Healthy Beginnings

Acai Berry:

Forget the Purple Pill… Take the Purple Berry!

This amazing Amazon super fruit comes from a palm tree that Brazilians call “the Tree of Life.” Acai, (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is being praised for its health improving and healing qualities by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Wynonna Judd, James Taylor and NBC’s “Today Show”.

Why is this small, round fruit attracting so much attention? The reason is because the antioxidants (free radical fighters) in acai berries are uniquely powerful. Research shows that their dark, purple skin contains almost twice the antioxidant strength of pomegranates, more than five times that of blueberries and 50 times as much as mangoes. The Acai berry offers a powerful 3 pronged attack against free radicals and the damage they cause:

1. They prevent free radicals from forming in the body.

2. They scavenge existing free radicals before they can damage the body.

3. They repair or replace molecules damaged by free radicals.

The Acai contains several nutrients known for their immune-supporting characteristics, including the tried and proven beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, vitamins C and E, magnesium, zinc, selenium, lysine, polyphenolic flavonoids, anthocyanins and other anti-oxidants. These immune boosters sustain organs and glands such as; thymus, spleen, liver and lymph nodes, plus bone marrow, that are vital in supporting the immune system.

A single serving of acai berries can provide over 30 times the amount of health-boosting anthocyanins as red wine and all the beneficial fatty acids of olive oil, without the health diminishing factors of alcohol, fat and sugar found in the wine or oil.

Studies show that anthocyanins enhance blood circulation, relax blood vessels, and promote normal clotting. They help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels and even boost your memory, mood, libido and sexual performance.

Acai berries are extremely high in essential fatty acids and the omegas. Essential fatty acids have been shown to relieve joint stiffness, boost immune function and promote healthy cholesterol levels. Linoleic (omega 6) and oleic (omega 9) are monounsaturated essential fatty acids which help to lower LDL (harmful cholesterol) while maintaining HDL (beneficial cholesterol). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says oleic acid, the main component in olive oil, can slash serious health risks. And, in a study published in the medical journal, Annals of Oncology, oleic acid was shown to have a protective effect on breast health. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for healthy nervous system development and regeneration, maintaining cardiovascular health and hormone balance. These EFA’s can also help rapidly repair and rejuvenate muscles after intense exercise (if you are into that sort of thing).

Acai and ORAC

ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. ORAC is a lab assay that can measure the antioxidant activity of any substance and give it a number. The higher the ORAC number – the stronger the antioxidant properties of the substance.

The USDA recommends we consume 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units daily. In truth, 80% of the population is consuming less than 1,000 ORAC units a day. The USDA recommended an ORAC score of about 1,750 units. Fruits and vegetables tend to have the highest ORAC values. Apples score a 218, Bananas a 221 and blueberries 2,400. What about the Acai berry? Acai has an amazing 3871 ORAC score per 1000 mg.

Other Benefits Of Acai Berries:

For men, there is life beyond BHP (benign hypertrophic prostate or swelling of the prostate). The acai comes from the same family as the saw palmetto berry and also contains high amounts of phytosterols, the powerful plant compound shown to promote prostate health. Multiple studies suggest phytosterols can reduce frequent and painful urination, ease prostate swelling and support long-term prostate health.

Want to feel good and breathe deep? Acai berry also contains theobromine, a natural mood enhancer and bronchial dilator. It may help to relieve the symptoms of asthma and/or allergies without using harmful stimulants and suffering their side affects.

Tired of hormone enhanced milk products? Surprisingly, acai berries contain more useable calcium than milk. Plus they supply other crucial minerals like chromium (for sugar balance), manganese, and boron, making them especially good for your bones and teeth.

Considering the proven research and anecdotal claims for its healing qualities and for improving health, it’s no wonder people have sworn by acai’s revitalizing, energizing properties.

Reference:

Breakthroughs in Health: Acai. November 2006, volume 1, issue 4.

For more information, contact Kurt Grange, Ph.D., N.D., Nutritional Biophysiologist at Circle of Life Spa, 775-825-7727 doctorgrange@aol.com.