Berries and chocolate. Generally a great combination, right? What if there was a berry that had a cocoa flavor in it? Well as nature would have it, there is. This extraordinarily nutritious berry is called the acai berry (pronounced a-sigh-ee). While it doesn’t exactly taste like pure chocolate, the bitterness of cacao is incorporated into acai’s intense flavor. The flavor is actually hard to pinpoint as some of its juices have been compared to bitter raspberries while others claim acai produces a salty aftertaste (like say, olives.) Ok, I’m the one that said that. But the flavor is not the only thing that makes acai so unique.
From the rainforests of the Amazons, acai berries have been consumed by Brazilians for centuries. But recently, more and more of these grape-sized berries are falling from the South American palm trees into juice bottles around the world.
Labeled the antioxidant superfood, it’s known for its substantially large amounts of antioxidants and nutritional value. Acai has double the cancer-fighting power of blueberries, the formerly known antioxidant contest frontrunner. Consumption of the berry not only helps prevent and attack cancerous cells, but it is said to boost energy and overall immunity as well. Actually, the list of supposed and even validated benefits is virtually endless from improved digestion to better circulation, and even better sleep. It is based on these extraordinary characteristics that acai has been referred to as the most healthful fruit in the world.
But, if you’re a juice producer looking for a new venture, many juice and smoothie producers have already jumped the gun on capitalizing on the healthful fruit. While the trend is still fairly recent, grocery store shelves are already well stocked with the likes of organic acai juices, yogurt drinks, smoothies, and even teas.
And the bottles of these products make many a pretty promise. I’m actually drinking an “Organic Acai Antioxidant Superfood Smoothie” right now that claims it’s sufficient for a meal replacement. Is that true? Well, it sure seems to satisfy my nutritional needs as the Nutrition Facts label shows sufficient amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fat, potassium and even omega-3 fatty acids! And…actually it’s the only thing I’ve eaten today so far and I don’t think I’m hungry! Maybe this stuff really does work (Don’t try this at home though folks, acai shouldn’t be the only thing you eat all day.)
Acai has also shown promises of preventing heart disease, as it has 10-30 times the amount of cardiovascular-fighting phytochemical called anthocyanin found in red wine. You may have heard of these phytochemicals from the French Paradox that enumerates the oddity of heart disease’s rare occurrence in France despite their high fat intake. The concept bears the phytochemicals in the red wine responsible for their continued health.
With all these benefits filling the air, the fruit sounds perfect right? Well I’m not here to tell you that it isn’t, but I am here to tell you to be cautious about how much acai you consume. There is such a thing as an antioxidant overdose that has adverse effects such as weakness, fever and toxicity. So, with a fruit so jam-packed with antioxidants, one must be careful.
Experts suggest discussing with your doctor what your optimal dosage of antioxidants is.
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