Berry Of The Week: Acai Berry

acai-berryIn the past few years, we’ve been hearing all this buzz about the amazing acai berry, supposedly packed full of healthy antioxidants. Maybe you’ve even tried it because of the acai berry products claiming to help with weight loss. The truth is the acai berry is very nutritious, but hard to find in the healthiest form. Read on to see why everyone is talking about this beautiful berry!

History of the Acai Berry

The history of acai is deep rooted in the traditions of the Amazon people and the modern countries that occupy that territory.

The acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry has been around for thousands of years. It was not introduced to the western world until the 1990s.

The tribes of the Amazon Rain Forest first used the berry to help various aliments due to its tremendous health properties. In fact, it is estimated that the indigenous tribes regularly use two thousand of the three thousand known rainforest fruits for medicinal purposes.

The Amazonian tribes found out that it helped build the immune system, fight infection, protect the heart, and control prostate enlargement (nature’s viagra), and acai berry and better sex.

The acai berry was also discovered to fight schistosomosis, a disease transmitted by snails. Schistosomosis affected more than 10 million Brazilians—how about that for the earth giving us what we need. The acaí berry is also used to produce an antibiotic that helps to fight against ‘Staphylococcus aureus,’ a common infection contracted mainly in hospitals.

The acaí berry grows on a palm that has a long thin trunk up to 25m high with a group of branches at the top from which hangs ribbon-like leaves. Acaí berries hang from these branches in clusters. Traditionally the acai berries would be picked by hand and the tribe’s men would shimmy up the tree and cut the branches from the top of the palm tree rich in acai berries.

Now that the acai berry has been discovered as a highly sought after crop by the population of Brazil it is mass produced, as it only has a 24-hour life span in which the properties of the juice are still active. The acai berries must be loaded into baskets and onto boats soon after picking. Each acai palm tree produces round about 20 kg of fruit per year.

The most recent history of acai is that it has been endorsed by such talk show hosts as Oprah Winfrey and has been seen as a feature on her show, a berry with star success.

Where Can I Buy Acai Berries?

It is very hard to find actual acai berries in regular grocery stores or even health food stores. However, most stores do sell a varieties of juices, power bars, etc. with acai berries in them that have the same health benefits.

Here’s some more information if you want to buy acai berries.

Nutritional Benefits

For many centuries, the healing power of the acai berry was unknown outside of the Amazon rainforest where this amazing fruit grows wild. The rainforests of the world are thought to hold the keys to treating and preventing many of our most feared diseases, and as the rainforests disappear, those cures disappear along with them. The acai berry, however, used by the indigenous peoples of the region for thousands of years to enhance health and vitality, has already been discovered.

The acai berry grows as a wild plant on top of many native palm trees in the Amazon rainforest, with the fruits of the plant being harvested by local farmers and used to make a healthy and nutritious fruit pulp. When quickly frozen, this fruit pulp can retain its vast nutritional value even when being shipped around the world. The acai berry is known for its deep purple color, as well as for being a rich source of many important antioxidant vitamins.

The major benefits of the acai berry are thought to include its strong heart health benefits. The acai berry is known to be a rich source of compounds called anthocyanins. These anthocyanins are the same compounds thought to give red wine its health benefits, but acai berries may contain even higher concentrations of these healthy chemicals than wine, with none of the health risks associated with alcohol.

The acai berry is also a rich source of protein and dietary fiber, in addition to high levels of both omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, thought to have a protective effect on the heart and cardiovascular system. The omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids contained in the acai berry may also play a role in lowering levels of cholesterol in the blood.

In addition to these important benefits, the acai berry is thought to play a vital role in slowing down the aging process. In health food circles, the acai berry is known as one of the most powerful of the anti-aging superfoods. It is thought that this anti-aging effect is a combination of the high levels of anthocyanins and the strong antioxidant vitamin content the fruit contains. In fact, the acai berry is known to contain ten times as many antioxidant vitamins as grapes and twice as many as blueberries.

For many years the acai berry has been hard to find, even in health food stores and natural grocery stores. As the reputation of this super fruit continues to grow, however, its availability is on the rise. It is now possible to buy acai berries in their raw form, as well as purchasing a number of excellent, highly concentrated fruit drinks made with the healthful and powerful acai berry.

The acai berry is truly one of nature’s most healing foods, and a worthy addition to any healthy diet.

Some Yummy & Healthy Recipes

Acai Berry Breakfast Bowl

Ingredients:

1 cup acai berry pulp
½ cup soy milk or 2 fruit juices (¼ cup each)
1 banana (sliced)
½ cup corn flakes
Slices of fresh fruits

Procedure:

Blend acai berry pulp, soy milk or fruit juices and sliced banana in a blender. Pour in a bowl and top the mixture with the corn flakes and fresh fruit slices.

Acai Berry Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup acai berry pulp
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ cup non- fat milk

Procedure:

1. Preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While heating, put liners on the cup cake pan.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl for about 3 — 5 minutes or until fluffy.
3. Add eggs to the mixture. Beat well.
4. Sift together the cake flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.
5. Slowly beat the flour and baking powder in the creamed mixture. Alternate this with the milk.
6. Using a spatula, fold the acai berry pulp into the mixture.
7. Pour into the cupcake liners and bake for 20 — 25 minutes.

Acai Berry Crepe

Ingredients for the filling:

1 cup softened cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
1 cup acai berry pulp

To prepare the filling

1. Whip the softened cream cheese and sugar.
2. Add the acai berry pulp and continue whipping until smooth.

To prepare the final crepe

1. Put the crepe in a flat plate.
2. Spread some of the filling then roll to the desired size and shape.
3. Place in a baking pan and bake in an oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

These recipes are easy to prepare and allow you to try the delicious acai berry in many different ways. We hope you enjoy!

Information courtesy of Health Learning Info, Antioxidant Fruits, and recipes courtesy of Easy Acai Berry Recipes.

You may also like:

Go Organic, Even on a Budget

Gooseberries

Cranberries

Blackberries

To read more from Lauren, check out Lauren’s Thoughts!

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan  www.Askinyourface.com LLC

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Comments

  1. Lauren; the crepes sound spectacular—I need to read more from Allison’t reply

  2. Just today I bought single protein powder packets (Acai Berry) from Whole Foods – among other flavors. I take these along with my shaker when I travel or anywhere when I know I will need a healthy boost that will sustain me. Thanks Lauren

  3. Can’t find the blog to read your comments

  4. Shen – This link only leads back to the article on ASKinyourface.com

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