Let me guess – the acai berry is probably the exotic fruit you’ve heard of most, even though you probably haven’t seen one in its raw form. Of course you know of all the hype that acai berries have – acai berry diets, weight loss, acai berry supplements, acai cleansing, acai berry tea… when will it ever end? But, does the acai berry really deserve all its hype? Possibly – the acai berry does boast a plethora of helpful nutrients along with scientifically proven health benefits, but it isn’t that much better than some other exotic fruits in terms of weight loss and health benefits.
But what exactly is the acai berry? Well, the actual name in Portuguese is “açaí,” pronounced [a,sa’i]. It is a berry that grows on a type of palm tree known as the acai palm. Acai berries are native to Central and South America, mostly growing in an area from southern Central America down to northern South America, in nations such as Brazil and Peru. Acai palms mostly grow in wet, humid areas, such as swamps, floodplains, and rainforests.
What does the acai berry actually look like? Chances are you’ve never seen one in its raw, fresh, state. This is because, compared to other fruits, they rot very quickly. A fresh acai berry looks like a grape, but is a bit smaller. It has less pulp and it grows in clumps of up to a thousand berries!
The acai berry plays in important role in the culture and diet of many Brazilian ethnic groups. In fact, the acai berry was named as one of the most important plants to many indigenous ethnic groups in Brazil – in fact, for some, the acai berry was almost half of their diet!
As a health supplement
Nowadays, the acai is marketed in the Western world for its weight loss and health benefits. Most of these health products are acai drinks and extracts. Some may think acai is over-hyped, but there is some truth to the claims that marketers make. Let’s take the health benefits that the acai provides.
Health and nutritional benefits
In the years around 2004, the acai became very popular in the United States because of promotion by celebrities. However, these claims made by celebrities and marketers were backed by very little scientific evidence.
Now, with more scientific evidence, acai has been shown to be quite good in terms of nutritional content, though several other exotic fruits do beat it. In fact, it is important to note that the acai berry does provide some great health benefits. The acai berry provides a very plentiful supply of polyphenols and antioxidants, and comes with a ton of other nutrients.
Since it is almost impossible to get fresh acai in Western markets, try purchasing online: Navitas Naturals Organic Freeze Dried Acai Powder Amazon Superfruit, 8-Ounce Pouch