a hint of chocolate and red wine. The frozen puree can be eaten straight from the pouch or made into smoothies with other fruits, juices or yogurt. Powdered acai can be added to juices, smoothies and even hot chocolate. Like other fruits, acai can be eaten daily.
Where to Find Acai Berry
Acai puree, juice blends, ready-to-drink smoothies and dried powder are available in many natural food stores. Acai powder and extract are available in capsules.