The history of acai
The history of acai is deep rooted in the traditions of the Amazon people and the modern countries that occupy that territory.
The acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry has been around for thousands of years.
It was not introduced to the western world until the 1990s.
The tribes of the Amazon Rain Forest first used the berry to help various aliments due to its tremendous health properties. In fact, it is estimated that the indigenous tribes regularly use two thousand of the three thousand known rainforest fruits for medicinal purposes.
The Amazonian tribes found out that it helped build the immune system, fight infection, protect the heart, and control prostate enlargement (nature’s viagra), and acai berry and better sex.
The acai berry was also discovered to fight schistosomosis, a disease transmitted by snails. Schistosomosis affected more than 10 million Brazilians–how about that for the earth giving us what we need. The acaí berry is also used to produce an antibiotic that helps to fight against ‘Staphylococcus aureus,’ a common infection contracted mainly in hospitals.
Acai berry has been discovered
Now that the acai berry has been discovered as a highly sought after crop by the population of Brazil it is mass produced, as it only has a 24-hour life span in which the properties of the juice are still active. The acai berries must be loaded into baskets and onto boats soon after picking. Each acai palm tree produces round about 20 kg of fruit per year.
1. Heart Health
Similar to red wine, research shows that acai berries are extremely high in anthocyanins, a form of plant antioxidant associated with the ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream. They are also rich in plant sterols that provide cardio-protective benefits to our cells. It does this by preventing blood clots, improving overall blood circulation, and relaxing the blood vessels.
2. Resistant to Harmful Organisms
Scientists from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro have shown that consuming acai extract may help fight harmful organisms. However, I recommend Oregano Oil for this task.
3. Aids in Weight Loss
Known by nutritionists as a super-food, acai may help us not only lose weight, but maintain a healthy weight. One interesting study from the National Institutes of Aging found that pulp from the acai berry had the ability to reduce the negative effects of a high-fat diet in laboratory studies on flies.
4. Promotes Skin Health
Currently, many modern beauty products are carrying acai oil, again due to the oil’s high antioxidant content. What is more, acai oil is a great natural alternative to chemical based skin-care products that harm the skin in the long-run.
Taken internally, the berries can also give your skin a healthier glow. In fact, Brazilians have been eating acai berries for centuries to treat skin conditions.
5. Helps Digestion
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.
6. Reduces Irritation
Acai berries contain properties may prevent the typical irritation associated with respiratory distress.
7. Improved Cellular Health
On a general level, the anthocyanins found in acai play a role in our cellular protection system, helping to keep cells strong against the invasion of free radicals.
8. Immune Booster
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.
9. Anti-Aging Effects
Extremely high in many forms of plant phytochemicals (antioxidants), acai berries may contribute to an ability to slow or reverse typical processes of aging related to oxidative damage.
In fact, the berries are one of the planets highest sources of antioxidants, with one berry holding ten times the amount of antioxidants as grapes, and two times the amount of blueberries.
10. Energy Boost
Due its overall health benefits, taking acai extract can lead to an increased overall level of energy and stamina, and may aid to combat fatigue and exhaustion.
Whenever you need a boost, simply eat a handful of berries and you will be ready to go in no time!
11. Better Sex
This famous red berry has also been linked to overall increased blood circulation in the human body, a phenomenon that may contribute to a boost in sex drive, especially for men.
12. Improves Mental Function
Preliminary research studies show that acai may prevent mental imbalance in menopausal women.
Buy organically-certified Acai. Not only are they safer, but taste better too. If you can’t find acai berries, another good source of antioxidant fruits are goji berries.
Acai Berry Healthy Recipes: Blueberry Acai Smoothie
- 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1½ bananas
- one cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 acai frozen smoothie pack OR 1 cup acai juice
- ¾ to 1 cup ice
This recipe uses acai fruit at its most available, peak freshness, sans added sugar. Place all the ingredients into a blender, process, and enjoy! This recipe serves two. (Note: If you use the juice, cut the almond milk down to ½ cup.)
Acai Berry Fun Facts
Acai, a dietary staple for people in the Amazonian rainforest regions, has been harvested the same way for centuries. The 60- to 80-foot palm trees are scaled by workers who cut the branches, then slide back down the smooth, slender trunks to the ground.
Because acai berries are so low in sugar and acid, which protects most fruits, they must be picked, processed, flash-pasteurized, and frozen quickly before being transported out of the Amazon. If left unprocessed, the fruit will oxidize, turn brown, and lose its beneficial nutrients.
Where to buy
I purchase açai berry pulp in the freezer section at Whole Foods. You can also try your local health food store or ordering it online (which would have to be overnighted/packaged with dry ice to keep chilled).
A couple other options are the organic freeze dried powder, SAMBAZON, Nativa’s Naturals, Sunfood, and Acai Roots. Note when using the powders, you will not get the same volume as when using the actual pulp, you will need to add something like frozen bananas to the powder to create this thick frozen yogurt-like texture.
Nutrition Stripped nutrient breakdown of AçAI BERRY
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- B Vitamins } niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin
- Vitamin K
- Omega fatty acids } omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-9 (oleic acid)
- Antioxidants } resveratrol, cyanidin-3-galactoside, ferulic acid, delphinidin, petunidin
Have you ever tasted or used açai berry in your cooking or smoothies?
Share below on how you use it!
Have a very berry day,