What is Acai berry?
The Acai berry comes from a palm tree found in Brazil in flood plains around the Amazon River. Traditionally Acai berries were used to treat digestive disorders and skin complaints.
The berries, which are dark purple and about the size of a blueberry, need to be used immediately after picking, which is why, outside of Brazil, they are sold in juices, smoothies, powders and capsules.
Why do I need Acai berry?
Acai berries are rich in antioxidants. Antixoidants block some of the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are associated with many diseases including cancer. In an impressive study from the University of Florida, extracts from Acai berries appeared to act against cancer causing leukemia cells to self-destruct*.
According to some reports, Acai contains twice the antioxidants of the blueberry and 10 times the amount of the red grape. Other health-giving components are said to include: heart-healthy fats, dietary fibre, proteins, essential minerals including potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron; and vitamins: B1, B2, B3, E and C. But more studies are needed to help us understand the full benefits of these little berries.
Acai oil is also found in beauty products due to its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are thought to be ‘anti-ageing’ so creams, shampoos and lotions containing acai berry may help keep skin and hair looking youthful.
Can Acai berries ever be bad for you?
More research is needed on the Acai berry. Eaten in moderate amounts it is thought to be safe, although you may wish to avoid it if you are allergic to other similar berries.