Sunday, January 4, 2009

Medicinal Benefits of the Acai Berry

Posted by Neill Abayon

A little known berry from the jungles of the Amazon may be the cure-all for many ailments. The amazon jungles stretch over more than 1 billion acres and includes a wealth of plants and fruits that may have medical benefits. The acai berry comes from the Amazon region, native only to Central and South America. Over the last two decades, this small purple berry has caused a sensation in the scientific and medical worlds. Learn about some of the medicinal and culinary uses of this little known miracle berry called the acai.

The acai berry grows on tall palms located in the rain forest. The bunches of dark purple fruits dangle like grapes on a vine until they are ready to be harvested. Each year, the acai berry is harvested only two times. Because the fruit begins to break down immediately upon harvesting it is nearly impossible to store and ship. Regions local to the Amazon may receive over night shipments when the fruit is picked but places like the United States and Canada never get a chance at the fresh fruits. Luckily the fruits are widely used in sports bars, nutritional supplements, desserts, beverages, and in other various forms.

Although the acai berry looks similar to a grape, it is generally much larger. The acai berry is about 1 inch around and most of the fruit is actually seed. Very little fruit is extracted from each berry because it has such a large seed. The taste of the acai is very unique and it is nothing like a grape, but more like a berry. The acai has a very identifiable rich taste, kind of like a mix of dark berries. In the native countries the berries may be served as a drink or as a custard/pudding like dish. Unfortunately, the acai palm has not been successfully introduced to the rest of the world as it prefers a specific climate.

Not only does the acai taste good, but it may be good for your health! Recent studies of the acai berry has indicated it may be the solution to a number of health and aging related problems. The acai berry is high in healthy fats, rich in protein, and is a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. In the Amazon region, the acai berry is one of the most nutritious foods available and is a large part of the natives diet. In Central and South America the acai berry has been used to cure infection, boost energy, calm inflammation, and to boost immune health among many uses.

The acai berry may also be able to help control blood sugar, cholesterol, arthritis, and prostate problems. Because acai acts similar to an antibiotic it may also help the body heal, rid it self of infection and/or disease, and could even help with weight loss. Juices and health drinks made with the acai berry have recently been introduced to the United States. When traditional medicine and alternatives fail, those suffering from a range of ailments are now trying acai juice and achieving real results. According to Sound Concepts ( it has been reported that acai juice has helped reduce and/or eliminate fatigue, arthritis, rare disease, and has increased energy, range of motion, and flexibility for those people drinking the juice daily.

The acai berry has properties so wonderful it has been discussed on shows airing on CBS, NBC, and ABC. Because the acai berry is relatively new to the United States, few studies of the actual benefits have been conducted. But, there are plenty of studies indicating the acai berry is one of the best sources for complete nutrition. The acai berry may also help lower bad cholesterol levels, help curb insomnia, promote immune health, and boost libido.

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