Acai is rich in fiber and anthocyanins -- plant compounds which research suggests can reduce the risk of age-related diseases.
"We hypothesize that both fiber and plant polyphenols present in acai (Euterpe oleracea) provide prebiotic and anti-genotoxic benefits in the colon," the researchers wrote in their report.
Anthocyanins as prebiotics
Acai having a prebiotic effect means it has components that serve as food for the "good" bacteria living in your colon. Fermentation due to bacterial digestion of prebiotics then provides health benefits, like anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting effects. The fermentation of acai fiber also positively influences metabolism and promotes satiety.
As a preliminary study, the researchers used an in vitro model to examine if the polyphenols in digested acai remain intact throughout the digestive system. They used acai pulp that was freeze-dried and then ground to a powder and simulated intestinal digestion using a standardized method that mimics the human digestive system.
This helped them learn more about the bioavailability and bioactivity of acai polyphenols. Results revealed that at least 49.8 percent of the total initial polyphenols remained intact, suggesting that while the polyphenols in acai may be degraded during digestion, they are not fully destroyed, and a significant percentage actually reaches the colon.
Multiple studies have shown how fruits rich in anthocyanins interact with bacteria in the gut. A review by researchers at the Federal University of Sao Paulo revealed that anthocyanins help beneficial gut bacteria to thrive, and this brings several health benefits to humans, including allowing one to maintain a healthy digestive system.
Tasty and nutritious acai recipes
Try these amazing recipes and incorporate acai berries into your regular diet to reap the same benefits observed in the studies discussed above.
Place the frozen acai pulp, frozen banana chunks and honey in a food processor or high-powered blender. Process until smooth and scrape down the sides as needed. Add enough water until the smoothie is soft and spoonable.
Portion into two bowls. Top with remaining ingredients before serving.