Acai berries grow in Brazil and other parts of the amazon rain forest. Acai berries are nutrient dense and have tons of health health benefits and it is considered as a superfood. Many foods contain antioxidants, although acai contains the highest antioxidant properties. Some foods provide better bioavailability of nutrients than others. Therefore, the antioxidants in acai berries can be absorbed in a high quantity.
Acai Berries are Nutritious
Acai berries have a unique nutritional profile. The following nutrients are available in 100 grams of acai frozen pulp:
- calories 70
- fat: 5g
- saturated fat 1.5g
- sugar: 2g
- carbs: 4g
- fiber 2g
- vitamin A 15% of the RDI
- calcium 2% of the RDI
The Acai berries also contain trace minerals such as chromium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium and potassium. However, some of the greatest health benefits of acai berries come out of plant compounds. The most remarkable is anthocyanins that give a deep purple color to acai berries and act as an antioxidant in the body. (1) Antioxidants are essential because they neutralize free radical harmful effects across the body. If free radicals are not neutralized, they can damage cells and cause many diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiac diseases. The antioxidants in Acai berries are 3 times higher than blueberries and cranberries.
ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) defines the content of antioxidants in food. On these terms, the 100 grams acai frozen pulp ORAC score is 15,405 while blueberries have an ORAC score of 4,669. In one study researchers gave 12 fasting volunteer acai pulp, acai juice, applesauce or a drink without antioxidants. Both the acai pulp and the applesauce group increased their antioxidant levels. In addition, the antioxidant in acai berries is well-absorbed in the intestine. It also shows that acai pulp is better than acai juice. (2)
Summary: Acai berries contain anthocyanins, which give the berries their rich purple colour and act as antioxidants in the body. Acai berries have three times the antioxidant content of blueberries and cranberries. Antioxidants are necessary because they neutralise free radicals, which are harmful to cells.
Boosts Brain Function
There are many plant compounds in acai that may prevent your brain from damaging as you get older. (3) Acai antioxidants counteract harmful inflammation and oxidation in the brain cells that can affect memory. (4) Animal study shows that acai antioxidant compounds can enhance memory in older rats. Most of the studies on acai effects on brain conducted in animals. We need further human studies to understand acai’s brain and memory boosting effects. (5)
Summary: The acai antioxidant compounds may protect brain cells from inflammation and oxidation, which can damage memory.
Acai berry juice has a powerful detoxification effect on the human body to purify the digestive system and to remove the build-up of dangerous toxins. It contains natural fiber that helps digestion. People have used acai berries after enormous meals to help digestion. The seeds of the berries are fiber-intensive and have an exceptional digestion capacity.
Summary: The Acai seeds are high in fibre and have a high digestive capability.
There is no magical food available to protect against cancer, but many foods may prevent the propagation of cancer cells. The anti-cancer effect of acai has been shown in both test-tubes and animal studies. (6) In one study it decreased the occurrence of colon and bladder cancer in mice. Another study in mice found no effects on bladder cancer. However, scientists have shown that acai can play a role in the prevention of cancer, but further human research is needed. (7, 8)
Summary: Acai has anti-cancer properties in both test tube and animal studies. In one study, it reduced the occurrence of colon and bladder cancer in mice.
Improves Cholesterol Level
Animal study shows that acai can reduce LDL cholesterol. Another study conducted in 10 overweight adults eating acai smoothies for one month twice daily. The LDL cholesterol was lowered after the trial. Studies concluded that the LDL cholesterol-lowering effects can be because of antioxidant compound anthocyanins in acai berries. Acai also contains sterols, which can prevent the absorption of cholesterol by the body. (9, 10)
Summary: Animal studies show that acai berries may lower LDL cholesterol. This is because of the antioxidant properties in acai berries.
Side effects and dosage
Acai berries may not apply to patients who have cancer. The strong antioxidant activity of acai compounds may interfere with chemotherapy medications. Therefore, patients with cancer should avoid it. Acai may also cause IBS symptoms in some people. In addition, high doses of antioxidants have a negative effect on human health. While there is no limit for acai berries consumption, however, standard servings are 100 to 200 grams per day. Too many acai berries may increase blood pressure and the risk of nose bleeding.
How to eat acai berries
Since fresh acai berries have a short shelf life, they’re exported and available in three major forms such as purées, powder, and juice. The juice is full of antioxidants but is also high in sugar with no fiber in it. Although the juice may have fewer antioxidants when filtered. The powder provides the most concentrated nutrient quantity to produce fiber, fat, and compounds of the plant. Purée is perhaps the best way to enjoy the taste of acai berries.
Q & A
Q: How many carbs are in acai?
A: The acai berry has about 247 calories per 100 grams serving. A 50-gram portion of acai pulp and peel provides 265 calories, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat.
Q: Is acai good for skin?
A: The antioxidant compounds in acai berries can act as anti-aging, which is believed to be good for your skin and hairs.
Q: Does acai make me poop?
A: Acai berries are rich in fiber, and the fiber rocks and rolls your digestive system. The more fibers you eat, the more it moves.
Acai berries may provide many health benefits. They include potent plant chemicals that act as antioxidants, which can aid in overall health. They also provide healthy fats and fibre, making them nutritious super food.
- Pharmacokinetics of anthocyanins and antioxidant effects after the consumption of anthocyanin-rich acai juice and pulp (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) in human healthy volunteers. J Agric Food Chem. 2008.
- Characterization of the acai or manaca. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2007
- Total oxidant scavenging capacities of Euterpe oleracea Mart. (Açaí) fruits. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2005.
- Restoration of stressor-induced calcium dysregulation and autophagy inhibition by polyphenol-rich açaí (Euterpe spp.) fruit pulp extracts in rodent brain cells in vitro. Nutrition. 2014.
- Anti-inflammatory and Anti-tumorigenic Effects of Açai Berry in Helicobacter felis-infected mice. J Cancer Prev. 2016.
- Innovations in natural ingredients and their use in skin care. J Drugs Dermatol. 2010.
- Oxidative Stress: Mechanistic Insights into Inherited Mitochondrial Disorders and Parkinson’s Disease. J Clin Med. 2017.
- The hypocholesterolemic activity of açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) is mediated by the enhanced expression of the ATP-binding cassette, subfamily G transporters 5 and 8 and low-density lipoprotein receptor genes in the rat. Nutr Res. 2012.