Acai: the fruit, the myth, the legend
Acai is stated to be a treatment for a ton of different health issues such as arthritis, cancer, weight loss, diabetes, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, detoxification, and overall general health and well-being. There are tons of products out there that have acai in them and have claims of restoring your health in a plethora of different ways.
Acai is a berry similar to a grape, it is round, small, dark purple in color, that is grown on acai palm trees, primarily found in Central and South America. The acai berry can be found in many different forms in stores in the US; raw, tablets (supplements), added to beverages (smoothies, juices, energy drinks), and foods (jellies, ice creams, etc.) They are a source of antioxidants, have a decent percentage of fiber present in them.
|Acai Palm grove|
The problem? There are basically NO studies that show any of the health benefits that all of these companies are claiming about the acai berry, none of these products have been FDA approved, and you really don't know that you are even getting any acai in any of the supplements that you are ingesting. There was one study that showed that acai berries have less antioxidants than blueberries, concord grapes, and black cherries but more than oranges, cranberries, and apple juice; sort of a mid-level antioxidant amount. It has low amounts of vitamin A, Iron, and calcium, and basically no vitamin C present.
If you like the flavor of acai berries, then go for it and eat them as you would any other fruit that you find delicious. Should you change your world and diet because of them? No. They really have no more health benefits than any other fruit, and you would be better off in all honesty eating the fruits with high antioxidant amounts that are less expensive and more common (blueberries, concord grapes, and black cherries.) If you want to drink your antioxidants, red wine and pomegranate juice have more....depending on if you want an adult beverage or not!
Sorry to ruin the idea that the acai berry is this amazing fruit that will change your life and make all of your health ailments go away, but the research just isn't there to support it! So, stick with what you know and I will be on the search for the fruit that will fix everything!!
Yours in Good Health