In recent years, health aficionados have elevated the humble acai berry to near superstar status. And with an impressive array of disease-fighting antioxidants, fiber, monounsaturated fats, iron, calcium, vitamins A and C and anthocyanins, these bluish purple gems native to South and Central America seem to be earning their stripes.
To see what all the excitement is about, let’s take a look at some of the ways regular consumption of acai berries may help you look and feel your best.
- Heart Health. The high levels of plant sterols and antioxidant anthocyanins found in acai lower cholesterol safely and naturally. In addition, plant sterols reduce the risk of blood clots, relax blood vessels and improve circulation.
- Weight Loss. Much of the current interest in acai centers around weight loss. Regular consumers of the berry say that it acts as an appetite suppressant, helping them lose unwanted pounds without feeling hungry of deprived.
- Metabolic Health. Whether you’re trying to shed the unwanted pounds or simply want a healthy boost to a sluggish metabolism, acai seems to do the trick. Dieters who make acai part of their regular diet claim they process calories more efficiently while have more energy at the same time.
- Skin Health. Due to its high antioxidant level, acai is making its way into mainstream skin care products. Antioxidants slow down skin aging at the cellular level while neutralizing free radicals from sun exposure and ingested toxins that damage your skin.
- Digestive Health. Acai is loaded with fiber and detoxifying antioxidants. This two-for-one benefit means that acai will help keep your digestive tract clean and regular while providing protection from harmful ingested toxins.
- Immune Health. With high levels of vitamin C and the antioxidant ellagic acid, acai works with your immune system to protect against contagious bacteria and viruses. Ellagic acid has been shown to neutralize carcinogenic substances that can cause DNA mutations resulting in cancer.
- Sexual Health. The plant sterols found in acai that improve circulation also mean improved blood flow to the genitals. This translates into improved sexual response and performance in both men and women.
- Brain Health. The antioxidants and other phytonutrients found in acai provide protection against oxidative stress and inflammation that damage brain cells. Over time this damage leads to dementia, memory loss and age-related brain disorders.
If you’re convinced that the delicious, nutritious acai berry should be part of your regular diet, congratulations! You are treating yourself to one of nature’s healthiest foods. Be aware however, that unless you live in areas where acai grows naturally, fresh berries are nearly impossible to find. That’s because unlike other varieties, acai berries “go bad” 24 hours after they are picked.
The good news though is that health food stores and online vendors sell frozen acai berries and pulp and freeze-dried acai that retain nearly all the nutrition of freshly picked berries. While acai supplements are another healthy option, they will not provide the fiber and the synergistic nutritional benefits of the berry in its natural state. So, while purchasing a frozen or freeze-dried acai product may take a little more work on your part, it’s definitely worth the effort for your best health.