10 March 2010

ACAI: The New Superfood

The nutrition world has found a new fruit to rave about: ACAI (pronounced: ah-sigh-ee). It's a fruit the grows on the Acai Palm tree in the Amazon Rain Forest. It's smaller than a grape and dark purple in color. 90% of the Acai berry is seed that no one eats. It's tasty with a mild chocolate after taste.

Often called "The Tree of Life", Brazilian natives use the berry for energy and traditional healing by a medicine man. Although they are not high in fat, Acai has the same beneficial fatty acids that are found in the Mediterranean Diet. Greenpeace says that the manner in which Acai is grown can be part of the solution to saving the Amazon Rain Forest.

Acai is a very perishable fruit and spoils within 24 hours after being picked from the palm tree. It can be bought as frozen pulp (used in smoothies) and be dehydrated into powder or freeze dried. It can be put into capsules in a concentrated form.If you're considering purchasing it, look for USDA organic Certified Acai which lets you know that it has been produced, processed and certified to meet national organic guidelines to give the most benefit. Non-organic products may contain harmful pesticides and toxins. When purchasing Acai juice, look for ones that have no added sugar as that will reduce it's anti-inflammatory benefits.It should be preservative free as often added preservatives will cancel out the health benefits. Always purchase the juice in a glass bottle. Authentic Acai juice is thick; no water should be added. Acai juice should contain at least 3000 ORACs (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) per ounce.

There are many health benefits from ACAI including:

*boosting energy levels
*improving digestion
*promoting sound sleep
*strengthening the immune system
*fighting cancerous cells
*supporting weight loss
*improving circulation
*minimizing inflammation