berry of the acai

Acai berry courtesy of

The latest fashion in dieting and nutritional health centers around the acai berry. Like most diet fads, this one is advertised as a miracle cure. To sort some facts from fiction on this emotional subject, here are a few basic facts to learn about the acai berry.

FIND OUT WHAT THE ACAI BERRY IS BEFORE DECIDING WHETHER YOU WANT TO USE IT OR NOT. The acai berry is actually the drupe (commonly called 'berry') of the Uterpe oleracea, a palm tree that grows along the Amazon river in Brazil. It is also found in wet areas throughout Central and South America. Traditionally, locals used these berries a a basic food staple and to treat skin conditions and digestive disorders. The fruits of this palm tree are highly perishable, but in the past 4 years or so they have been freeze-dried, powdered and packaged for wider reaching sales all over the world.Keep in mind that there have been a limited number of research trials conducted on the acai berry, so though it has been used for generations in its natural growth areas, no truly conclusive proofs have been verified about the miracle powers of this berry for cleansing, detox or weight loss.

STUDY THE RESEARCH ABOUT WEIGHT-LOSS. Although there is little research to back the weight-reduction successes being touted commercially, many people claim to have happily lost a lot of weight. Most vendors claim the success depends on the quality of the product and that their own brand, of course, is superior. Some people who have used acai for weight loss feel different brands gave different results. Some experts say increasing fruit and vegetables will help loose weight anyway, or that drinking the liquids involved with some acai mixtures will reduce hunger and increase water intake -- both assets to loosing weight. These individuals are not convinced those who have lost weight have done so exclusively due to the acai berry. In short, the jury is still out!

CONSIDER THE ACTUAL FACTS THAT HAVE BEEN PROVEN. Several things have been substantiated about the value of the acai berry. There was a recent study on leukemia that came out in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showing extracts from acai (ah-SAH'-ee) berries triggered a self-destruct response in up to 86 percent of leukemia cells. In more studies, the acai berry came in lower in antioxidants when compared to juices of pomegranate, grape and blueberry juices, but higher than apple, orange juice or tea. It was also rated 15 - 20 times higher in antioxidants than the red grape. So, it IS rich in beneficial anti-oxidants as well as essential oils and fats.

Additionally, acai berry, which tastes like a cross between chocolate and blueberry, has been used as a food and a flavoring for centuries and doesn't seem to have any dangers or negative impacts on health. It also has a flavor most people love, so consuming it seems to have no discernible down-side.

LOOK FOR HOW THOSE FACTS WILL APPLY TO YOUR OWN EXPECTATIONS. There are a number of researched tests that have proved the acai berry as being nutritious and healthy with good vitamins, anti-oxidents, and other benefits. The question of weight-loss is a little more difficult to prove as most of the 'test results' and 'research claims' come from companies or individuals who have products or something they can gain by the publicity. This does not mean acai is not a good product to help in weight-loss. It simply means you will have to decide for yourself. There are some research programs, however, that are reporting hopeful preliminary results in the treatment of cancer, particularly leukemia. So it looks like this little berry will stay valuable whether it helps you loose weight or not!