Anti-inflammatory, high-antioxidant foods keep you healthy and, if sick, can bring you back to good health. Berries certainly fit the bill, and the trendy berry of the moment with major anti-aging benefits is the acai berry.
You’ve probably noticed health food stores now pumping out more “acai bowls” than ever. Berries of all kinds are full of valuable anti-inflammatory nutrients: anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, protocatechuic acid, procyanidins and epicatechin – in addition to vitamin C, vitamin A and dietary fiber. The acai berry is no exception.
Perhaps more than any other type of fruit, acai berries or acai pulp have become synonymous with slowing down signs of aging and promoting good health.
Some studies show that acai is even richer in protective antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries or the goji berry. (1) On top of providing many antioxidants just like other varieties of berries do, acai berries are also believed to help control appetite hormones, increase energy, prevent heart disease and help with many metabolic functions.
It’s not every day that a superfood actually tastes great too, and that’s one of the reasons that acai’s popularity has taken off.
Acai Berry Nutrition Facts
These small, deeply purple-colored berries are native to Central and South America, especially Brazil where they grow in parts of the Amazonian rain forest. Acai berries have sustained traditional Brazilian and Amazonian populations, including the Caboclo tribe, with nutrients and calories for hundreds of years.
In fact some records show that Caboclo people ate enough acai berries during certain parts of the year to make up more than 40 percent of the total calories they consumed! Supposedly they were able to hunt and gather food for many hours without becoming hungry, tired or weak, which many have attributed to all the phytonutrients and fiber they were obtaining from eating so many acai berries.
But acai berry has more to offer than just antioxidants — it also supplies many other electrolytes, trace minerals, amino acids and even small amounts of essential fatty acids. While there’s some talk about acai berries helping to prevent cancer, not much research has been done to show this is a proven benefit in humans just yet. However, we would expect the consumption of acai berry to help fight cancer just like other berries do (such as blackberries or cherries) since they target the underlying cause of cancer formation, aka high levels of free radical damage and inflammation.
Acai comes loaded with numerous nutrients including:
- Antioxidants (anthocyanins, polyphenols, vitamins A, C and E)
- Healthy fats including monounsaturated fats and omega fatty acids (including omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 and fatty acids like linoleic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acid)
- Dietary fiber
- Certain essential amino acids
- Electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and manganese)
- Plant sterols (B-sitosterol, campesterol and sigmasterol)
- Other trace minerals (iron, calcium, copper and zinc)
- B vitamins (B1, B2 and B3)