Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you have probably seen the health food phenomenon that is the acai bowl. They arrived onto the health food scene as one of the best sources of concentrated antioxidants. In fact, acai berries are one of the top 25 most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet. They have been known to boost brain function, improve energy levels, reduce allergy symptoms, and to enhance immune function.
What Are Acai Berries?
First and foremost, the correct pronunciation is: ah-sigh-ee. Native to the Amazon in South America, the acai palm primarily thrives in swamps and floodplains. The acai berry has been a staple food in indigenous tribes for centuries, so much so that the berries comprise more than 25% of their food intake. There is a large seed that makes up about 80% of the fruit, with the remaining 20% being an incredible source of beneficial nutrients. Let’s explore the five most impressive health benefits of this antioxidant-rich berry.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
According to a recent study that was conducted at Texas A&M University, acai berries contain high concentrations of anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that help to regulate blood cholesterol. Anthocynanins do this by naturally lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, ultimately reducing the risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis.
As you begin to age, the body and skin undergo changes. To maintain youthful looking skin, it is wise to consume foods that encourage collagen production and hydrate the skin. Acai berries contain antioxidants that work to slow the signs of aging. These antioxidants also mitigate the damage of oxidative stress, which can lead to premature signs of aging. In addition to consuming acai berries, you can use natural skin care products that are made with acai oil. The combination of consumption and topical application may improve skin tone and overall skin health.
Improved Immune Function
Several studies have shown that regular consumption of acai berries works to increase the production of gamma delta T cells in cell cultures, which are integral components of the immune system. One study found that acai increased the production of interleukin 12 and myeloid cells, white blood cells that keep the immune system strong.
The antioxidants in the acai berry, in addition to the berry’s natural ability to improve blood circulation, work to increase energy and stamina. One study found that drinking a beverage with acai in it helped to reduce the body’s metabolic stress. It also increased the amount of time one could exercise before becoming exhausted.
The flesh of acai berries has been known to have a cleansing effect on the digestive system, removing harmful toxins and bacterial build-up as it passes through the intestines. The natural fiber works to bulk up stool and maintain bowel regularity. Regular consumption of acai berries has also been associated with reduced digestive issues, including stomach cramps, diarrhea, and constipation.