The Science Behind the Snake Oil Hype of Acai Berry
April 7, 2009
If you’ve seen any of the adds on Facebook or Google for the acai berry you probably think it is the latest version A snake oil. I would too if I didn’t know so much about the acai berry already. The real reason there is so much marketing
hype and the real reason it seems like a fake fad is because, even though it is not a miracle berry and will not cure all that ails you, it is an extremely powerful source of antioxidants and one of the
most nutritious fruits on this planet.
Why are antioxidants such a big friggin’ deal? To name a few, antioxidants help maintain good cholesterol (HDL) and therefore they fight heart disease. Essential fatty acids and antioxidants in the acai berry help
fight bad cholesterol (LDL) while at the same time maintaining the good. This helps fight heart disease. Essential fatty acids also help in the absorbency of necessary vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K.
The acai berry can also improve your vision in a roundabout way. It contains a kind of antioxidant called
anthocyanins, which are known to improve vision. During World War II, British pilots ate large amounts of bilberry (which also contains anthocyanins) as they said it improved their night vision.
Also, even though the acai berry is red it is a way for you to go green and support the Rainforest. Before the recent demand for acai berries,
local farmers used to harvest the entire acai tree for palm hearts to use in fancy salads. Luckily, now that the acai berry is becoming more sought after, the natives are paid more to harvest acai berries. This means that Brazilains now want to protect the trees instead of cutting them down.
In addition, the acai berry contains amino acids that relax your muscles and allow for better, more restful sleep. It also contains Vitamin B which
helps to regulate the dopamine and serotonin production in the brain. These are both
neurotransmitters that improve sleep,
To Brazilians, the acai berry is
Locally known as an effective anti-bacterial and anti-viral
agent. To us this means it helps our body fight diseases and boosts our immune system. This is due to the Amazon having some of the richest soil in the world.
So it is no surprise that the acai berry is packed with natural minerals and nutrients that bolster immunity.
Brazilians are some of the most active people in the world. It is not surprising that their high energy and stamina might be connected their diet which is chock full of acai. They also mix it with Guarana, a food derivative found naturally in Brazil that is a potent stimulant, so much so that it is not approved by the FDA, even though it is found in nature.
The internet is full of false claims about acai being a fat burner. Musch of this is based on the truth that this berry’s natural combination of antioxidants, essential
fatty acids, amino acids, phytosterols, and amino acids DO work together in a potent way. This helps your body function better, process food easier,
and burn fat more efficiently.
I chuckled to read about Matt Laurer’s recent trip to the Amazon. He was amused to find that the acai drink he had just finished is referred to as Amazon Rainforest Viagra! Locals swear acai has libido enhancing qualities. Combine those qualities with
the increase in energy, stamina, and better overall body
function and it’s understandable why the acai berry is compared to that Viagra.
There has also been some recent scientific studies on the cellular level (meaning not in the human body, so reaction to this is cautious but still). These studies suggest that the acai berry may fight cancer cells by causing them to self destruct. More studies in the human body are being done right now.
To me, the most exciting benefit of regularly drinking acai juice is it’s effect on the aging process. Free radicals, which are on-the-loose molecules that attack the healthy cells in your body and damage your DNA. Free radicals are the culprits of many age related issues
such as inflammation, cancer, arthritis, , atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s. The antioxidants that I mentioned early are the cellular heroes that come in and stabilize free radicals and the acai berry is absolutely loaded with antioxidants. If you are familiar with the ORAC scale which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, this is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities of different foods. The acai berry is off the charts with an ORAC rating higher than blueberries, the former queen of antioxidants.