Açai berry - the super berry from South America

Açai berry
The Açai berry is called a superfood because of its high concentration in nutrients.

The Açai Berry - it is said to cure cancer, make you slim, keep the skin wrinkle-free, protect you from heart disease, stimulate you sexually and do much more. The South American berry has been celebrating its triumph since 2005. Frist in North America now also in Europe. The dark blue Açai berry is 1 to 2 inch in size and looks similar to the blueberry. Like the blueberry, there is a greyish-muted veil on the surface of a fresh and untouched Açai berry. In contrast to the blueberry, the Açai berry has a core. The core is not edible and with 90% of its size, it makes up the main portion of the berry. The healthy ingredients are found in the fruit pulp and in the shell.

Açai as a basic food in South America

You will not find the Acai berry in the supermaket around the corner. Fresh Açai berries are hardly available outside South America. The berry is the fruit of the so-called cabbage palm, Euterpe oleracea. In South America, the palm is called Açaizeiro, from which the common name of the berry is derived. On its home continent, the berry is an everyday food, and in some areas it is even a basic food which accounts for 40% of daily energy intake. In addition to the fruit, the hearts of the cabbage are consumed as vegetables. Since the palm has several tribes, it does not die after the harvest of the palm heart. The Açai fruit grows on umbels with up to 1000 berries. The flavor of the berry is called greasy and earthy, partly nutty. It is definitely unusual for European tastes.

The Acai Berry on the rise

The reputation of the Acai berry is due to US Talkmaster Oprah Winfrey. In a broadcast, Winfrey reported on so-called "superfood", which is called particularly healthy and valuable food. The Açai berry was one of the presented products, from which the nickname "super beery" originates. Over the years, a whole industry has grown that markets the alleged superpowers of the fruit and produces and sells them in form of capsules, creams and powders. Other stars and Hollywood actors began to be interested in the berry and promoted it. The Acaibeere experienced a real hype.

The reason for the superpower is the unusually high proportion of antioxidants. Various other ingredients such as vitamins and minerals are supposed to support the positive effect on the human body. Due to the very limited availability of the berry outside the South American continent, Açai products are sold at extremely high prices. As a result, many inferior products are on the market, the açai portion of which is usually rather small.

Also, food chemists and ecotrophologists have begun to be interested in the Açai berry. Numerous studies have been conducted by different institutes to explore the various effects of the berry. However, no definitive results are available. However, it has been shown that many components do not occur at doses as high as they are often suggested. In needs to be determined in more elaborate studies, whether the composition of the available ingredients really has a particular impact.

It is especially important to execute the experiments in-vivo, which means living organisms have to be taken into account. In in-vitro experiments, the parameters often deviate too much. Thus, test results are not transferable. It is indisputable, however, that the antioxidants and other ingredients actually fulfill the attributes assigned to them and the Açai berry really contains high levels of antioxidants. In any case, the Açai berry is a healthy supplement to any nutritional plan. The exotic fruit does not perform miracles, but can be one of many factors, e.g. is a perfect companion for a diet and can it make more successful.

Cultivation and spread of the Acai berry

The cabbage is native to South and Central America. It prefers the low-lying, low-tide-influenced lowland from Brazil to Panama. More rarely, it occurs in the interior of the country, near rivers. The Euterpe oleracea likes very humid soils and can settle swampy areas particularly aggressively. Due to the ever-increasing use of such areas for rice cultivation and shrimp farms, however, the cabbage palm is increasingly pushed back further. Her sister Euterpe precatoria replaces the Euterpe oleracea in the southern Amazon basin. The coastal region of Colombia and the rainforest of Peru and Ecuador are among the areas where both species occur simultaneously. However, as the Euterpe precatoria prefers more dry soils, only the Euterpe oleracea is always found in the flooded areas.

The increasing popularity of the Açai berry and the growing demand led to an increase in Açai plantations. Here the palm trees grown on a solid ground. On Acai plantations, an adequate irrigationas well as heat needs to be maintained. Ideal are temperatures of 21 to 30 ° C and a fairly high humidity between 71% and 90% are ideal. In the 3rd year after sowing, the cabbage palm is already bearing fruit. At this time it is almost 100 cm high and is kept small on the plantations. In the wild, it would reach a height of up to 20 m. In commercial cultivation, a harvest of 10 tonnes per hectare is gained, with around 400 plants per hectare being cultivated.

Ingredients of Acai berry

The components of the Açai berry have a synergistic effect, which means they are mutually interdependent and only function when depending on each other.

  • Vitamin D

ensures that the calcium can be processed by the human body. Next to the

  • Vitamins B1 (thiamine),
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is also the
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin),

in turn, is important for the recovery of the

  • Omega-3 and
  • Omega-9 fatty acids

About half of the energy contained in the nutritional value is due to fats. About 40% of the Acai berry is

  • Fiber

Other ingredients are:

  • Vitamin E,
  • Minerals Magnesium, Zinc, Copper and Potassium
  • Antioxidants

A myth is the high content of

  • Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is definitely present, but in a very small quantity. None of the active ingredients in the berry is present in such a high concentration that side effects can occur. However, the berry can cause allergies and should be avoided in this case.

100g of Acai berries contain about 80-250 calories, depending on the dosage form. Approximately 50% of the calories are due to the fats contained. These are unsaturated fatty acids. They are essential for the human organism, since they can not be produce by themselves. Comparatively, the Acai has low levels of sugar, just 3.6%.

Polyphenols and antioxidants

The so-called antioxidants are regarded as particularly valuable and health-promoting. anthocyanins cyanide 3-glucoside and cyanide 3-glucoside cumarate belong to the antioxidants, which are both present in the berry. They ensure the deactivation of highly reactive oxygen compounds, the free radicals. These cause oxidative stress in the skin cells and thus can cause cell damage. The whole thing takes place as a chain reaction.

Antioxidants are able to interrupt this reaction cascade. The Epicatechin, catechin, quercetin and other flavonoids are also antioxidants. In addition, they are responsible for the dark blue coloring of the berry. However, if they are concentrated and taken over long periods, a cytostatic effect may occur, and cell growth can stop. Catechin is even considered as being toxic in high doses.

Often, the high levels of antioxidants are marketed when selling the Açai berry. The Açai fruit has developed the reputation of being a "super berry" in this respect. The positive effect is particularly pronounced in comparison to other fruits. In fact, however, neither the high levels of antioxidants are unusual nor the effect particularly pronounced. It is rather the symbiosis of the various ingredients that justify the reputation of the Açai berry as being a Superfood than the particularly high level of antioxidants. Fruits such as pomegranates actually have similar levels, blueberries and cherries even have higher levels of antioxidants.

Effects of the Açai berry

The Açai berry is highly appreciated because of its ingredients. Its antioxidant levels are supposed to protect the human organism from free radicals and premature cell aging.

Calcium is an important component of human bones and teeth. The Açai berry is a natural calcium supplier due to about 133-309 mg of calcium within 100g of fruit.

Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and controls the production of L-carnitine. This will stimulate the burning of fat in the muscles. The vitamins B3 and B6 also play an important role here. In addition, vitamin B6 provides protection against nerve damage, while Vitamine B3 assists the processing of Carbohydrate and protein Vitamin B1 is also responsible for carbohydrate metabolism. Vitamin B2 can provide relief for concentration weakness.

The omega fatty acids contained in the Açai berry are essential for the human organism. They offer heart protection and support the entire cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids also play an important role in hormone production. Magnesium, zinc and copper are trace elements that act as building blocks for enzymes.

Potassium is among others responsible for the Water balance and is important for the forwarding of stimuli within the nerves.

Fiber plays an enormous role in digestion. They care for the Keeping the intestinal flora. As the fiber swells in the intestine and is excreted almost unchanged, they flush out toxic substances from the body. They also have cholesterol lowering.

Video to scientific studies on Açai berries

Nutritionfacts.org compiled all scientific studies that have been done over the years on the Acai berry. They did a great job explaining all findings in detail and for the regular consumer to understand.

Application areas and usage of the Acai berry

The Açai berry naturally contains many vital ingredients, which has made it a popular food supplement, especially in recent years. At the same time, research began to be interested in the Acai berry. For example, a research group at the University of Florida found that the antioxidants of the Açai berry trigger a self-destructive process in 86% of the leukemia cells, but this does not mean that Açai berries can heal leukemia. Positive effects have also been seen in other cancer types. For example, there was a regression of tumors, probably due to the cytostatic effect of the antioxidants.

However, the berry can not be described as a cancer cure since there are not enough studies and studies in practice. If, indeed, the cytostatic effect was responsible for the tumor retardation, it would be nothing but the already used cytostatics in chemotherapies. These, in turn, push the cancer back in many cases, but also attack the rest of the body and weaken the entire immune system.

The cardiovascular system is definitely positively affected by Acai beeries. The contained omega-3 fatty acids ensure a good blood circulation. They have a preventive effect in the development of cardiac arrhythmias and coronary heart diseases. They also have a positive effect on blood pressure and vascular functions.

In South America, the Açai berry is also used as a natural aphrodisiac. Above all, men benefit from the potency-enhancing effect, which is also based on the stimulus of blood circulation.

Weight loss with the Açai berry

Over the last few years, more and more manufacturers have been advertising their Açai products. They are supposed to be the ultimate in weight loss and a miracle weapon for diets. The high proportion of dietary fiber is said to cause a premature feeling of satiety, thus affecting appetite. At the same time, the metabolism is boosted. In this way, many people think about a faster removal of fat reserves and superfluous pounds. Generally speaking, the ingredients of the Açai berry can cause these effects.

It is undisputed that the consumption of Açai berries has a positive effect on our health, caused by the synergy of all ingredients. Thus the berry is effective as a whole, whereas the extraction of individual substances isn not. For a successful weight loss, the interaction of the whole nutrition is important. In addition to a balanced composition, this also includes a reduction of the nutrition quantities. It is important not to forget physical exercise or sport within the diet, because you only lose weight, if burn more calories than you consume.

Prevent skin aging with Açai

The use of Açai berry as an additive in anti-aging products is popular. This is because of the antioxidants and polyphenols in the Acai berry. These protect the cells by neutralizing free radicals. In fact, UV radiation puts an immense strain on the regenerative capacity of the skin leading to premature aging of the skin. Antioxidants protect the skin from radiation and associated risks.

In addition to the antioxidants, the contained oils in the Acai berry provide a moisturizing complex for the skin. The skin structure remains longer intact and maintains its elasticity. Polyphenols also prevent deposits in blood vessels, so they maintain well-perfused skin.

To summarize, the Açai berry and its active ingredients can be used for the prevention of prematurely aged skin. However, they are not able to repair or reverse any damage that has already occurred. Also, natural skin again can not be prevented completely, even with regular use of the Açai compounds. The amount of antioxidants in the Acai products is comparable to the extracts of some other fruits, which are also used for combating signs of aging and therefore develop a comparable effect. Skin care products with Acai berry extracts have a good skin tolerance and acceptance, thus skin care products with extracts of the Acai berry are very popular.

Application areas of the Açai berry

Açai berry smoothie
The Açai berry is ideal for preparing delicious and healthy fruit smoothies, like here with blueberry and raspberry garnish.

The most natural way to benefit from the effect of the Açai berry is the direct consumption of fresh fruit. In this way, it is ensured that the active substances can function with one another and ensure a maximum synergetic usage within the body. In South America, the berry is one of the everyday foods and is used, among other things, for ice cream production. Dried Açai berries can be found as an additive in muesli and they are packaged in a similar form as raisins.

Inside the berry you find a core, which makes up about 90% of the fruit size. Since only the fruit pulp and the skin are edible, the berries are mostly gutted after the harvest. Popular are purees from Açai berries, which are either added in pure form or as an addition to other dishes.

Açai berry tea is another form of consumption of the Acai fruit. Usually the main ingredient of such teas are green or white tea leaves . Extracts of other berries and fruits often are added as well. Açai berry tea is often advertised with the addition "detox" because it has a detoxifying effect. It was only through the discovery as an alleged miracle berry that the fruit processing has been industrialized. This way, the fruit could be imported into the North American market. Meanwhile, there are several product variations on the market, among which are Açai capsules, Acai Powder or Acai Juice. All three Acai forms receive steadily growing sales.

Açai Berry Products

Açai Powder - ideal for drinks and mix drinks

While the capsule concentrates on the functionality (integredients and ideal dosage) and does not have any in common with the Açai berry itself, the Acai powder combines both the same functionalty and taste. Açai berry powder also contains, like the capsules, the extract of the Açai berry. However, there are also powders which are produced by the crushing of freeze-dried fruits. In fact, this processing variation retains the complete constituents of the berry and therefore is more effective in regard to its effects because it is similar to the consumption of the fresh fruits. When the extract is produced, it is proven that some ingredients are lost. However, the remaining active ingredients can be more concentrated. So , theoretically, smaller amounts need to be consumed.

The Açai powder is not pre-dosed for daily needs, which has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, you can dose more precisely, for example, to set a quantity according to the body weight. On the other hand, many consumers are lost at determining the right dosage.

Acai powder is a good food supplement, an addition to the daily diet. It can be used over cereal or yogurt, the possibilities of its are very diverse. The taste is similar of those of berry fruits, which is different to the natural Açai berry taste. By adding maltodextrin, a carbohydrate, a slightly sweetish taste is achieved. In addition, the maltodextrin ensures better solubility of the powder.

Açai capsules - ideal as a dietary supplement

Very common are Açai berry capsules. Capsules have become famous beyond South America´s borders especially as being a slimming product. A capsule can contain about 1000-2000mg Açai berry extract, but there are many products on the market that deliver lower concentrations. The daily recommended dose should not exceed 5000-6000mg. Thus, throughout the day you can take two capsules. However, there are manufacturers who offer higher concentrated capsules, of which you need only one capsule a day - but this is not an advantage. The capsules are neutral in taste.

The ingredients of such Acai capsules are often not restricted to the berry extract alone. Depending on the manufacturer, silicon dioxide, powdered rice and magnesium are found in the capsules as well. These additives are not dangerous, they are also present in other pharmaceutical and cosmetic preparations. Silica e.g. is found under the designation E551 in many spice mixtures and serves as a filler. Magnesium sterols are necessary for granulate and tablet production. Usually, further plant additives are added to increase the effective bandwidth of the Acai capsules. There are capsules e.g. with guarana and green tea extract. Açai capsules are widely used, because they promise to deliver the complete range of positive qualities of the Acai berry.

Also, with Acai capsules, the effort to find and process fresh fruits is no longer necessary. In addition, the active ingredients are very concentrated in the capsules. Theoretically, one would have to buy several pounds of fresh Acai berries to receive the same amount of valuable ingredients as they are present in one capsule. So the value for money of Acai capsules is very good. A three-month pack is already available from about 15 US$.

Açai Juice - the healthy, delicious drink

For the production of the juice, in most cases the puree of the Açai berry is taken as a basis. To convert it into a drink, it is diluted in a variety of ways. Also, it is possible to stretch it with water in a classic manner, preserving the taste of the berry. However, since the greasy-earthy aroma of the Açai berry is perceived by many people as being very unfamilar and weird, other juices are used for dilution. The most common is the mixture with apple juice. However, the distinctive Açai taste remains the same.

For people who are not used to it since their childhood, it is a challenge to really enjor pure Acai juice. Depending on the concentration of the juice, it is usually recommended to drink a glass of 30-50ml on a daily basis. The size is comparable to a shot glass. Alternatively, it is also possible to add the juice when preparing food or sauces. With a price of about 15 US$ for half a litre, however, this form of food supplementation is quite costly. The actual amount of Açai berry in the juices varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. As a result, the consumer should always pay attention to the amount of the actual portion of Açai in each drink. Especially in South America, energy drinks with Açai are very popular.

Notice:
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