The acai berry is a small reddish, purple fruit, about an inch long. It comes from the acai palm tree, which is found primarily in Central and South America. As all reddish, purple fruits, it’s related to a number of other berries including the blueberry and cranberry.
Acai contains several substances called anthocyanins and flavonoids. The anthocyanins are what make plants red, purple or blue including fruits, vegetables and even flowers. Foods that have high levels of anthocyanins are blueberries, red grapes, red wine and acai are strongly colored with these deep red and purple hues.
Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants, which help defend the body against stress. Antioxidants also help the body’s cell protection system and compounds such as anthocyanins help protect the body against damage by neutralizing free radicals. By reducing the impact of free radicals, antioxidants such as anthocyanins may help reduce the risk of some diseases associated with free radicals including heart disease and cancer.
Nutrition: Acai berry is the fruit from palm tree. As the fruits from any other similar palm family like coconut and date palm, acai is similar in caloric and nutritional profile; it is high in calorie and fats. Acai berry is rich in medium chain fatty acids. These compounds help reduce LDL-cholesterol level and raise good HDL-cholesterol levels in the body as well as help prevent heart disease. Acai berries contain good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. They are rich in B-complex vitamins and vitamin-K. Contain very good amounts of niacin, vitamin B-6 and riboflavin. These vitamins are function as co-factors and help body in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Uses: Acai powder can be blended into smoothies, stirred into water, or added to raw desserts.
Dr. Sal’s Thoughts:
I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t use either Acai berries or Goji berries or usually both. I like the powder form. It adds a lot of nutrition and a sweet but not overwhelming taste. Check out one of my favorite smoothie recipes using Acai and Goji.