In alternative health, acai is all the rage. While relatively new to the American consciousness, acai has been around for centuries and has helped many people with its healthful qualities. In order to benefit completely from acai, however, one must truly understand what it is and what it does.
What is acai?
Acai is a distinct purple berry indigenous to the Amazon rainforest. The acai fruit may be found in some of the large palm trees that grow in the thick forest; these trees can reach as high as 82 feet! Unlike cherries, which grow individually in trees, the acai berry grows in bunches, more like bananas. One average, each palm tree can yield anywhere from three to eight bunches.
What’s so great about acai?
You might say acai is fast becoming known as a wonder food for its versatility. Acai has nutrient properties and is naturally rich in:
* Omega fats (the good kind, unlike the saturated fats found in fast food)
* amino acids
* vitamins A, B1 and E
The people of the Amazon rainforest use acai in many different dishes – from drinks and shakes to breakfasts and bars. Brazilians use acai to flavor meat and fish entrees, too, topping dishes with a pulpy, curd-like substance made from the fruit.
Not only does acai provide a delicious taste to complement food, it is known around the Amazon for amazing health benefits. Acai is known to be used for treatment of digestive problems, skin irritation, sexual dysfunction, and even insomnia. The acai berry is naturally low in sugar, too.
Only in recent years have people in North America discovered how acai makes them feel energetic and healthy. Take a trip to your favorite smoothie place and you might find acai as one of the add-in ingredients available to you. Not only are consumers finding the benefits of acai to their interest, but researchers and the media are amazed by the power of this small berry. NBC’s Today did a feature story on acai in 2004, and more recently researchers at the University of Florida tested the attributes of acai to discover it actually destroyed cultured leukemia cells!
Will acai cure cancer? We can’t say for certain. All we know is that acai possesses some very strong health properties that may benefit people in the long run.
Can you eat the berries that make acai directly?
Strangely enough, no. It is not recommended that one just pluck the berries from the tree and start snacking. The berries are harvested and processed, and the acai is extracted from the pulp of the berry and sold in stores all over South America. It is said that beverages containing acai are more popular than milk in the southern hemisphere. That’s because South Americans know they are getting a pure, healthy drink that benefits their alertness and well-being, and it gets them through the day.
Where do you get acai?
Enter acai into Internet search and you are bound to find hundreds of online shops selling acai in various forms – drinks, powders, and capsules. This wonder supplement is in very high demand, but when you shop for acai it is important to know whether or not you are getting the purest extracts of acai available, directly from the Amazon Rainforest. Check the labels!
Does acai cause any side effects?
Current research indicates no known side effects to taking acai in any form. Though acai has been around for ages, it is still quite new to the United States, and no doubt is still being observed by health professionals. However, the testimony of the overall health of the Amazonian people speaks well for this little fruit with big potential.