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Acai- the New Super-fruit 
 
by Tamiya King August 02, 2005

Looking for more vitamins and minerals in your diet? Drinking acai juice every day could be the answer. The acai berry, a small black berry similar to a grape grown primarily in Brazil, is used in energy drinks and protein bars, and is now sold in a powder extract as a vitamin supplement. This berry has been proven to help enhance mental alertness, and can even improve memory. But, what other properties does this delicious and extremely healthy fruit possess? How can the acai berry enhance one’s physical and mental well being? Here is some information about the acai berry, where you can purchase the fruit, and nutrition facts that make the acai berry so good for you.

Antioxidant and nutritional properties of acai

The acai berry has a very high amount of antocianine, a substance that helps the body fight of free radicals, or toxic substances in the environment, like cigarette smoke, smog and harmful particles in the air. Antocianine also helps lower cholesterol levels, so it’s recommended that individuals with the risk for heart disease or high blood pressure consume foods rich in antocianine every day. This substance is also found in the grape, which is why many doctors and health professionals recommend a glass of red wine a day to rid the body of toxins. However, acai has 33 times more antocianine than the grape, even though the two fruits are similar in color and size. Additional antioxidants, like vitamin C and E, are also found in the acai berry, and the calcium and potassium found in the fruit can help to ease menstrual pain and prevent osteoporosis.

Other fruits and juices that possess great antioxidant properties, like noni juice or mangosteen, are not nearly as potent as acai. Acai berries have six times more antioxidant power, and also contain vitamins B1, B2, and B3.

Acai berries are also very high in fiber, which helps to reduce cholesterol and can help to prevent colon cancer, and has as much protein as one egg. The berries contain Omega-3 fatty acids as well, which can help to improve skin health and increase protein levels. Amino acids and trace minerals are contained in the berry, too, and these substances help to improve muscle concentration and regeneration.

Acai in the News

In recent years, this very potent fruit has been featured on a number of talk shows and health profiles. For instance, in 2004, the acai fruit was named number one on Dr. Nicholas Perricone’s top ten super foods, making the list among such foods as barley, yogurt, and green, leafy vegetables. Dr. Perricone appeared on Oprah to explain more about the acai berry and detail its great nutritional quality, as well as the improvement acai has made in individuals with diabetes. The acai has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to lower insulin levels.

NBC’s Today Show featured a special report on the acai berry, calling it the “Viagra of the Amazon.” Acai has been proven to improve the sexual health and stamina of men, and promotes better circulation. Many men have also reporting having improved digestion and mental focus as a result of drinking acai juice. There have also been reports of acai berries helping to stop blood clots and significantly aid those who suffer from allergies, seasonal or otherwise.

Where to find Acai

Most grocery stores don’t sell acai berries or juice, so you’ll have to purchase this nutrient-packed fruit at a local health food store, or order it online. Perhaps the most popular acai juice manufacturer, Mona Vie, make an acai based juice that people all over the world are drinking daily. The juice is a fruit blend that contains acai cherry, the actual acai berry, blueberry, bilberry, and pomegranate. This juice has helped people to combat serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, stroke, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Proper amounts of the juice on a daily basis can also help you to consume the allowance of fruit that should be consumed each day, since only about 17% of people actually eat the necessary allowance of fruit and vegetables per day. You can also purchase acai from Acai Plus (www.acai-plus.info); the company is primarily online, and you can purchase acai juice by the case. Acai can also be purchase in its powder form, so you can take it every day as a vitamin supplement with meals. You can find the powder at vitamin stores like Vitamin Shoppe (www.vitaminshoppe.com), or Whole Foods Market. You can also find out more about the clinical studies that have been conducted on acai on a number of websites, just to find out what medical professionals are saying about this wonder fruit, as well as healthy dosage amounts if you’re thinking about using acai as a dietary supplement.

How and When to use Acai

If you find a place that actually sells the acai berry, you can make a couple of original recipes of your own using the berry. One of the most effective ways to get all the nutritional benefits of acai is to juice the berry or prepare a smoothie using acai. Here are a couple of recipe suggestions that you may want to try:

Acai Smoothie

Take 7 OZ (200 grams ) Açai into a blender. Add 1/2 cup of soy milk or juice and 1 banana (you can also add other fruits like strawberry/mango/etc). Blend until smooth and serve in a bowl topped with sliced bananas and granola.

Açai Frooty Power Smoothie

Blend 7 OZ (200 Grams ) of Açai Frooty with 1 cup of juice or soy milk, 1 banana, 1/4 cup strawberries or other fruit and 1/2 cup ice and/or yogurt.

Acai Fruity Drink – 8 OZ

Blend 3.5 OZ (100 Grams ) of Açai Frooty with 1 cup of Apple Juice or soy milk, 1/2 banana or Strawberries or other fruit and ½ cup of ice and / or yogurt.

Acai Frooty Drink – 16 OZ

Blend 7 OZ (200 Grams ) of Açai Frooty with 1 cup of Apple Juice or soy milk, 1 banana or Strawberries or other fruit and ½ cup of ice and / or yogurt.

You can also use acai in recipes where you would usually use blueberries with, and you can eat the fruit raw or with yogurt, since it’s so similar to a grape. Check out local health food stores and farmer’s markets for more information on acai, and look at the companies listed above for ordering information.


 




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