Originally published August 29 2012
Acai berry - Six ways this superfood can change your health
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) If you've never heard of the acai (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) berry, you're missing out on the enormous benefits this superfood offers. So let's get schooled on this reddish-purple fruit harvested from the acai palm tree, which is native to the rainforests of Brazil (as always, consult your doctor before taking any supplements):
Let's keep you looking younger. Acai berry contains anthocyanins and antioxidants - elements that have been linked to a slowing of the body's aging process. Studies indicate that acai berry has 10 times more antioxidants than grapes and fully twice as many as blueberries, making it extremely beneficial for those of us trying to thwart the aging process (and who wouldn't want to?).
How does a boost of energy sound? Tired (no pun intended) of hitting the wall day after day, no matter what you do? Acai berry is known to increase energy levels, and that's a plus considering the willy-nilly, hectic pace of life these days. There are times when we can all use some help maintaining enough energy to fulfill our daily life obligations (both at work and play). That is especially true for those of us who work a non-traditional shift, like day-evening, or evening-night shifts (we're pretty much designed to be awake during the day and asleep at night). Studies indicate regular Acai berry supplementation can boost your body's energy levels; increased energy levels mean more work gets done, making you more productive and valuable.
Keep your ticker ticking better. Acai berry has been found to improve overall cardiovascular health by improving the flow of blood and other nutrients to the heart and other organs. Acai berry is rich in omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, which are known to lower levels of bad cholesterol in the body. It's well known that bad cholesterol can accumulate in the form of plaque along the walls of your arteries and if not properly treated (or prevented in the first place), can eventually block blood vessels, causing stroke, heart attack or even sudden death. Acai berry also contains anthocyanins, the same substance found in red wine (which has also been shown to improve cardiovascular flow and function).
Good for hearts - and minds. Data shows that acai berry is good for both body and mind, by balancing the body's nervous system. "Most neuro-psychiatric problems arise from the imbalance of the nervous system," says AcaiBerryBenefits.org. "Depression is also prevented if the stability of the mind and body is maintained. When the physical body is stable and functioning properly, the mind is also in harmony to the body preventing mental health problems..."
Take the extra pounds off. When eaten in conjunction with a healthy diet, acai berry can contribute to weight loss by boosting both metabolism and your energy levels. Also, the antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids are much safer than many of the so-called "diet pills" and other products. What's more, acai berry is not known for harmful side effects.
Keep the extra pounds off. Once you reach your diet goals, you want to keep the pounds off; acai berries can help because, again, they work to increase metabolism in a way that is healthy and not harmful. Increased metabolism means food is digested faster and, thus, less likely to create fat stores.
Though research is limited, "Acai berries are widely touted as a so-called superfood, with proponents claiming that they are helpful for a variety of health concerns, including arthritis, cancer, weight loss, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, detoxification and improving general health," says registered dietician Katherine Zeratsky, writing for the Mayo Clinic.
The one bad thing about acai berries is that in order to eat them fresh, you have to live in a region where they grow. That's because they are perishable within 24 hours of being picked. Lucky for Americans they can be freeze-dried, powdered and put into supplements.
Where does the acai berry rank on a list of superfoods? For Dr. Nicholas Perricone, noted dermatologist and nutritionist, the acai is number one.
"Harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, acai tastes like a vibrant blend of berries and chocolate. Hidden within its royal purple pigment is the magic that makes it nature's perfect energy fruit. Acai is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Although acai may not be available in your local supermarket, you can find it in several health food and gourmet stores (often in juice form). A new product featuring the unsweetened pulp is now also available, and I highly recommend that you choose this form of acai," he says.
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