Berries are some of the healthiest superfoods you could possibly include in your diet. Loaded with healthy vitamins and antioxidants, they’re also delicious and can be enjoyed in many different ways, and among the berries, there’s one specific type that just might have the most health benefits of them all: the acai berry.
With many so-called superfoods however, there’s usually a reasonable amount of doubt as to whether or not they really possess all of the health benefits that are claimed. Acai berries are no different, so in this article we’ll be taking a closer look at the acai berry to try and figure out if they truly are a beneficial superfood, or just another passing health fad.
What Is Acai Berry?
The acai berry is harvested from the acai palm tree, scientifically classified as euterpe oleracea. The tree is mostly found within parts of Trinidad and the Amazon rainforest of the northern part of South America.
The tree produces the berries all year long, but they are usually only harvested in the first six months of the year and then again between August and December. It’s typically considered the rainy season where the fruit grows during the month of July and so it isn’t harvested during that period.
A serving of acai berry is extremely healthy and contains a good amount of all three of the macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) that your body requires. It also contains fiber and several different vitamins and minerals. And despite the fact that acai berries contain a relatively high carbohydrate content, they are quite low in sugar. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits that can be had by adding this berry to your diet.
Acai Berry Antioxidant Content
In terms of antioxidant activity, the acai berry ranks high, similar to cranberries. They contain more antioxidants than strawberries and blueberries. It’s ORAC value or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity measures among the highest, if not the highest among popular fruits and vegetables. It also has ten times more antioxidants (102700) compared to red grapes (1837).
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits that can be had by adding this berry to your diet.
8 Health Benefits of Acai Berries
1. Acai berries help with weight loss.
Acai berries are terrific for weight management. The pulp of the berry is loaded with nutrients, and one particular study found that it actually worked to reduce fat deposits in otherwise healthy women. (1) Also, unlike other fruits that are high in sugar, acai berries don’t spike your insulin, so they are not likely to trigger sugar cravings or promote fat storage. Weight loss shakes that are high in fructose tend to have the opposite effect, which is why lower-sugar options such as berries are more advisable.
If you were planning on beginning a detox water diet, adding acai berries would be a great choice.
2. Acai berries help with digestion.
Like most berries, the acai berry is a great source of dietary fiber. (2) In fact, a single serving size of 100 grams of freeze-dried acai berry pulp and skin actually contains 44.2 grams of dietary fiber. As we all know, fiber is essential to help with digestion and for keeping us regular.
Also, fiber slows down digestion, meaning you can stay fuller longer. This is a crucial part of any weight loss program, as certain foods can prematurely trigger hunger pangs. With high fiber foods, gastric emptying is delayed, which can also delay hunger signals.
3. Acai berries help to boost the immune system.
Extremely low doses of acai berries have been found to boost the function of our immune systems. (3) If this has been demonstrated with very low doses, just imagine the benefits that would come with including acai berries as a regular addition to your diet. It’s believed that the polyphenolic compounds found in the berry are responsible for this.
A detox smoothie with acai berries, as well as other immune-boosting citrus foots such as lemon and orange, can not only make for a delicious snack, but it can protect you from illnesses and other health concerns.
4. Acai berries help promote cardiovascular health.
Some of our readers will be thrilled to know that acai berries can be made into a tasty wine and much like traditional red wine, acai berries contain plenty of anthocyanins, an antioxidant that helps to balance your cholesterol. (4) With heart disease being such a prominent cause of death in this day and age, anything that works to prevent it is a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet.
5. Acai berries help prevent and protect against harmful free radicals.
Every day, our bodies are exposed to external stressors that contribute to the development of harmful free radicals. These free radicals have been known to contribute to many different diseases. Not only does the anthocyanin mentioned above help keep your heart healthy, this antioxidant is also excellent at defending your cells against free radicals. (5)
Sometimes exposure to harmful free radicals cannot be avoided, so it’s best to consume a good amount of antioxidants to mitigate the damage.
6. Acai berries help to improve your skin’s appearance.
When it comes to skin care, it’s wise to move away from many of the products traditionally found on store shelves due to the high amount of synthetic chemicals they contain. Acai oil makes for a great alternative, and many manufacturers have taken notice of that fact. It’s now included as an ingredient in many skincare products. On top of this, eating the berry on its own has tremendous benefits for skin health (6), and even gives it a healthy glow.
7. Acai berries help boost energy levels.
It doesn’t matter whether you eat your acai berries raw, make smoothies out of them, or even drink them in a detox water for weight loss, each method will also give you a nice boost of energy thanks to all of the nutrients the berry contains. Studies have even demonstrated that acai berries can be used to fight off exhaustion and fatigue. (7) Including acai berries as part of an overall balanced breakfast is a great way to kickstart your day!
8. Acai berries help to improve brain health.
There have been studies conducted on lab animals that have demonstrated that the polyphenols found in acai berries help to improve overall cognitive function. (8) A decline in cognitive function is one of the most frightening aspects of natural human aging. Anything that you are able to do in order to slow that decline is worthwhile to invest in, especially when it clearly features so many other great health benefits.
Downsides of Acai Berries
In the interest of fairness and presenting a balanced take on acai berries, we’ll also take a look at some of the downsides of acai berries. Thankfully, this section will be rather brief. The numerous health benefits of acai berries really do speak for themselves. Any negatives related to acai berry actually have nothing to do with the fruit itself, and everything to do with cost and strict import laws.
The first and most obvious disadvantage of including acai berries in your diet is the fact that they can be rather expensive to purchase.
In supplemental form and raw, acai berries are one of the most expensive fruit products out there. It’s not uncommon to shell out between $40-50 for a one month supply of acai powder capsules, and acai juice is similarly priced. However, with a little shopping around, you should be able to find some reasonable prices for acai berry products. Even with a somewhat high price tag, however, your health is one of the best things you could possibly invest in, so bear that in mind when making your purchase.
Another disadvantage of acai berries is they can be somewhat difficult to obtain depending on where you live in the world.
Strict customs laws in certain countries prohibit the importation of any fruit products that contain seeds. On top of this, acai berries don’t stay fresh for long at all. Unless you’re in a country where they harvest the berries, odds are you won’t get to enjoy truly fresh acai. This is why acai berries mainly get their popularity from juices, powders, and similar products.
Conclusion – Great Superfood or Overhyped Sham?
We hope that by reading through this article you already know the answer to that question.
You can’t fault the acai berry for pricing practices and varying import laws around the globe. While in an ideal world, we’d all be able to live in a country that allowed us to enjoy this wonderful berry when it’s fresh and juicy, that’s unfortunately not the reality for many of us. That said, it’s still very much worthwhile to include acai berries in any form into your diet in order to reap the incredible health benefits that they possess.
In a world where so many detox products that you find on store shelves truly are nothing but hype, it’s certainly refreshing to find a product that backs up all of the great things said about it. It doesn’t matter if you want to improve your skin tone, lose some weight, get an energy boost, or just try out a new detox drink recipe, acai berries have you covered.