Acai Berry, Super food or Super Spoof?
The Acai berry has received rave reviews from people across the world, from men and women alike. They have called Acai berries everything from, Natures Multivitamin to The Fountain of Youth. The question on everyone’s mind however would be, Is Acai a super food or a super spoof?
Acai berries also known as Acai fruit, a small dark berry that is similar in appearance to that of a blueberry. It comes from a species of palm tree that is native to Central and South America. Acai Palm can be found scattered throughout the wet flood plains and swampy regions of the Amazon rainforest but mainly in the vast area between Belize and Brazil. The Acai Palm does not grow anywhere else in the world. It is thought however that the Acai palm gains its nutritional values from the extreme climate in which it grows, therefore it would be next to impossible to cultivate the Acai palm in the United States or anywhere else for that matter and have the exact same fruit with the exact same nutritional quality that the Acai currently offers the world today.
The Acai berry has gained world wide recognition because of the particular health benefits that it offers. It has been claimed to have 33 times more antioxidant power than the red wine grape. It has been used as a total body cleanse and has helped people to lose weight averaging for most people to be between 14 and 22 pounds in a 30 day time period. It has been claimed to have 6 times more vitamin C than an orange. It also contains Vitamin B, which is great for giving us energy. The Acai has also been linked to lowering cholesterol a significant amount in the same 30 period as the rest of its remarkable health benefits. The people native to the Acai region claim the Acai fruit to have even more special powers than just keeping us healthy and young. It has been said that the Acai will increase sexual stamina and virility as well. With all of these remarkable qualities, it is hard to believe that the FDA has yet to approve the Acai berry itself to be placed in our local produce markets. They have however approved specific bottling companies to bottle and sell Acai Juice for our consumption.
The Acai fruit contains a load of nutritional qualities. It contains vitamins A, B, C, and E. All of which are beneficial and have there own remarkable properties and healing powers. The Acai berry also contains trace amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium. It has also been claimed to contain Omega 6 and Omega 9, which are essential fatty acids that have been linked to heart health many times over. The Acai is known to contain a compound called Anthocyanins. Anthocyanins is a flavinoid compound found in darker berries and fruits that is known to have remarkable properties in protecting our bodies from free radicals and repairing any damage that may have already been done.
Although the Acai berry has been claimed to contain all of these remarkable powers of healing and health, as of March of 2009, there are no controlled studies and very few comparative studies to back up any of these claims. In one of the very few comparative studies done, Acai berries were tested for their antioxidant properties against more common fruits. The Acai berry scored lower than acerola, mangos, strawberries and grapes. This test showed that the Acai berry has very limited antioxidant capabilities against oxygen radicals.
At the University of Florida-Gainesville, a college professor did a limited test with Acai berries and leukemia cells in a Petri dish. After several tests, the leukemia cells had been destroyed by 86% percent. It was causing the cells to self destruct. stated the professor. For further reading the entire story can be found at http://news.ufl.edu/2006/01/12/berries
With all good things there will always come the bad. Although overdosing on Acai is next to impossible it does contain a couple of side effects that will let you know when you have had to much. Diarrhea as with any fruit is a good indicator you have had to much. Also Acai berries can leave a slight acidic taste in your mouth if you eat to many because of the Vitamin C content, just like a lemon or an orange would.
Acai berries are costly because of the lengths that it must go through to get to the United States, but without adequate testing and resources for any knowledge that may be gained from the use of Acai berries it makes paying the exuberant amount wanted for the juice questionable all on its own. It would be just like paying $60, for a 32 oz bottle of grape juice.
Acai berries are beneficial to everyone though because they are a fruit., with or without all of their super powers lingering in the balance. Some people should use caution however when using Acai berries or any of its products. People with diabetes should err on the side of caution with these products because of added sugars when the Acai berry is in juice form. The Acai berry also has a high carbohydrate count, though most of these carbohydrates are fiber, I have heard that only the first few grams count in essence still making them loaded with carbohydrates.
So back to the big question, Is Acai a super food or a super spoof? In light of the lack of evidence for the claims made on behalf of the Acai fruit, the Acai fruit is no better or no worse than your average blueberry or cherry for that matter. Until such claims can be proven it wouldn’t be wise to waste your money on such a product when it has no evidence to back up any of the claims people are discussing. People that may actually benefit from the use of Acai, are those that have that extra money to spare and those who need extra fruit in their daily regimen.