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.