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01.07.2009 Feature Article

What's so specail about the acai berry?

Acai berry ('acai' is pronounced 'ah-sigh-EE') is not really a berry but is in fact a fruit that grows on the Acai palm trees in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and other marshy areas of South America. The acai berry is a small dark-purplish fruit that is slightly smaller than a grape. The acai berry is almost 90% seed, which is covered in a small amount of tasty fruit pulp.

However, even though the Acai may be small in size, it is packed with an amazing amount of nutrition!

Acai has been called the #1 Superfood by Dr. Perricone in his best-selling book The Perricone Promise and this little berry has also been commented on repeatedly by the world's media – from the chat show queen “Oprah Winfry” to internationally recognised newspapers such as USA Today.

Probably the main reason acai berries have been hailed as a superfood is because they are packed with vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, C, and also vitamin E. It also contains a staggering 19 essential amino acids, omega fatty acids, 3 plant sterols and dietary fibre. And on top of all that, the level of antioxidants is said to be one of the highest of all natural foods. In fact the acai berry seems to be the first worthy competition for Resveratrol, the substance found in red wine that has been claimed by some to be responsible for the French Paradox.

One major drawback of the amazing acai berry is that it is easily perishable and must undergo some kind of processing within 24 hours of harvesting to maintain the berries' natural health benefits. This is why it is highly unlikely that we will ever see the fresh raw acai berry gracing the shelves of our stores.

To counteract the instability of these berries, farmers and exporters are obliged to freeze-dry them before transporting them to western shores where they are processed and turned into powders, shakes, capsules and tablet form to be used as health and dietary supplements.

As in all health and dietary issues, one should always apply common-sense. There is a lot of exaggeration out there about the amazing benefits of various fruits like the maqui berry, goji berry and acai berry. This is not to say that there is no benefit or even to suggest that it's only a small benefit. Natural superfruit supplements can provide excellent benefits in today's stressed world.

Bear in mind that an acai berry supplement in your diet is not going to cure everything and anything that may be wrong with you. But don't forget that it can definitely help.

Mixey Blob
Mixey Blob, © 2009

The author has 15 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: MixeyBlob

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