Amazing Benefits of Acai Berry
One of the newly discovered berry of antioxidant plants is the acai palm berry that comes from the tropical regions of Central and South America.
Acai is well-known in the exotic functional food industry as a rich tasting, darkly pigmented (deep blue-purple) fruit whose delicious juice is either consumed from bottles or combined with yogurt and other health foods to create smoothies & frozen Yoghurt. See www.acai-bowls.co.uk
The acai is a genus of 25-30 palm species native to tropical Central and South America, from Belize to Brazil and Peru. It grows mainly along rivers, in floodplains and swamps. They are tall, slender, attractive palms that grow 15-30 m tall, with pinnate leaves up to 3 m long. The fruit is a small, round, black-purple berry similar in size to a grape. They are produced in branched clusters of 700-900 fruits that must be picked by hand. Though its appearance is similar to that of a grape, the acai has a smaller amount of pulp and a single large seed about 7â€“10 mm in diameter.
What is it about the acai that has caught the attention of consumers?
Besides its deep blue colour and delectable taste (hinting of chocolate), the preliminary analysis of nutrient content shows acai as one of the tropicâ€™s most nutritious fruits and certainly an exceptional source of antioxidant pigments.
Acai is rich in vitamins A, B and C, minerals (particularly iron and calcium), dietary fiber and proteins.
It also contains an omega-3 fatty acid, a beta-sitosterol (a phytosterol that inhibits cholesterol formation in humans) and essential amino acids. Oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid found in virgin olive oil, is especially rich in the acai.
Acai has three times the antioxidant strength of blueberries and eight times that of strawberries. The likely source of such unusual antioxidant power would come from the dark blue pigments found in acai berry skin â€“ the large class of flavonoids called anthocyanins and particularly from two (cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside), which are the main pigments isolated from acai.
Research has indicated a possible anti-cancer effect of anthocyanins and other pigments, as shown for North American dark berries like the blueberry and black raspberry.
As a dietary supplement, recently, the aÃ§aÃ “berry” has been touted and marketed as a highly beneficial dietary supplement.
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