The acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) berry is the fruit of the acai palm tree, which is found only in the Amazon rainforest. While it has been used for centuries as food and medicine in Central and South America, it has only recently become well-known in the United States. Due to the high nutritional properties of the acai berry, it has become a widely used ingredient in diet supplements, energy bars, energy drinks, ice cream, and juice. Acai is typically available in pill, capsule and powder forms.
What makes this the acai berry special? There are several reasons why the acai berry has quickly gained respect in the arena of good health and here are some of the benefits of the acai berry:
Acai is extremely high in antioxidants. Studies have shown that acai fruit pulp has more antioxidant content than cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry. Antioxidants neutralize the destructive power of free radicals, helping to reduce the risk of diseases including as heart disease and cancer.
The Acai berry contains 19 amino acids, including all of the essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and help improve muscle regeneration, endurance, strength and development.
Acai is also rich source of essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids help support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems and are necessary to manufacture and repair cell membranes (essential fatty acid deficiency is common in the United States, and has been linked to health conditions such as asthma, heart attacks, stroke, cancer, insulin resistance, depression, obesity, diabetes, and arthritis, among others).
Acai is high in fiber. Food and supplements with high fiber content have been shown to lower cholesterol levels, can assist in controlling blood sugar levels, aid in reduction of blood pressure and inflammation, can help maintain healthy weight and promote weight loss, it cleanses the body of toxins, and reduces the risk of certain diseases.
Acai contains high levels of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral for life. It has many important roles in the body including supporting bone health, aiding in muscle contraction and helping to regulate blood pressure.
In addition, acai berries also contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E, and the minerals potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc (in addition to calcium, noted above).
With all of these benefits packed into one small fruit, it is no wonder that the use of acai berries has grown rapidly. Luckily for those of us who do not reside in the Amazon rainforest, we can reap the health rewards of acai by adding high-quality acai supplements to our daily diets.
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