Acai: what it is, health benefits and how to prepare (with recipes)

Acai, also known as juçara, assai or açai-do-para, is a fruit that grows on palm trees in the Amazon region of South America, currently being considered a superfood because it is a caloric source, rich in antioxidants and nutrients with anti-power -inflammatory. This fruit is similar to the purple-colored grape and the scientific name is  Euterpe oleracea.

Açaí is rich in prolifenols, main, anthocyanins, and some studies indicate that it has a greater amount of these antioxidants than in blackberries and blueberries, so frequent consumption of açaí in conjunction with a balanced diet can provide several health benefits, how to prevent premature aging and strengthen the immune system.

This fruit is used to make drinks, jellies, sweets, and ice cream, and can be purchased in the form of fruit, frozen pulp or nutritional supplement in supermarkets or health food stores or online stores.

Health benefits

The consumption of açaí can bring health benefits, being able to:

  1. Prevent premature aging,  due to its antioxidant properties and vitamin E, which are able to protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals, preventing premature aging. In addition, it helps to maintain the health of hair and skin, preventing the formation of wrinkles;
  2. Strengthening the immune system,  as it is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-9 and anticytokines, açaí manages to improve the immune system, increasing the body’s defense cells and improving the healing process;
  3. Improve heart health,  because of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, and because it is rich in monounsaturated fats like omega-9, açaí helps to balance circulating cholesterol levels, preventing atherosclerosis, for example, in addition to preventing the formation of clots and promote the relaxation of vessels, improving circulation and blood pressure. However, in this respect, more scientific studies are needed to prove this benefit, since the results are not so conclusive;
  4. Improve the functioning of the intestine,  as it is a fruit rich in fiber. The consumption of açaí promotes an increase in the volume of feces and stimulates the intestine, being excellent for people suffering from constipation, known as constipation;
  5. Protect against some types of cancer because it is rich in prolifenols, which are compounds that protect body cells and prevent oxidative stress, and by preventing the proliferation of tumor cells in the case of leukemia, colon adenocarcionoma and stomach cancer, according to a study scientific;
  6. Provide energy to the body, because açaí is a fruit rich in fats, carbohydrates and proteins, which are sources of energy for the body and make this fruit a caloric food that helps fight fatigue and muscle exhaustion;
  7. Reduce inflammation and improve fatty liver: a study in animals suggested that the consumption of açaí could mitigate the development of fatty liver, as it is rich in anthocyanins, which help to regulate fat metabolism; 
  8. Fight anemia, as it is rich in iron and can be consumed by people suffering from anemia;
  9. Promote protective effects against pulmonary emphysema, which is a disease caused by chronic exposure to cigarette smoke and this is because açaí has ​​anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action;
  10. Avoid neurodegenerative diseases , such as Alzheimer’s, due to its antioxidant content, helping to attenuate inflammatory processes in the brain. Some animal studies also indicate that the use of açaí can help improve memory and learning.

The Acai used correctly can also be used to help with weight loss, however, its consumption must be made in small amounts, together with a balanced diet and associated with the practice of regular physical activity.

How to prepare açaí

To prepare açaí in a healthy way, you can beat 100 g of natural açaí pulp, 1 glass of water and a little honey in the blender. Then you can also add granola, oats, roasted almonds or other fruits.

Powdered açaí can be found in some health food stores and online , and can be used to complement a fruit smoothie, in porridge or to add ice cream or natural yogurt with honey, for example.

The consumption of açaí fruit directly from the tree should be avoided, as there is a risk of contracting diseases, such as Chagas disease. Açaí has ​​a very bitter taste and the pure pulp is very difficult to consume, so many people tend to mix it with other products such as condensed milk, powdered milk, chocolate, currant, among others, making the açaí be more caloric and less healthy.

For this reason, it is important to see the nutritional composition of the açaí pulp to check what the ingredients are, since the ideal is that it does not contain other mixed products, such as guarana syrup or other sugars, as this doubles the açaí calories. . See what is the nutritional composition of açaí.

Acai fattening?

Side effects related to the consumption of açaí are not described, however, as it has many calories and fat, excessive consumption of açaí can put on weight. Thus, açaí should be avoided by those who are overweight or obese, this being the only contraindication for fruit consumption.

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