Monday, July 19, 2010

Blasting cancer cells: Acai Berries as a possible cure?

While Acai Berries have been touted as being everything from an anti-ageing product, to a miracle weight loss aid, the newest research shows that they could be a potential cancer cure. This is just the latest in a series of claims being made about these berries from the Brazilian rainforest, whose recent run in the news has been of interest to scientists, doctors, nutritionists and people looking for aids to weight loss.


The University of Florida’s study, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, shows that acai berry extract, when tested on cancer cells, triggered off a destructive cycle which resulted in upto 86% of cells dying. This is truly remarkable, but as the conductors of the study warned, this does not in any way mean that acai berries can instantly be used as either a preventive or curative measure against cancer. Studies such as these are conducted under strict conditions, and can only be considered models of reactions that would hopefully occur in our bodies as well, under similar conditions. Previous studies of other fruits whose antioxidant properties have been exalted, have also yielded similar results in terms of being able to react negatively with cancer cells. However, there is an enormous amount of encouragement to be taken from these results.

Acai berries being a relatively recent phenomenon, especially the availability of berry-based products, there simply has not been sufficient study or research conducted into the many claims being made about the berry’s properties. The acai berry is traditionally found in the floodplain areas of the Amazon river, and usually is used immediately after picking. The effect of preservatives and synthetic additives such as those used in the berry-based products available on the internet is not known. However, the berry has historically been used by Brazilians as a home remedy for digestive and skin disorders.

So while acai berries may definitely have some noteworthy properties, the kind of semi-ambrosial devotion with which they are currently being promoted on the internet is misleading to consumers. Acai berries have not been proven to be miracle weight loss aids, nor are they a cure for cancer, impotence or skin problems. Just like any other fruit or vegetable that provides nutrition, vitamins and whose essential properties are primarily beneficial to the human body upon consumption, acai berries are a good addition to healthy diet and active lifestyle.

And who knows? With all the research that is currently going into investigating acai berry properties, it might just prove to be the wonder food that we’re all being told it is!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Acai Juice, Berries or Capsules?

Acai berries in themselves look pretty unimpressive: they’re small, grape-like, and dark coloured. Hardly the stuff of the health food myth that’s going around making this little berry out to be some sort of superhero among health foods. But the fact is, acai berries are remarkably good for you! Weight loss aside, they boost your metabolism, make your skin and hair look and feel better, give you more energy and have loads of good things that make your body feel lighter, faster and better altogether.


The thing is, besides the natural berries themselves, there are loads of other forms that you can get Acai extracts in. The debate that’s in focus right now though, is what’s best, juice, berry or capsule? Here a few reasons for and against each of those forms, to help you decide what will work best for your lifestyle:

Juice:

Acai berry juice is convenient and easy because you can just substitute it for your morning glass of juice. It’s also a great way to rehydrate during the day. Juice also tastes good, and is sometimes combined with other fruit juices which gives you the goodness of more than one fruit all in the same bottle. However, some users say that the added preservatives or synthetic substances aren’t to their liking.

Berries:

The berries are easily available but also spoil easily. The benefit of buying the actual acai berry is that you can use it in recipes of your own, by combining acai berries with other fruits in a salad, or making a more creative use of them in cupcakes, puddings, crepes, smoothies and breakfast cereal combinations. The problem with berries is that they bruise easily and as said before, they spoil quickly as well. Frozen berries are available though, should you really want to try the fruit in its natural form.

Capsules:

Acai capsules are certainly convenient, because you can pop one no matter where you are. If you don’t like the taste of berries (and there are some who don’t) or the juice, or want to avoid the preservatives in juice capsules are a good option. Some capsules contain extra chemical substances though, which if you don’t want them, you should check what they are to avoid them. Pure acai berry extract capsules are available however, if this option seems the best one for yourself.

The thing to make sure of is that the product you’re buying, whether it’s in any of the forms listed above, is 100% pure acai. There are far too many people who have found out that what they paid good money for isn’t actually doing them any good. But if you stick to reputable websites and stores, with accreditation and some standing in the marketplace, then you should be able to find a good source for all your acai berry needs.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

How do Acai Berries fare in the weight loss products parade?

Acai berries are merely the latest weight loss aid in a long list of products that claim to cleanse, detox and aid in quick weight loss. Most of them inhabit the shadowy region between being accepted and approved of by the medical fraternity and being thoroughly disapproved of and rejected. The reason for this is simple: the best way to lose weight is to do it the natural way, by eating right and doing lots of exercise. Eating right doesn’t mean limiting your intake of sweet things or cutting our carbs completely. Far from taking drastic measures, all a healthy diet needs is balance. And nobody ever lost weight from just sitting still and popping pills! An active lifestyle is necessary in order to lose excess weight and maintain an ideal weight once you reach it.


However, acai berries do have certain advantages over other weight loss products currently on the market since they’re available in their natural form in large quantities, and are definitely good for you in many other ways besides being ostensibly a metabolism booster.

Acai berries are also said to have long-lasting effects, since their natural form is an addition to a healthy diet rather than an expensive synthetic supplement that suppresses appetite These artificial means have only short-term benefits, while acai berries have multiple effects besides just weight loss, which guarantee that they will benefit your overall health. They have antioxidant properties, they’re considered to enhance metabolism, skintone and improve sleep patterns.

Colon cleansers, diet pills and the like are largely artificial in make and usually work on the principle of appetite suppression. This is an artificial effect, and only lasts so long as you keep taking the pills. Acai berries, on the other hand, can be incorporated easily into your diet – look at the number of acai berry recipes available – and are a rich source of essential nutrients and minerals in the same way that apples or grapes or bananas are good for you.

Acai berries have been used by Brazilians for centuries as part of their diet. What other verification can we need? While it is a bit optimistic to tout acai berries as a wonder element in weight loss programs, they’re definitely a good addition to your diet in any case because of their positive health benefits. Any weight loss you might experience is an added plus!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beware: Acai Berry scams to watch out for!

While acai berries themselves may be beneficial and do all the things they claim to, there are a number of people on the internet who are milking the confusion and uncertainty surrounding them in order to make some money. The thing to do is be smart, be wary of impossible sounding schemes and you might just be able to weather the acai berry phenomenon without losing sleep through excessive stress and worry.


Many websites selling acai berry products offer free trials of their products. Now this in itself ought to make you suspicious. With the kind of media coverage this little fruit has been getting, why would any company want to offer potentially hundreds of people free samples of their products? That’s right, it’s a scam. Many people have complained about being billed for acai berry products they hadn’t actually ordered, after having signed up for a free trial. Always remember to read the fine print! You might miraculously get the products for free, but the shipping charges will most certainly be billed to you.

Another common scam is a franchisee scheme, involving an acai berry product manufacturer who offers great deals for potential franchisees, but requires a large down payment. This is something to immediately put you on your guard. There ought not to be a large down payment on the right to distribute the products because this is usually incorporated into the amount of your first order with the company. The fact that you need to pay before you purchase any products for further distribution should be a sign that all is not as it seems!

The key point to remember is never give out your credit card details on the internet indiscriminately. Always verify the company’s credibility before you commit to anything. Many companies have run fraudulent schemes, and then shut down and disappeared and their customers have lost money for nothing. And in any case, giving a company your credit card details is a decision you have to make after checking every possible loophole, and making sure that it is a legitimate organization.

There are many standards organizations whose ratings are to be trusted and whose approval generally indicates a company’s legitimacy. Registered trademarks are also a good sign that a company isn’t just a here today, gone tomorrow sort of affair. These are organizations that aim to protect consumers from exploitation, so it’s a good idea to read up on possible rating organizations and seals or stamps you can look for, before you decide on purchasing a product from any website.

Acai berries in themselves are good for you! You , as a consumer, just need to be aware that there are people willing to exploit all the current media attention to their own ends.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Acai Berry Benefits: How this fruit can improve your life, health-wise

Chances are, you already have some preconceived notions about acai berries from all the media coverage they’ve been getting lately. While acai berry products and supplements have been primarily promoted as weight loss aids, the stuff that no one’s talking about are all the other benefits you get from consuming acai berries.

Acai berries aren’t a new phenomenon. They’ve been growing in the floodplains of the Amazon river in South America for centuries, and have been consumed by natives of the region for equally long as a natural part of their diet. The reason they haven’t been heard of till lately is because of their extremely perishable nature, which means that they are consumed fairly quickly after they are harvested. The berries themselves are small, similar in colour to blackberries but about the size of a small cherry. They grow on a tree called the Acaizeiro, a name which means ‘tree of life’.

Now that we’ve established that acai berries aren’t some new concoction thrown out by the health foods industry to con gullible consumers into spending large amounts of money, here are some of the beneficial aspects of including acai berries in your diet:

- Acai berries have a highly antioxidant property, even more so than other fruits known for their antioxidant properties, and nearly 30 times as much as red wine!

- Acai berries are traditionally used as a source of fibre in the Amazon. They are given to new mothers after childbirth in order to help them through the period of nursing.

- The reason why acai berries have been talked about so much in the area of weight loss and dietary supplement products is that they are believed to raise the metabolic rate at which fat is converted to energy by the body. While this has obvious benefits, it is one effect that is not immediately observable and must be taken with a pinch of salt.

- The berries contain the essential fatty acids Oleic acid (Omega 9) and Linoleic acid (Omega 6). The reason these are important is because first of all, they are not produced naturally by the body and must be consumed in one’s diet. Second, Omega 6 is important to maintain the skin’s health and elasticity and also has a role to play in enhancing sexual performance, and is also thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega 9 is what is found in olive oil, and is a healthy metabolism booster.

Acai berries therefore, have more benefits than their status as a weight loss product implies. They’re a good addition to any healthy, balanced diet if consumed in moderation and in their natural form or in any other form that is both recognisably qualified by a standards body as containing natural acai berry extract.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Acai Berries in the News: What’s being said?

If you haven’t heard of the new health food sensation yet, then you’ve definitely not been paying attention to the news. Acai berries (pronounced AH-saa-ee), naturally occurring in the Brazilian rainforest, are the latest fad to take the ever-sensitive health food and dietary supplements market by storm. And everyone’s talking about them! All the big news channels in the United States, and lifestyle shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show have all been taken up by the potential of the berry from South America.


It’s important to remember though, that none of these channels or personalities are endorsing acai berry products. While the berry has been featured on tv shows and the news, this has been primarily to showcase its beneficial properties when consumed in its natural form, as one among many other fruits and vegetables with similar anti-oxidant or other properties. The problem with having information easily accessible on the internet is that it is easy enough to twist someone’s words into something else entirely, and use this as a marketing tool to promote a product by playing on customers’ anxieties.

Also significant is the fact that none of these shows or news reports have verified or looked into the hundreds of websites offering 100% genuine, authentic acai berries and related products. There are a number of websites that are purveying the genuine article, but there are also lots of sham websites whose only goal is to manipulate the unsuspecting customer to make a quick buck. It’s easy enough to spot the difference, but in case you feel doubtful or hesitant at all about the website’s claims, then it’s safer not to give your credit card details outright. The good thing is that many websites selling acai berry products offer free trial packages.

So, while there are some websites that would have you believe that their products are endorsed by Oprah, Dr Oz, the University of Florida, or whoever, it’s best to purchase acai berries in an experimental state of mind first, so you can figure out how your body takes to them, or indeed, whether you like them at all.

After all, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables in the market that offer similar properties, including anti-ageing, antioxidant properties, increasing your metabolic rate, improving skin tone and everything else you could possibly imagine. Radically increasing your intake of one particular berry isn’t going to be the magic wand that changes the way you look or feel immediately. Healthy living takes a lot of work, and one dose of acai berries and acai berry related products is not going to be enough!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

What are Acai Berries and why is everyone talking about them?

Acai berries come from the Acai palm tree. They have recently come under a lot of media attention because of their supposedly beneficial effects as part of a weight loss regimen. Their effects, according to various companies marketing them, are as follows:
- Improved digestion
- Higher energy levels
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Improved skin and hair
- Better sexual performance
- Detoxification

As a result, the internet is flooded with companies offering acai berry products in the form of powders, tablets, pulp, juice and the berries in their natural form. Most companies promise customers that acai berry products will help them to reach a target weight within a set period of time, and accompany this with only a passing emphasis on a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise.

The important thing to remember when using dietary supplements like acai berry extract is that first, it is necessary to find the right kind of product and more importantly, find a product that is genuine, authentic and approved by a recognised standards body. Second, weight loss doesn’t happen by magic. We all wish we could take a magic pill and wake up the next day to find ourselves with the perfect body but unfortunately, this doesn’t happen with any of the products currently available on the market. So, in order to be safe, it is important to supplement the use of such aids as the acai berry products listed above with a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet and regular exercise.

That being said, there are certain foods that have proven to be beneficial in boosting the body’s metabolic rate and aiding in the quicker conversion of fat to energy. It is entirely possible that the acai berry is one of these products, but there has not been enough scientific research to prove conclusively that it has purely positive or negative effects, or even adequate exploration of potential side-effects from overuse, prolonged use or misuse.

As always, anything in moderation is the key phrase. Acai berry products have been used by natives of the South American jungles they grow in over long periods of time, and they haven’t experienced any considerable side effects. However, it does remain to be said that metabolisms differ widely, being especially affected by ethnicity, environment and general habits. What is good for one group of people may not necessarily be good for you.

If you’re in the mood to experiment with acai berry products, my best advice to you would be: do your research. Read as much as you can, consult your doctor or nutritionist and understand the pros and cons of using these products. Just as you wouldn’t medicate yourself indiscriminately, you should be as careful about other things that go into your system!