Acai reviews are popping up everywhere from medical publications to celebrity blogs. So, what's the truth about the acai berry and what's just hype?
Acai, also known as Amazonian palm berry, comes from a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit, a reddish-purple berry, is related to the cranberry and the blueberry. Indigenous Amazonians have long used acai both as a food source and for numerous health purposes.
Today acai berries are used to treat arthritis, high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction (ED), as well as aid in weight loss and improve general health. While they're undeniably a health fad, they offer the potential of serious health benefits deserving of more than a passing nod.
Acai has become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years, as it's been marketed as a “superfood” that promotes weight loss and possesses anti-aging properties. However, the National Center for Contemporary and Alternative Medicine reports that “there is no definitive scientific evidence to support these claims.”
But, that doesn't mean that the acai berry doesn't offer some powerful health benefits. What laboratory studies have shown is that acai berries contain both anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Antioxidant content is often the focus of many Acai reviews. Antioxidants are chemicals which may help to protect cells from damage due to free radicals, which your body produces when it breaks down food, or which enter your body from outside sources such as tobacco smoke and radiation.
Antioxidants may play a powerful role in preventing heart disease, cancer and other conditions, and some researchers believe that acai contains more antioxidants than many other high-antioxidant foods, such as blueberries, making it a potent disease fighter.
In addition, in 2011, an uncontrolled pilot study conducted by Medicus Research showed that consuming acai pulp reduced markers of metabolic disease (a group of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and/or type-2 diabetes) in overweight adults. Specifically, it reduced levels of fasting glucose and insulin, and improved cholesterol levels. Researchers concluded that “further studies are warranted.”
Acai berry products include juices, powders, tablets and capsules, as well as numerous foods, ranging from yogurt to granola bars to ice cream, to which the berries have been added. Acai provides fiber as well as heart-healthy unsaturated fats. While its health claims are still being investigated, acai provides measurable nutritional benefits and future research is promising.
It pays to be a savvy shopper when looking for acai products! Some are merely acai flavored or contain only trace amounts of acai. If you're looking to reap the health benefits of acai, make sure that you're getting the real deal and a decent amount of it.
Many manufacturers make unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of their products, and sometimes post acai reviews on their websites that are based on hypotheses rather than fact. Again, it pays to be a smart shopper! Knowing what has and hasn't been proven about acai can help you separate the hype from the truly helpful.
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