Seems like every year or so, a new fruit becomes the superfood du jour. Blueberries, mangosteen and pomegranate have, in recent years, enjoyed Hollywood A-list, red-carpet treatment. One of the most recently anointed ‘superfoods’ is Euterpe oleracea, better known as “açaí” (pronounced: ‘ah-sa-ee’). But is açaí healthy? Or is it merely a health fad that’s buzz will fade out of the celebrity limelight?
The health benefits of acai have been documented for centuries, but have been only medically researched in recent years due to its booming popularity.
Açaí is especially high in anthocyanins, which are antioxidant compounds responsible for giving berries (açaí is a berry) their dark pigment. The major health benefit of açaí is its ability to combat oxidative stress that leads to aging at the cellular level.
The açaí berry, cultivated deep in the Amazonian basin, may help in the following ways:
Cardio-protective (heart health) properties: helps the heart by preventing clots; improves circulation.
Weight loss: one small study found that the pulp in açaí negates the effects of eating a high-fat diet.
Increased Energy: by improving blood circulation, fatigue can be alleviated.
Healthy Skin: your skin requires the nourishment from antioxidants as well, in order to appear radiant. The oil in açaí berries is a healthy alternative to chemically-based skin-care products.
Improved Digestion: açaí can be a powerful detoxification agent as long as it does not contain preservatives….
Speaking of Preservatives….
Though many products proudly and loudly claim to contain açaí, many of the health benefits that you may get from taking natural açaí are negated because of additives. Açaí has become ubiquitous; from powder supplements and capsules, to shakes, smoothies, ‘health bowls,’ chocolate, and even wine.
Many so-called health experts claim that drinking red wine in moderation can boost wellness because of resveratrol, the active compound in tannins (which makes the grape reddish-purple). But you’d have to drink gallons of wine to get the health benefits from the tannins. And obviously, that wouldn’t be too good for your liver.
But the açaí found in Sun Horse Energy is all-natural and may contain up to a 30 times higher concentration of tannins than red wine.
Not all Açaí is created equal
By itself, açaí is very low on the glycemic index, meaning, it will have a negligible effect on your blood sugar level. However, many products that contain açaí are loaded with sugar. Açaí bowls, for example, contain a frozen blend of açaí and many other berries and bananas.
To get the maximum benefit of cyanins, those potent antioxidants that fight cellular damage, you need only a small amount (a handful of berries); eating the equivalent of several handfuls of berries at one time, which is what you’re doing when you drink a smoothie or juice or when you eat a ‘health’ bowl, is like hooking your arm up to a pure IV drip of fructose … this is perhaps not a bad thing if you’re severely dehydrated, on the brink of death.
But for optimal health, consuming lots of fructose at one time spikes blood sugar levels. Over time, this can potentially lead to pre-diabetes, or, this eating behavior can lead to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Açaí, a natural berry found in Brazil’s Amazonian jungles, in its natural state, is indeed a superfood. Just be careful of dubious marketing claims. For a list of other non-processed antioxidants and adaptogens in Sun Horse Energy, click here.