Anyone that has a few Brazilian friends, is a member of the MMA community, or is just a health nut, it’s safe to say you’re probably familiar with acai berry and the many forms it comes in.
Pronounced “ah-sah-ee”, the berry bears its origins in the Amazon and comes from the acai palm tree, which is known to Brazilians as “The Tree of Life.” Exotic in colour, the berry’s deep purple glow is indicative of the health benefits that lie within the rich exterior.
In today’s confusing index of healthy foods, you might be interested to know that the acai berry is neatly placed in the so-called “superfood” category, meaning it must be pretty good for us in some way. So in an effort to breakdown this promising label, I give you 5 reasons why health and fitness fiends may want to get acquainted with the acai berry.
1.Enhances Athletic Performance: Acai berry has been known to boost energy levels because of the powerful array of antioxidants it contains. The mix of antioxidants are said to promote faster recovery times and increase stamina.
2. Boosts Heart Health: In the world of natural healing, acai berries are said to improve circulation and relax blood vessels, all of which are essential in maintaining a healthy heart. This positive impact on the human body arises because of three plant sterols found within the berry, known as B-sitosterol, campesterol and sigmasterol. The combination of these three plant sterols are thought to have a cardioprotective effect on the human body.
3. Packed with Protein: Fruit is an unlikely source of protein but this berry may just make the perfect post-workout meal combination. Acai berries contain a generous amount of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. The amino acid content found within acai berries is almost the equivalent of an egg, which is enough to assist in muscle building and repairing.
4. Contains Anti-Ageing Properties: Acai berries contain a high fatty acid content similar to that of olive oil. It is this potent source of fatty acids that helps to stall the ageing process by making omega-3 fish oils more available to cell membranes. In effect, both essential oils work to make the cell membranes more supple, which means the body’s internal hormones and receptors of insulin work more efficiently to reduce inflammation, which in turn reduces signs of ageing.
5. Advances Weight Loss: While the jury is still out on this one, some health experts believe that consuming acai berries may help promote weight loss (but by no stretch of our unrealistic imagination are they an overnight cure). The reason behind this widely publicised feature lies in the berry’s vitamin content. Acai berries are a rich source of vitamins, namely vitamin B and K, which help the body to metabolise carbohydrates, proteins and fats more efficiently thus providing weight loss assistance.
One thing to note is that it is hard to track down acai in their natural berry state. However, many health food stores stock the powder and puree form making them the perfect addition to any protein shake.