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The Health Benefits of Acai Berries

Posted by Andrea Lewis on

Acai berries are not just sweet and juicy, they are rich in beautifying and medicinal nutrients. Research has shown that acai berries are beneficial to just about every part of the human body, and can even protect the cells themselves. Below, I’ve listed acai berries’ most noted health benefits.

Acai Berry Benefits

  • Promotes heart and arterial health
  • Protects against oxidative stress
  • Fights inflammation in the body
  • Good for skin health
  • Boosts immune system function
  • Anti-aging effect
  • Helps digestion
  • Improves blood glucose levels

Acai berries improves heart and arterial health in multiple ways. It helps prevent blood clots, as a natural blood thinner, relaxes blood vessels and improves circulation. And, of course, any food that is rich in anti-oxidants defends against oxidative stress and protects the heart and arteries. Acai berries are rich in multiple anti-oxidants.

Acai berries have not been evaluated by the US Food & Drug Association (FDA), so it’s blood thinning properties have not been proven (or disproved) to interact with prescription blood thinners, such as Warfarin. “However, there are at least three types of compounds in acai berries, such as flavonoids, salicylates and oleic acid, ...”1 But there’s no reason to believe that these natural substances will cause problems for those taking prescription blood thinners, if they consume a reasonable amount of acai berries. And I know of no anecdotal evidence to cause concern either.

Acai berries are rich in anthocyanins (flavonoids), which act as antioxidants and reduce blood cholesterol “by scavenging some of the harmful LDL cholesterol off of artery walls, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis [(hardening of arteries)], stroke, and heart attack.”2 The plant sterols in acai berries “act as vasodilators and relax blood vessels to reduce blood pressure, prevent blood clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks, and generally improve the circulation and oxygenation of the blood.”2

Research has also shown that the sterols found in acai berries, and other whole foods, “help control and regulate several aspects of the immune response. [They] appear to be capable of selectively enhancing the activity of beneficial immune cells while inhibiting the response of those that cause inflammation and chronic disease. Several published reports have illustrated these effects. One study showed sterol supplements boosted the production of disease-fighting T-cells by as much as 920 percent in healthy adults. Another widely touted study in patients with rheumatoid arthritis indicated that plant sterols and stanols have anti-inflammatory capabilities similar to that of the steroid drug cortisone—but with none of its negative effects.”3

The anti-oxidants contained in acai berries are also responsible for its skin improving benefits and anti-aging effect as well. “Acai oil is frequently used in modern cosmetic products because the antioxidants in the oil can relieve irritation and redness and moisturize the skin. Also, if acai berries are ingested, they can give the skin a healthy, attractive glow. In fact, in indigenous populations of Brazil, the pulp of the acai berry has been used for generations to treat or reduce a number of skin conditions and diseases. … [In addition], antioxidants remove the free radicals that cause the breakdown of skin, hair, teeth, and eye health that is so often associated with premature aging.”2

Acai berries also have a strong detoxifying effect on the body. In fact, several health food companies are now cashing in on the research studies by selling internal cleansing products that contain the fruit. Acai berries’ fiber content and other nutrients help to improve the digestive system on two levels: aiding in the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, while also adding bulk to the stool and making the excretory process more frequent and decreasing the chances of constipation. That last part is especially important, as it helps keep the body free of natural waste products.

A study published in the Nutrition Journal (May 2012) showed that “taking acai for 30 days resulted in reductions in fasting glucose, insulin and total cholesterol. The authors concluded that these positive results warrant further investigation.”4 The researchers used supplemental acai berries and not fresh, but still, it demonstrated that acai berries may be a good food choice for those who are struggling to keep their blood glucose levels in the normal range. Maybe.

At this point it should be obvious that acai berries are a super healthy fruit that can improve one’s body, inside and out. And the benefits I have listed above are only the most noted, there are several more. It’s even been suggested that acai berries can help to prevent mental imbalance in menopausal women, but more research is needed to be certain. The only caution I would offer regarding acai berries is to avoid the supplements IF you have a history of gastrointestinal issues.

Although negative reactions to the supplement have been limited, it’s still a possibility. “Taking acai berry supplements may cause mild gastrointestinal side effects such as bloating, gas, nausea, constipation or loose stool, according to the ‘Natural Standard Herb & Supplement Guide’ book. This doesn't mean you will experience these side effects; if you do, they may go away as your body adjusts.”4 FYI, there have been no such reports regarding fresh acai berries.

Guest blog by holistic writer Andrea Lewis. 

1 Dubois, Sirah. “Is Acai Berry Safe While on Blood Thinners?” Livestrong, August 26, 2015. Web. May 2016

2 “Health Benefits of Acai Berries”. Organic Facts, n.d. Web. May 2016

3 Whitaker, Julian, MD. “Benefits of Plant Sterols and Stanols”. May 18, 2015. Web. May 2016

4 Froek, Barbara. “The Side Effects of Acai Berry Pills”. Livestrong, May 28, 2015. Web. May 2016

Group, Edward, DC, NP, DACBN, DABFM. “12 Health Benefits of Acai Berries”. Global Healing Center, October 5, 2015. Web. 2016

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