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Acai is the superfood of the century! Or, is the hype surrounding the innocent acai berry is out of control? Recent reports and multiple internet scam artists have given it a bad name that it doesn’t deserve. The following are facts about acai and its potential health benefits.

Acai is the superfood of the century! Or, is the hype surrounding the innocent acai berry is out of control? Recent reports and multiple internet scam artists have given it a bad name that it doesn’t deserve. The following are facts about acai and its potential health benefits.

1 - There are several studies in the medical literature about the effectiveness of the antioxidants in the Acai berry. Most were done in a lab on tissue cultures and mice. Most reported positive results as there appears to be certain phyto chemicals in the berry that are active and will act as antioxidants.
2 - There are literally thousands of studies documenting the use of antioxidants to decrease inflammatory chemistry in the human body. Several studies exist documenting the ability of acai to reduce oxidation inside cells.
3 - Acai does appear to have a high ORAC score. This means it can absorb damaging oxidants that can cause damage in the body. In other words it should be an effective antioxidant.
4 - Acai does contain a favorable mix of 8g of protein, 52.2g of carbohydrates of which 42.2g is dietary fiber(net carb is 10g), and a high percentage of oleic, palmitic and linoleic acids(essential fatty acids) and 534 calories. This information is representative of 100g(3.5 ounces) of dried powder, not the recommended pulp form. This much dried powder would translate to multiple servings. The one resource found reported a 3.5 ounce serving of “raw” acai pulp to contain 50 calories, 2g of protein, 2.4g fiber out of 0 carbohydrates(no sugar), 2.5 g of fat(omega-3 40mg; omega-6 420mg; omega-9 1620mg) is more indicative of a proper serving.
5 - Acai does contain some of the same antioxidant chemicals as pomegranate, blueberries and red grape juice, but in smaller amounts. However, one study suggested that not all of the antioxidant chemicals of acai may be recognized and that may contribute to its high ORAC score.
6 - Beware of products that claim acai content, because there actually no way to know how much acai is in a particular product.

As acai grows on the acai palm, indigenous to Brazil, it is harvested and processed in Brazil. Acai is part of the Brazilian culture and has been consumed for centuries. At first it was made into a red wine, however, more recently, it was processed into a pulp which was made popular by a Brazilian ju jitsu team. It is heralded as an energy booster and eaten frozen with a small amount of guarana(a mild herbal stimulant), fresh fruit and granola for breakfast. Many Brazilian athletes believe it improves endurance and strength.

All of that to say, acai is a great food and should be added to a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources. Pomegranate, blueberries, red grapes, and red wine also contain high amounts of the similar phytonutrient antioxidants. It is important to remember that there aren’t any magic pills or potions that will make you look 20 or 30 years younger or skinnier. The keys to longevity and good health lay in a solid foundation of real food(not processed) in normal portion sizes, regular exercise, plenty of clean water, sunshine, and an optimistic outlook.

References: Medline searches included many more articles.
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Honzel D, Carter SG, Redman KA, Schauss AG, Endres JR, Jensen GS.
J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 24;56(18):8319-25. Epub 2008 Aug 22.PMID: 18717566 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Chin YW, Chai HB, Keller WJ, Kinghorn AD.
J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 10;56(17):7759-64. Epub 2008 Jul 26.PMID: 18656934 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Pacheco-Palencia LA, Talcott ST, Safe S, Mertens-Talcott S.
J Agric Food Chem. 2008 May 28;56(10):3593-600. Epub 2008 Apr 29.PMID: 18442253 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Dr Kristina Sargent is a chiropractic physician with 18 years experience. Her mission is to engage, educate and empower people to take control of their health to prevent chronic diseases and lead successful lives through serving people with alternatives to medication. Her toolbox includes personalized diet recommendations, weight loss, exercise, chiropractic care, positive thoughts, prayer and meditation, and massage therapy. Her office, Restor Healing Centre, is located in Wheaton, Il. The website is www.RestorNow.com


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