Acai Berry: A South American Superfood
If you’ve been searching for a food that offers numerous health benefits, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for the acai berry. Native to South America, the acai berry (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a grape-like fruit harvested from the acai palm tree. Acai berries taste like a blend of berries and chocolate and are widely known as a so-called superfood, with lovers of this fruit claiming that they are helpful for a variety of health concerns, including arthritis, cancer, weight loss, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, combating premature aging, helping to promote cardiovascular and digestive health, and improving general health.
What exactly does this little berry contain that makes it so special? Acai berries maybe a good source of antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats—the fatty acid content in acai resembles that of olive oil and is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid helps omega-3 fatty acids penetrate the cell membrane which makes cell membranes more supple. And supple membranes help hormones, insulin and neurotransmitter receptors function more efficiently in the body.
The juice and pulp of acai berries are used in a variety of ways: in juice blends, smoothies, sodas and other beverages. Acai can be consumed raw, in tablet form, or energy drinks, or in other food products such as jelly or ice cream.