If you look back over the many years humanity has been around we see that certain berries and herbs have been in out and of use. For periods of time some natural products have been seen as the cure for all and then, within a generation, any healing properties they do have are dismissed as “an old wives tale” and as such they are considered to be useless. Well, that is, until the next cycle comes around where their properties are rediscovered and any prejudice against them is immediately forgotten.
One such berry that is making it’s come back in to society is the acai berry. This is the latest in the growing ‘super foods’ bunch to be hitting our shelves. The acai berries are crammed full of the antioxidant anthocyanins as well as some vitamins and minerals. They also contain phytosterols and essential fatty acids. Because of these qualities the acai is widely acknowledged to have one of the highest nutritional values of any fruit, thus earning its super fruit status.
While all this may sound like a chemistry lesson it is clear that the acai berry can have some real health benefits. Perhaps the most well known of these are the cardiovascular benefits, as mentioned before acai berries are high in the antioxidant anthocyanins, which can help prevent blood clots as well as improve blood circulation, relax blood vessels, and prevent arthrosclerosis.
A whole range of anthocyanins have also been discovered including antiviral and antiallergenic properties. Some research even goes as far as to suggest that anthocyanins can help prevent cancer, due to their ability to block carcinogenesis on a molecular level and also by encouraging tumour cell death.
The essential fatty acids contained within acai berries are also a great benefit to our health, they have been shown to increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E, D and K, which are essential to good health. Research has even gone as far as suggesting that oleic acid (an essential fatty acid) may help to prevent against cancer and hypertension.
So it seems that acai berries, despite been ignored for a while might have quite a lot to offer the modern world.