Acai Health Benefits, Side Effects

Euterpe oleraceae or the Acai tree can be found growing in the wet, rainy and tropical regions of South America. It produces a grape-like acai berry fruit. Acai berry and acai juice can be consumed for the maintenance of general health. It has also been used to treat various medical conditions in traditional South American medicine. A number of fruit-based supplements use acai berry as a main ingredient.

Gourmet and health food stores supply acai berry in various forms such as acai juice, powder, fresh fruits and capsules. The usual dosage of acai berry consumption is around 1000mg one or two times a day. Acai berry or acai juice has no known side effects. However, individuals who are allergic to palm plants ingredients should intake it, only after consulting with a doctor. Since acai juice has antioxidant qualities, patients undergoing chemotherapy should avoid its consumption.

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History of Acai

Most of the world population has only just come to know about the benefits of acai berry and its nutritional contents. The fruit rapidly gained in popularity when it was featured in the Oprah Winfrey show. A number of studies and research activities have be conducted to understand the uses of acai berry and its benefits. Most dieticians and nutritionists call it the next ‘superfood’ due to its body cleansing and antioxidant abilities.

The Acai berries natively grow in the rainforests of South America and are comparable to the size of a blueberry. July to December is the harvest season for the berries when they ripen from green to a shade of purple. In South America, people make acai juice out of the berries. In the United States, acai berry is either available as a fresh fruit or is used to manufacture various forms of dietary supplements such as food additives, capsules, juices, tablets, etc.

Health benefits of Acai

  • Acai juice has potent antioxidant abilities and hence can clean the free radicals from the body. Free radicals are the byproducts of the metabolic process and can cause harm to cell membranes and DNA
  • Certain studies suggest that acai berries and its supplements can be used in the treatment of many disorders such as leukemia, diabetes, dysmenorrheal and anemia. Acai roots have been traditionally used to treat illnesses such as malaria, jaundice and hepatitis. Its consumption can also prevent strokes, allergies and diarrhea.
    • One of the products of acai berry is acai berry cleanse, which is strengthened with Vitamin B12. Its intake can increase the energy levels. Also, the antioxidant properties of acai berries are used by this product to facilitate the elimination of waste and detoxification of the body. Such process will eventually end up in curbing cardiac diseases and cancers, and delaying the aging of individuals.
    • Other uses of acai juice are correction of erectile dysfunctions and improvement of cholesterol levels.
    • The actions of enzymes called cyclooxygenases are inhibited by acai berry consumption, thereby facilitating treatment of inflammatory autoimmune disorders.

Side effects of Acai

  • Expectant or breastfeeding mothers, patients undergoing chemotherapy and individuals with kidney and liver problems should consult a physician before acai juice intake.
  • Increased consumption of acai berries can lead to stomach abnormalities and gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea.

Acai – Nutritional information

Acai juice of serving size 1 oz has the following nutritional content:

  • Calories: 18.8
  • Total Fat: 0.5 g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.0 g
    • Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
    • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.0 g
    • Sodium: 1.3 mg
    • Cholesterol:       0.0 mg
    • Total Carbohydrate: 3.9 g
    • Sugars: 3.1 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
    • Protein: 0.1 g
    • Vitamin C: 0.8 %
    • Vitamin A: 1.3 %
    • Calcium: 0.3 %
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