Health Benefits of the Acai Berry

health-benefits-of-the-acai-berryFruit for Thought: Acai Berry

Considered a superfood, acai (pronounced a-sigh-ee) is traditionally served in gourds, and mixed with tapioca, sugar and honey. Freeze dried powders, juices, and supplements have become very popular for their energizing antioxidant benefits.

Botanical name: Euterpe oleracea

Family: Arecaceae or Palmae Palm Family

Native to the Amazon region of Brazil.

Description:

Acai berries are small, round, dark purple in color, and appear similar to grapes. The seed is much larger than a grape-seed however, making up to 80% of the fruit. Acai is a palm tree indigenous to the Amazon region of South America. It is known by the native people as “içá-çai”, which means “fruit that cries”. The acai tree can be found all over the Amazonia region. Juice is extracted from the pulp of the skin of the seed, and no trees are harmed in the harvesting process. For hundreds of years, acai has been a traditional food of the native people of the Amazon – and part of its folklore, finding its way into legend, as well as onto the table.

Health benefits of acai:

Promotes rapid weight loss & lowers bad cholesterol

Improves stamina

Improves digestion

Aids in fighting cardiovascular diseases

Slows down the aging process

Strengthens the immune system

Helps in fighting infection

Protects against heart disease

Natural remedy for erectile dysfunction

Improves blood circulation

Protects against prostate cancer

Fights against inflammation

Prevents disease

Properties: Acai contains high amounts of antioxidants and anthocyanins, fiber, calcium, vitamins E, C, A and iron, amino acids, aspartic acid and glutamic acid, efa: oleic , palmitic, and linoleic acids, as well as a high amount of beta-sitosterol, and polyphenols.

Beneficial medicinal properties of acai were first realized in the 1950s and 1960s. During this phase of the acai berry history, its use was first recommended to infuse workouts with energy. Subsequent studies found acai was rich in antioxidants, fibers, healthy fats and important amino acids. Because the actual acai berry is mostly seed with very little meat, you can begin your journey to health with this all-natural product by trying acai freeze dried powder to create delicious smoothies or easy to take acai supplements.

Acai has become one of the top supplements not only for Brazilian MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) professional fighters, but for athletes around the globe. A staple to the Gracie family’s diet “secret of success”, which was pioneered by Carlos Gracie who was a self-taught nutritionist studying the writings of top health experts as well as learning by observation of the effects that various foods would have in the general wellbeing of his fighting family members.

Today acai is highly recommended by any top MMA fighter and top professional athletes of any discipline.

Acai is rarely imported whole because it’s so fragile, but it is available in pulp, juice, powder, and concentrate. The pulp packs the most powerful antioxidant punch. Find flash-frozen acaí berry pulp in the freezer section of natural food stores. Add it to smoothies and yogurt, or use it to make ice cream or sorbet. The pure pulp is sour and slightly bitter, but when sweetened, it tastes like concentrated blueberries with a hint of chocolate.

Açaí Sorbet Recipe (Vegan – Gluten-free)

Ingredients:

4 pure açai pulp smoothie packs (4 oz. each), thawed

¾ cup agave nectar

2 Tbs. lemon juice

Handful of berries (your choice – raspberries work well)

Directions:

1. Whisk together all ingredients in bowl.

2. Transfer to 9-inch-square metal baking pan, and place in freezer.

3. Stir with fork every half hour, scraping frozen bits from sides, to keep from freezing into a block.

4. Scoop into bowls, and serve, or store in airtight container up to 1 week.

5. Top up with fresh berries. Enjoy!

Nutritional information:

Per Serving:

Calories: 132

Protein: 1 g

Total Fat: 2.5 g

Saturated Fat: 0.5 g

Carbohydrates: 27 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 5 mg

Fiber: 2 g

Sugar: 24 g

Courtesy of My Yoga Online.

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