Acai Berry: Super-Fruit or Super-Hype
Just recently my Instagram feed became flooded by acai bowls. Acai bowls are becoming increasingly popular day by day because of their main component: the acai berry. Acai berries are now famous for their super-power antioxidant properties and other super health benefits.
Acai berry (pronounced Ah-sah-yee) is a tropical berry that comes from the Amazon region in Brazil. The purple berry grow on a palm tree; the fruit has a hard skin so therefore the fruit is pureed to a purple puree which you can drink or eat in a bowl with other fruit, called an acai bowl. So far it is known that acai can increase your antioxidant levels, boost your energy levels, support your immune system and promote a healthy digestive system.
Since acai is a fruit, it has good health benefits and can be enjoyed as part of your usual diet, but since there hasn't been a lot of research on the health properties of acai it’s still unclear how far these properties go.
It is said that acai has a larger concentration of antioxidants compared to other berries and this is one of the most important benefits a berry can give to humans because it can help our cells fight and prevent cancer and make us look younger. But to what extent is this true?
According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the concentration of antioxidants found in acai berry is actually lower than that of other berry and fruit juices. The order of antioxidant potency they found in the different fruits found that pomegranate juice had the greatest antioxidant potency by at least 20% than the other juices where as acai came in 5th place.
Pomegranate Juice > red wine > Concord grape juice > blueberry juice > black cherry juice, acai juice and cranberry juice (tied at 5th place) > orange juice > iced tea beverages > apple juice.
So acai can help to increase your antioxidant levels to aid in the neutralization of damaging free radicals in the body, but pomegranate is more potent.
Weight Loss Properties
There are many great health benefits of acai berries, however since it has become really popular, there has been an increase of misleading information and claims around the berry. Looking on different pharmacy websites there are already so many different types of vitamin supplements for the "super-fruit" and it’s been integrated into weight loss pills.
The truth is that acai has the same benefits as dark berries blackcurrants, blueberries etc. and contributes to the overall health of the body and should not be relied upon only for weight loss.
A research conducted in the Nutrition Journal looks into the effects of acai on the metabolic disorders in overweight people, such as cardiovascular disease and/or type-2 diabetes. They found that consuming 200g of Acai for one month reduced fasting levels of plasma glucose, insulin, and total cholesterol compared to baseline levels in a group of 10 overweight adults. Although there is no correlation between acai and weight loss; the study shows that acai can aid in the reduction of risks of diseases that may arise as a result of being overweight.
Other theories connected to Acai
There are other claims, along with the weight loss theory hat acai can cure arthritis, Alzheimer’s and depression; however we have to remember acai is not a drug, it is a fruit.
If acai is eaten as a fruit in moderate amount, acai seems to be safe. However if you have pollen allergies of allergic reactions to other berries you might want to avoid it and supplements containing acai. Also acai supplements may interfere with any medicines you have to take regularly (also ibuprofen and NSAID painkillers), so it’s best you ask your doctor’s approval first.
Vitamin supplements usually only contain trace amounts of what they claim to have in them and are filled with other products, filling up the capsule. So it is best to get your vitamins and antioxidant straight from the fruit and not from a pill.
Acai is a great fruit and has great health benefits just like all the other types of berries and fruits however it doesn't deserve the big hype around it. In my opinion there should be a hype around all fruits and vegetables because they all contain great benefits for the human body.
Comment below what your opinion of acai berry is and do you believe that it deserves the hype?
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