Acai berries are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats. Packed with nutrients, they make a great addition to a healthy and balanced diet.
This dark purple fruit is an inch or so in diameter and grows on acai palm trees native to the rainforests of South and Central America.
Their skin is dark purple and the flesh around a large seed is yellow. However, they’re not technically a berry because they have pits like olives and apricots but are classified as drupes.
But, they’re commonly referred to as berries. Many people soak them to soften the tough outer skin and make them suitable for eating. Others mash them to make a dark purple paste or puree which is used in different recipes.
The shelf life of fresh acai berries is short and they’re not available outside of the place where they’re grown. Therefore, they are usually sold in the form of dried powder, pressed juice, and frozen fruit puree.
The Impressive Health Benefits of Acai Berries
- Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are essential because they neutralize the damage inflicted by free radicals in the form of cell damage and lower the risk of diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
The good news is that acai berries are packed in antioxidants even more than blueberries and cranberries. The antioxidants from acai were also found to be well-absorbed in the gut.
- Balance the cholesterol levels
Acai berries were found to be able to better cholesterol levels in animal studies. It’s believed that they may have a similar effect in humans.
Though more research is necessary, it may be that the anthocyanins in acai are responsible for the positive influence on cholesterol levels as they’ve already been associated with better HDL and LDL cholesterol levels in other studies. Acai berries are also abundant in plant sterols that lower cholesterol absorption in the body.
- Anticancer properties
Some foods like acai berries may help reduce the formation and spread of cancer cells.
In mice, the pulp from acai was able to lower the incidence of colon and bladder cancer; however, another study found that acai pulp did not affect stomach tumors.
With this in mind, more research done with humans is necessary to determine the role of acai berries in the treatment of cancer.
- Brain food
The plant compounds in acai may keep the brain safe from damage associated with aging. The antioxidants in acai fight against inflammation and oxidation in brain cells that may impede learning and memory.
Moreover, the brain has several mechanisms to stay healthy. One of them is to clean toxic cells or cells that are no longer functioning.
This process is known as autophagy. In this way, there’s space for new nerves to form, which ultimately betters the communication between brain cells.
However, as we age, this process becomes less efficient. This is where acai can help because it was found to stimulate brain autophagy in lab tests.
- Balanced blood sugar levels
Adding acai berries to your diet may help balance your blood sugar levels because they contain anthocyanins. These antioxidants keep the insulin levels regulated and improve the blood sugar levels.
Acai berries are also a low glycemic index food and they won’t cause blood sugar spikes after you eat them. This is essential for people with diabetes who need to manage their blood sugar levels optimally and reduce the risk of complications.