How has the charismatic and exotic relative of the blueberry and cranberry family bewitched us on this fine morning at Santosa? Found in the Amazon, the Acai berry, also known as healing berry has been used for years to stimulate energy and boost immunity amongst local tribes, but recently, it has caught the attention of researchers, because of its ability to assist with oxidative stress… big words for a Monday morning!
What is oxidative stress you ask? Put simply, an imbalance between the amount of antioxidants that we are able to produce in order to detoxify our bodies from free radicals. The less antioxidants we produce, the more at risk we are of developing Parkinsons, Alzheimers, cancer and heart conditions… to name but a few serious downsides. The other BIG effect of oxidization is, of course, inflammation, which is a leading contributor to the acceleration of ageing.
Our metabolic process (ability to produce antioxidants), is largely defined by our genetic make-up, but poor diet and lifestyle contributors such as cigarettes and alcohol play a huge part too. We cannot internally produce enough antioxidants to battle those nefarious free radicals each day. Do not fear… superfood Acai berry is here!
- Anthocyanin – the colour pigment found in red, purple or dark blue hued fruits and vegetable is found in abundance in the Acai berry. This antioxidant is credited with assisting blood circulation and protecting the fats needed in our brain cell membrane. Overall, it also lowers cholesterol – which is great news for our cardiovascular health.
- MUFAS – mono-unsaturated fats. Acai is a source of this good fat… which we now know we NEED if we want to lose weight, avoid heart disease and stroke, and improve rheumatoid arthritis and again.. to reduce cholesterol . An interesting study published by the American Diabetes Association also found that diets high in MUFAS actually reduced belly fat! Remember though… not all fat is good fat. Other sources of MUFAS include: olives, avocados, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, flaxseed, olive and sunflower oils.
- Vitamins A, C, E – wonderful for your skin! Brazilians have been consuming this incredible berry for centuries to treat skin conditions and retain a youthful glow.
- Ellagic Acid – combined with vitamin C, this potent combination is not only touted as an immune system supporter, but has shown a very strong ability to suppress cancer growth in recent studies. Researchers are still yet to determine the exact benefits and role it could play in modern day cancer medication, but it has been proven the phytochemicals found in the polyphenolic compounds extracted from Acai, reduced cancer cell proliferation by nearly 90%. In layman’s terms? It is suggested that the cells creating tumors can be killed off before they multiply. We are not implying that Acai is a cancer cure… but we are excited about the recent discoveries into how is may be able to help, watch this space!
The list of benefits could go on for this superfood, but one thing we all agree on? Acai berries are the dynamos of the berry world, and we are getting more and more excited about them here at Santosa. We think you still have one question though… how on earth is Acai pronounced?! ‘Ah – Sigh – Eeee’ ….
Try it today! All the best in health and happiness…
David Grotto, RD, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.