[dropcap]A[/dropcap]cai berries are a Brazilian ‘superfruit’. They are native to the Amazon region, where they are a staple food. However, they have recently gained popularity globally and are praised for being particularly beneficial to health and wellbeing. This dark, purple fruit certainly packs in a lot of nutrition and it has a host of health benefits.
Acai berries have a unique nutritional profile for a fruit as they are somewhat high in fat and low in sugar. About 100 grams of frozen fruit pulp have only 70 calories and 2 grams sugar, but 6.5 grams of fat. Acai berries also contain some other trace minerals, including chromium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
Loaded with antioxidants
Antioxidants are important because they neutralise the damaging effects of free radicals throughout the body. If free radicals are not neutralised by antioxidants, they can damage cells and lead to a number of diseases, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Acai berries have an incredibly high amount of antioxidants, edging out other antioxidant-rich fruits, such as blueberries and cranberries.
Improve cholesterol levels
Studies have suggested that acai could help improve cholesterol levels by decreasing total and LDL cholesterol. A 2011 study had 10 overweight adults eat acai smoothies twice daily for one month. Overall, they had a lower total and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol count at the end of the study. While more research is needed, it is possible that the anthocyanins in acai could be responsible for their positive impact on cholesterol levels.