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A Closer Look At The Acai Berry

Updated on June 29, 2010

Just what is inside the acai berry or this wonder fruit that no one outside the Amazon had even heard about till five years ago? There haven’t been too many studies done on this fruit. The Amazons had no need for research – the acai berry fruit was a traditional staple and it’s been too short a time since it’s become widely known for it to be researched enough for conclusive proof about everything that is in it.

The natural acai berry is small – just about one inch in diameter and looks like a large grape. The palm trees that it grows on grow wild in many areas of the Amazon and these palms are usually found in the areas that lie on the river banks. The palms are slender and tall and the fruit hang in huge clusters with each cluster bearing fruit that could number up to a thousand fruit. Fruiting takes place twice a year and the acai fruit bunches hang in glorious colour as the fruit is a wonderful dark purple when it ripens. There are some varieties of acai berry that are green but for the most part, the fruit is a purple-black colour.

The fruit is eaten as food in the Amazon and this is the traditional way that the locals have treated the fruit – as a food. The skin and the pulp inside are the parts that are eaten. There isn’t much of acai berry pulp because the fruit has a seed that is large and the pulp around the seed is a thin layer. There is a lot of fat present in the fruit which is why it needs to be pulped, frozen and packed to avoid spoilage.

Traditionally, the fruit was a large part of the diet of the local people. Maybe that’s why people here have been fairly healthy, getting a good part of their nutrients from this fruit. If all the stories about the wealth of nutrients that the acai berry contains is even half true, then they obviously have a winner on their hands and this has probably been the reason for their healthy lifestyle though the years. Considering that it has been a food for centuries and that the natives have depended on this for their food and their health, it looks like the acai berry is what the world has been waiting for.

The question of course will be: is what has been good for the local Amazon people be good for the rest of the world? Will the natural acai berry be able to spread its wings outside its native shores and be a much touted health food? In the last four years that the acai berry has make its appearance on the world scene, there have been divided opinions – some say it’s wonderful and some say it’s nothing more than a placebo effect. It will probably need a few more years for us to figure out exactly how good the fruit is and how much of a healthy difference it can make in our lives.

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