Monday, August 6, 2007

Acai Berry - The healing power coming straight from the Amazon Rainforest

How important it is to include fruits as part of your healthy diet is a well-known fact, and for some time now, a tiny dark purple colored fruit smaller than a grape, is creating a havoc in the health industry. I came across Acai (pronounced as a-sigh-eee) in Jamba Juice and Juice Zone, where the Acai Smoothie caught my eye. What little I learned from the girl who made my smoothie intrigued me enough to find out more about this new player in the market. Let's see what makes Oprah call the Acai Berry as her #1 SuperFood!!!

Acai is very perishable and spoils within about 24 hours of being picked from the Acai Palm tree. So you can't get fresh Acai unless you live in the middle of amazon forest (which I surely hope you don't, b'coz then you wouldn't be reading my blog!) But Acai pulp can be frozen and can also be dehydrated into a powder and freeze dried. This powder can then be put into capsules to make pure Acai supplements that maintain all the nutritional properties of fresh Acai - just in a concentrated form. so what exactly are these nutrients we are talking about??

Antioxidant - The first thing I knew was this tiny seed-like fruit is a powerhouse of rich anti-oxidant vitamins; about 10 times that in red grapes, and 2 times of those in blueberries!!!

Heart-Healthy - Alongwith being sweet and delicious, it also leads to a strong heart. The acai berry is known to be a rich source of compounds called anthocyanins, the word that makes red wine 'healthy', but in much higer concentrations than wine, minus the health risks associated with alcohol.

Lowers Cholesterol- It is also a rich source of protein and dietary fiber, in addition to high levels of both omega-6 and omeaga-9 fatty acids, thought to have a protective effect on the heart and cardiovascular system. The omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids contained in the acai berry may also play a role in lowering levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Wholesome Food - Comparing them to milk, the berries provide four times as much energy, 3 times as many lipids, seven times as many carbohydrates, 118 times more iron, nine times as much Vitamin B1, and eight times as much Vitamin C. They thus help to fight cancer, cardiovascular and ophthalmological diseases, and other age-related degenerative problems, as well as boost brain activity, make the skin healthy and supple, and provide natural energy.

Anti-aging - And now the health secret we've all been waiting for!! In addition to the above important benefits, the acai berry is thought to play a vital role in slowing down the aging process. In health food circles, it is known as one of the most powerful of the anti-aging superfoods, due to the high content of anthocyanins and vitamins. Hurrayyyyyyy for discovering the Fountain of Youth!!!!

But a word of caution before you go hunting for this wonder-fruit. With its growing popularity, a number of companies have started offering the acai berry as a powdered dietary supplement, creating more chances of a fraud or substitution. So it is recommended to check the product and also consult with your doctor or nutritionist before buying it and making it a part of your diet. But once you've done your research, (which you'll need very less after reading this page:)) there's nothing that can stop you from embracing this healthy new member into your family for good!

For more information about the health benefits of Acai Berries, read these:
Acai Roots
Acai-Best Health Product
Acai- Health Report

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