Health Benefits of Acai Berry Supplements

Acai (pronounced AH-sigh-EE) is a palm tree that can be found in South American and Central America. Countries such as Brazil and Belize are rich in acai. Other names for acai include acai extract, assai, assai palm, acai fruit, acai palm, cabbage palm, Euterpe oleracea, Amazon acai, Amazon acai berry, and of course, acai berry.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acai contains chemicals that are antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of chemical reactions with oxygen (oxidation). According to some research, acai has more antioxidant content than cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry. Because the berries of the tree have such a high level of antioxidants, they are used to make medicine, supplements, powders, and drinks. The berries can be used in foods and they are also eaten whole.

Many people use acai berry supplements to improve arthritis, lower cholesterol, and improve general health. They are also used to promote weight-loss and they are used in anti-aging creams, shampoos, and conditioners. There are few studies to support the benefits of acai berry, but studies do demonstrate the protective properties of antioxidants.

So far, there are no studies to suggest that acai berry is dangerous. At the same time, there are no studies to support how it might interact with other supplements, herbs, or prescription medications. It is also unknown if acai berry supplements are safe for pregnant women. The issue is not acai berry, it’s the way it may be processed, the amount contained per capsule, if the supplements are made from pure acai, or if the supplements contain other substances or chemicals. Because of this, doctors recommend getting the antioxidants you need from food.

If you prefer acai, it’s best to eat the berries raw or make your own homemade juice as most store bought juices contain loads of sugar or additives. The problem is, finding raw acai outside of South or Central America can be tricky. Use your favorite search engine to seek out importers. It might be expensive, but if you want to enjoy the benefits of raw acai berries, this is your best bet.

Other Foods that Contain Antioxidants

Antioxidant substances include beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Antioxidants can be found in fruits and vegetables, nuts, grains, poultry, and fish. Some of the most antioxidant rich foods include:

-Red Beans
-Kidney Beans
-Russet Potatoes
-Black Beans
-Artichoke Hearts
-Pecans
-Black Plums
-Dried Prunes
-Pinto Beans
-Sweet Cherries
-Cereal (oats, barley)
-Cabbage
-Hazelnuts
-Spices (cinnamon, cloves, oregano, cayenne pepper)
-Apples

Antioxidants can also be found in some meats, such as beef. For more information about acai and other antioxidants, visit Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

  

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