Acai Berry is a dark purple berry that grows on Euterpe oleracea palm trees in
the Amazon rainforests. Harvested when ripe, the berries that are smaller than
grapes and have a fruity taste with a hint of chocolate making it a delicious
treat, it can be eaten fresh, or dried. In Brazil, the seeds are separated and
the pulp is eaten. The seeds may be pressed for oil or eaten as a snack and they
traditionally eaten with manioc and fish.
For centuries indigenous tribes people have used the acai berry as a staple part of their diet,
but over the past few decades acai berry has become popular in Amazonian cities.
Since about year 2000, it has been extensively touted as a new super-food and
vigorously promoted in other countries with little substantial evidence to
support the claims made as there is no scientific evidence that açaí consumption
has any positive health effect.
"Acai is a nutrient-rich source of antioxidants, much like many other fruits,
but there is nothing magical about the fruit to cause weight loss," says David
Grotto, RD, author of
101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.
"There is not any single food, including the super-healthy acai berry, that can
provide the solution to weight loss. To lose weight, you need to control
calories with a healthy lifestyle approach that includes plenty of physical
activity, nutritious foods, and adequate rest."
Acai does contain some polyphenolic flavonoids called anthocyanins, but its
antioxidant potency is lower than acerola, mango, strawberry or grapes
undermining its super-food status. It contains cholesterol fighting fatty acids
including oleic acid (a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid,) in the pulp of a fruit.
But these nutrients have a short life and the best nutritional value is found by
eating them fresh from the tree.
Acai products are available at extortional prices through MLM channels, but its
also available in many supermarkets. Considering that this is a poor mans food
dressed as a super food, it won't cure you or help you loose weight, its more of
an exploitative gimmick.
David Aquino; Natural health consultant.