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Acai Berries

There are certain foods that behave similar to medicine and can help maintain health or even heal certain conditions.  Berries have many health-promoting nutrients such as heart-healthy fats, anti-oxidants and fiber.  Berries refer to blueberries, raspberries and blackberries but there are many other kinds of berries that contain phytochemicals like cranberries, cherries, and strawberries.  Another berry- the acai berry- was unknown to areas outside of South and Central America up until 10 years ago.

Kathleen Berry-Hebert

Acai berries are native to South and Central America.  Amazonian people have been eating acai berries for centuries.  These particular berries are low in sugar and acid, meaning they are very susceptible to oxidation.  This makes transportation of acai berries fairly difficult hence why they have only recently been discovered by North American food suppliers.

While it would not be accurate to make grand claims about the effects of acai berries, some studies have shown that the berries can be beneficial for oxidative stress, certain cancers, and metabolic disorders.  A known benefit of the berries is there inherent anti-oxidant value. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC score) is the highest of any fruit or vegetable.

Acai berries have become a critical ingredient in many products even in topical and cosmetic products in addition to foods.  If the berries are not processed immediately, they will oxidize and lose their anti-oxidant value.  Because of this, the berries are usually processed before exported.  While acai berries contain many health benefits, they are usually added to foods that already have a high amount of sugar.  When looking for foods that contain acai, be sure to analyze the other ingredients to make sure they are not overloaded in sugar.

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