Meet The Acai Berry

Meet the Acai Berry by Marcus C. Evans..Unless you’ve been hiding out in a secluded location far from all media outlets, it is a certainty that you’ve seen some of the many ads which have been going around for acai berry juice. While the acai berry is new to us in most of the world, it is a fruit which has been enjoyed for centuries in South America.The fruit of the acai palm, a member of the Euterpe genus, is native to the Amazon River basin region in Brazil and other South American countries. The acai berry is a staple of the diet in the regions where it is grown, as well as being an important ingredient in traditional remedies for everything from skin ulcers to diarrhoea. The particular acai palm which has everyone so excited however is the Euterpe oleracea.The acai palm grows in a classic palm shape, reaching heights of as much as 80 feet. The long, thin trucks have fruiting branches near the top with long, narrow leaves. The branches, when fruiting will bear clusters of three to eight purple-black berries, each around the size of a blueberry. The fruit is mostly seed by weight; it is the pulp of the acai berry which contains the amazing health benefits of the fruit.It has been only about seven years since the acai berry made its entrance to the world outside of the South American countries where the berry is native to. These berries are highly perishable, starting to spoil in only hours after harvesting. Because of this short shelf life, it is difficult to export the berry. Fortunately for the rest of the world, companies began processing the berries after harvest, making this fruit exportable for the first time.Three and a half ounces of readily available freeze dried acai powder contains 533.9 calories, 52.2 g carbohydrate, 44.2 g dietary fiber, 8.1 g protein, and 32.5 g total fat. Of course, most people do not consume this much acai at one sitting, but it serves as a good illustration of how nutrient dense this little berry really is.The antioxidant properties of the acai berry have been studied extensively. Antioxidants are believed to help prevent many diseases; and in a University of Florida study, acai extract caused self-destruction in 86% of leukaemia cells! Acai berry extract may also improve cardiovascular function, according to the results of a study performed at the University of Rio de Janeiro. Yet another study done on acai’s antioxidant activity found that 12 volunteers given an acai extract had higher antioxidant levels in their system when tested one and two hours afterwards – with the antioxidant levels in their blood increasing between the first and second hour!Acai is also reputed to produce health benefits including improved mental clarity, greater energy levels and better GI function, among other positive effects. While some of these health claims have yet to be proven, there have been similar effects seen from other antioxidant rich food items.The acai berry may have yet another use, this one not related to its nutritive content. Acai berry pulp shows promise to change the way that MRI testing is done on the GI tract! It seems that the humble acai berry may have even more uses than anyone had thought.About the author: Marcus C. Evans shares findings from studies on the acai berry on his site where you can also discover more about the amazing nutritional properties of the acai fruit. Article Source: