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Acai Berry

Acai berry is a reddish, purple fruit similar in appearance to a grape, but smaller and with less pulp and produced in branched panicles of 500 to 900 fruits and grows about 15m in height. It comes from the acai palm tree (Euterpe oleracea), which is native to Central and South America. A fruit that is been touted by marketers who claim it is one of the elite superfoods with anti-aging and weight loss properties. A superfood can be defined as a food that offers superior nutritional value for the amount of calories it contains. Acai berries contain as much vitamin C as blueberries and are also a source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and E. It is also a source of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.

 

 In Brazil, they have nicknamed this superfruit the “Beauty Berry” because it has so many compounds that make the body both feel and look better from the inside out. Its combination of antioxidants, amino acids and omega fatty acids all help slow the aging process by boosting immune and metabolic function and removing destructive free radicals from our bodies. Although açai may not be available in your local supermarket, you can find it in several health food and gourmet stores which are often in juice form.
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The taste of acai berries is often described as a fruity red wine flavour with chocolate overtones.  Acai contains several substances called anthocyanins and flavonoids. The word anthocyanin comes from two Greek words meaning “plant” and “blue”. Anthocyanins are responsible for the red, purple and blue hues in many fruits, vegetables and flowers. Some cosmetics and beauty products contain acai oil in the ingredients list. That is because acai oil is also rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants found in acai berry are excellent for heart health. Heart disease is increasingly becoming a problem in the world and finding natural ways of keeping your cardiovascular system healthy is an excellent option.

 

Taking acai may also aid in keeping our digestive system clean and in optimal function. The berries have powerful detoxification capacities in the human body and are a well-known traditional source of dietary fiber. Of course, there are many other high fiber foods that can do the same thing, including many other types of berries. Acai is very high in Vitamin C and ellagic acid, an immune-system-boosting combination that has been shown to suppress the growth of cancer.

 

One study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that polyphenolic compounds extracted from acai reduced cancer cell proliferation by 56-86%. It is thought that acai’s phytochemcials can stop the process of carcinogenesis on a molecular level, killing off tumorous cells before they multiply. Acai berries are not a cure for cancer; but hopefully more research will examine their benefits and potential role in the fight.
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