Acai berries are slightly smaller than grapes, although look fairly similar. The trees that they grow on are found in the Amazon Basin, particularly in Brazil. Acai berries have been consumed by various indigenous peoples of South America for thousands of years, but recently have become popular and fashionable throughout the world as a health supplement.
However, the health benefits of acai berries have been disputed, after some irresponsible producers began promoting them as being able to develop penis size, cause miracle weight loss, cure diabetes, and generally being an all-round miracle product. Acai berries do have some genuine health benefits, which are listed below. However, some of the claims made by manufacturers should be treated with more than a pinch of salt!
Acai seeds and powders act as anti-oxidants against various forms of toxins. This means that they decrease the risk of developing some forms of cancer and heart disease. Other minerals found in acai products are also found to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. However, the scientific research into this area is currently in its infancy.
Acai berries are high in B vitamins. B vitamins contribute towards healthy skin and hair, and help maintain red blood cells. B vitamins are also particularly useful in guarding against pancreatic cancer.
Acai berries are very high in fibre too. Fibre is essential for the body’s digestive system, as it helps food to be processed through the colon; a lack of fibre can cause constipation and increase the risk of developing more serious conditions, such as bowel cancer. Acai berry supplements may not have as much fibre as the raw fruit, however – check the fibre content of any product before you buy.
The vitamin B in acai berries also help to maintain a healthy metabolism – this and other vitamins and minerals found in acai lie at the root of claims that it is a powerful weight loss aid. While acai does undoubtedly contain minerals that do help weight loss, you are extremely unlikely to lose a significant amount of weight purely by upping your consumption of acai products.
Another popular claim of acai berry producers is that the fruit can reduce the aging of skin and the appearance of cellulite. Some of the vitamins and minerals found in acai berries do indeed act to decrease the effect of aging free radicals and promote the flow of oxygen around the body, which also helps you stay young. However, acai berries can form part of a diet that maintains healthy skin, and are not a magic bullet.
Acai berry products are readily available from health food stores, and they are one of the most popular and trendy products on the market at this present time. Acai berries can be found as the sole or major component of pills, powders, patches, teas and juices. Some stores sell frozen berries too – these can either be eaten raw, or consumed as part of a smoothie.