Top 10 Benefits of Açaí
Have You Ever Tried Açaí?
Açaí and its Origins
Açaí is becoming increasingly popular in North America thanks to its superfruit qualities. But what is açaí and where did it come from?
Açaí is a berry whose appearance may remind you of a dark large blueberry or a black grape. Unlike grapes or blueberries, pure açaí has a very tart and bitter taste and that is why it is more popular to consume it as a sweetened paste. The pure variation is much healthier, of course, but it is hard to find, even in Brazil.
Açaí berries grow on palm trees in the Amazon region. Açaí is extremely popular in Brazil, but it is also naturally found in Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. In Brazil, this fruit grows in the Northern region. These berries are considered to be superfruits because of their antioxidant content and nutrients.
Where Can Açaí be Found?
Açaí requires a tropical climate to grow and it is found in the Amazon region of South America.
The majority of açaí's cultivation takes place in 3 Brazilian states: Pará, Amazonas, Maranhão.
The city of Igarapé-Miri (state of Pará) is considered to be the global capital of Açaí for being the world's largest producer and exporter of this berry.
Frozen or powdered açaí can be found at most supermarkets and ice cream shops in Brazil.
Nowadays, with more and more people striving to eat and live healthily, açaí is becoming popular on the North American continent. Being a fairly delicate fruit, it is difficult to transport açaí over long distances. Residents of North America can however, purchase dried, frozen or powdered açaí or products containing the berries (cereal bars, granola)
Forms in Which Açaí Can be Consumed
In Brazil, the most popular way to consume açaí is in the form of a frozen "cream" that is previously sweetened with guaraná syrup. Açaí is usually served in a plastic cup or bowl and it is separated into layers ("camadinhas") with some kind of topic ingredient in between each layer. The most common ones are powdered milk (leite ninho), granola, sweetened condensed milk, Nutella and fruit pieces. This mouth-watering combination is then consumed with a spoon.
Açaí can also be found in healthy living shops in powdered or dried form. Pure frozen açaí pulp is also common. People that buy pure açaí tend to use it for smoothies, natural juices or add them to recipes.
Açaí-flavored popsicles exist in Brazil as well, but these are typically artificially flavored.
If you ever find yourself in the North of Brazil or another region where açaí grows, you will have the opportunity to taste the fresh berries, but they taste nothing like the açaí cream served at ice cream shops, so you may be disappointed by the real thing.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Açaí
- Slows down aging
- Good for the heart and improves blood circulation
- Source of energy
- Boosts the immune system
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Helps with weight loss
- Helps prevent Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases
- Combats bad cholesterol
- Rich in fiber
- Improves menstrual cycle
1. Slows Down Aging
Who doesn't want to be young for longer?
Açaí is bursting with antioxidants, in particular, antitoxins, which help to slow down the aging of your skin. These antitoxins combat free radicals in our cells, which in turn helps to prevent the oxidation of the cells.
2. Good for the Heart and Improves Blood Circulation
Due to its rich antioxidant content, açaí is capable of preventing atherosclerosis and the hardening of veins. The substances found in açaí are also effective in controlling blood pressure and improving the overall blood circulation. Studies have been conducted by the European Atherosclerosis Society and they confirm these benefits.
3. Source of Energy
Consuming açaí can give you an extra energy boost since this fruit is rich in nutrients and has a high carbohydrate content. The human body can digest açaí fairly quickly, making it the perfect snack before a workout since it will provide you with energy without the "bloated full stomach" feeling that makes it uncomfortable to exercise.
4. Boosts the immune system
According to researchers from the University of Montana, açaí contains Arabinogalactan, which has been shown to stimulate the cells of the immune system and make them more efficient.
5. Reduces the risk of cancer
Açaí has been proven to be effective against cancer, in particular leukemia. This is all thanks to the antitoxins, large quantities of which are found in açaí.
6. Helps with weight loss
Even though it was previously mentioned that açaí has a high-calorie content, it can, in fact, be beneficial for those wishing to shed a few extra pounds. The reason for this is once again the antitoxins. These substances are able to regulate the proper functioning of fat cells. Açaí is also rich in fiber. This means that you will feel full sooner, without having to consume much.
However, if you're consuming açaí for weight loss purposes, you may want to consider cutting back on the sugary toppings. Instead, try eating your açaí with fresh fruits or in a smoothie.
7. Helps prevent Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases
It has been shown that consuming açaí regularly can boost your memory, focus and also reduce inflammation in your brain. This effect may be more visible in seniors that are already suffering from Alzheimer's or any kind of dementia.
The antioxidants are at work here combating the oxidative stress that is produced by free radicals and they also help to reduce the excessive accumulation of beta amyloids ( a protein)
8. Combats bad Cholesterol
The antitoxins and phytosterols present in açaí are responsible for this positive impact on the body. The antitoxins combat the oxidation of the bad cholesterol, which in turn prevents the formation of plaques in blood vessels. The phytosterols, on the other hand, compete with the cholesterol during the digestive process and thus reduce the absorption of the harmful molecules.
9. Rich in Fiber
There is 11.8 mg of fiber per 100-gram portion of açaí, which makes it an excellent source of this nutrient, just like all other fruits are.
This aspect makes açaí a very substantial food since just a small amount can make you feel full. Apart from fiber, açaí contains numerous other nutrients, which makes it a healthy substance to include in your diet if you're aiming to lose weight without it taking a negative toll on your health.
10. Improves Menstrual Cycle
Being a superfruit, açaí has a high content of mineral salts such as iron and phosphorus. It also contains a significant amount of calcium which reduces women's discomfort during the menstrual cycle. Calcium helps to prevent unpleasant sensations such as cramps and swelling.
In addition, açaí's high iron content helps to prevent anemia and also irritability and in some cases even arrhythmia.
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