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What is an acai berry? What's the big deal?

Updated on September 21, 2009

The Acai Berry

What is the Acai Berry?

The acai berry is one of the latest health food crazes,weight loss crazes, full of celebrity hype. But where does it come from? What's the big deal?

The Acai tree is a palm tree native to Central and South America. It is a fast growing tree cultivated for its fruits and for heart of palm. With the recent popularity of the Acai berry, trees are being grown and cultivated specifically for the production of the Acai berry.

The Acai berry is a fruit from the Acai palm tree. It is a small, dark purple fruit about 1 inch in diameter. These berries are harvested as food, and are very popular in Brazil. They are eaten on their own in a bowl with granola, or as a popular ice cream flavour, or juice.

Why is the acai berry a dietary supplement?

The Acai berry has recently been promoted as a dietary supplement, gaining specific interest in its touted weight loss claims. Weight loss is not the only claim made by those marketing the Acai berry. Other claimed benefits include improved digestion, sexual performance, detoxification, skin appearance, sleep, increased energy, and a reduction in cholesterol. Not to mention being high in fiber. Sounds like a wonder fruit, doesn't it?

Studies have not yet been able to prove any of these particular claims. The more reputable advice says when eating the berries fresh or frozen, you are more likely to get the benefits of the antioxidants from the berries. Many other deep colour berries are likely to have the same antioxidants in them as the Acai berry - only more readily available, and more importantly, available fresh.

Do the acai berries work? Is there some magic ingredient? Studies haven't proven they work. Nor is there conclusive evidence they don't work. Sometimes, I think it's fair to say, the placebo effect if more powerful than the product.


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    • brad4l profile image

      brad4l 8 years ago from USA

      I had never heard of Acai Berries before, but they sound very interesting. I am a big fan of fruit and try to eat a great deal of it, so I will have to see if any stores in my area sell acai berries. It would be neat to give them a try.