Basic Facts About Acai Berry
Originally from the South American lowland rain forests, acai (pronounced "ah-sah-ee") berries grow atop slender palm trees. These palm trees, known as Euterpe oleracea can grow up to 100 feet tall with the acai berry bunches growing at the top of the trees.
The acai berry is deep purple in color, similar in size to blueberries and are packed full of nutritional properties that are beneficial to our health. Covered in a fibrous skin, the acai berry has little flesh and lots of seed. It can be eaten fresh, made into acai berry juice, or dried in the manner of figs or dates, which also come from the palm trees.
The acai berry has been used for many years by traditional Brazilian healers for many purposes. Due to the acai berry nutritional properties, the acai berry has gained immense worldwide popularity. It is now being used in various acai berry juices and supplements because of its nutritional content.
Beneficial Fatty Acids in Acai Berry
Acai berries have long been known to contain fatty acids that are beneficial to our health. The exact content was not completely understood until a 2006 study published in the Archivos Latinoamericanos de Nutricion, revealed their exact content. It was found that the acai berry contained a high content of fatty acid which was 71 percent oleic, which is a heart-healthy lipid. Oleic is known to improve cardiovascular health and makes it an effective vasodilator. The property of this fatty acid in particular means that it may be an effective treatment for high cholesterol that leads to heart disease.
Acai Berry's Powerful Antioxidants
There have been numerous studies conducted that showed the acai berry had the highest content of antioxidants of any food. In addition to this, the type of antioxidants found in acai berries, polyphenols is also very powerful.
It is a known fact that an abundance of free radicals in our bodies is not good for our health. These free radicals can damage both our cells as well as our DNA. Antioxidants eliminate free radicals and help to keep our cells healthy and our DNA intact. The polyphenols found in acai berry have been found to be extremely efficient in scavenging free radicals and eliminating them.
What makes the polyphenols so effective is their procyanidins. The procyanidins of the polyphenols contribute significantly to the overall antioxidant capacity of acai berries. These findings were confirmed in a recent Ohio State University study. In addition to the free radical savaging ability from the polyphenols, the cell protecting ability, known as cytoprotective ability was also confirmed.
Acai Berry Anti-Aging Research
There are many health benefits to having an abundance of antioxidants in our bodies. Antioxidants help to promote a healthy cardiovascular system, protect the nervous system and increase the strength of our body's immune system. The power the antioxidants found in acai berries has steamed research into their ability to fight the signs of aging.
Anti-aging is a huge industry and every aspect of how acai berries can slow the effects of aging are being studied. Studies are currently being conducted that use acai berry in various forms; everything from a topical cream to ingesting acai berry. The preliminary results that have been seen from these studies are promising, yet have been published as final.
Acai Berry Anti-Cancer Properties
With all the health benefits of acai berry, one of the most promising and interesting health benefits may be its ability to kill cancer cells. In a current University of Florida study, the researchers have found that acai berry compounds show good activity against cancer cells. This activity was observed in a model system and not on a human specimen. It is believed that these results will be similar within our bodies.
The study researchers are hesitant to make any claims as this may give false hope. Additional research is required and further testing will prove the benefits of acai berry and its anti-cancer abilities. The evidence has suggested that further scientific research is required on these very promising results.
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