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Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

The Health Benefits of Acai Berries

Acai Berry Helps for High Blood Pressure and Weight Loss

Acai Palm Tree The acai berry is growing in south America for many centuries. The amazing health benefits of the Acai berry started to get introduced to the western world during the late 90's and it took until 2005 until the Acai berries got introduced to a broad audience by Oprah Winfrey.

The Acai berry, pronounced "ah-sigh-ee". It is believed that the tribes of the Amazon in Brazil have used the benefits of this superfood for centuries already. The Amazon is the world's largest rain forest and one third of the population's plants and animals reside there. Here, in this remote region of the world, is where the acai berry has been discovered. The Amazon river has borders to eight different countries and supplies one fifth of the worlds freshwater.

The reason acai is so revered is because of its health promoting properties and high content of antioxidants. When eaten in proper quantities it provides our bodies with enough nutrition to help fight off the harmful effects of free radicals, it lowers high blood pressure, Acai berries decrease high cholesterol levels and helps to reduce joint pain. The Acai berry is also known to be very helpful for weight loss. Acai is also a marvelous source of energy for the human body. It helps to fight off infections, and strengthens the bodies immune system. Modern science is continually documenting the amazing health benefits of the acai berry. Today, the Acai berry has been recognized as one of the worlds top superfoods.

Acai is full of essential phytonutrients, trace minerals, amino acids, and vitamins. It boasts an ORAC score, a newly invented measurement of antioxidant levels, higher than any other fruit and vegetable tested to date on a gram for gram basis. It is rich in proteins and fiber content which aides in a healthy immune system and regulation of the body. Acai comes in a broad variety of foods such as freeze dried, which is the best way to preserve antioxidants, in fruit juices, pills and snack bars. There are many different companies that produce products that contain the acai berry. Companies such as Monavie, Xango, and Goji are top producers of health juice industry.

Research shows that certain acai products provide better nutritional value than others which comes at a higher cost. It's important to differentiate the true nutritional products from the cheap imitations. Science has shown today that freeze drying acai is the best way to capture the vital nutrients in this fruit. Some of the top products have plant-derived glucosamine, which has been scientifically shown to aide in healthy joint function. Some also have added heart health benefits originating from plant sterols, resveratol, and omega 3 fatty acids which makes maintaining healthy cholesterol levels easier.

The amazing health benefits of the Acai berry make it one of the worlds top superfoods.

Photo by: Agência de Notícias do Acre

Good News! Acai Berries on the Oprah Winfrey Show

Meanwhile we all have heard about the Acai Berry, the superfood and wonder food for weight loss. Acai Berries on the Oprah Winfrey ShowThe Acai berry was probably the first Superfood to be introduced to most of North America through the Oprah Winfrey Show and her millions of viewers by Dr. Nicolas Perricone. During an episode of Oprah's show, she asked Dr. Perricone to discuss his top ten superfoods. The number one superfood on his list was the Acai berry. The Acai berry comes from the Amazon in Brazil. Dr. Perricone first put forth the amazing properties of the Acai berry in his book The Perricone Promise, a book Oprah highly recommends. This was the first time many in North America have heard about Acai berries, a fruit that has meanwhile grown a reputation to be a wonderfood for weight loss. Acaí berries taste much like a blend of berries and chocolate. Acaí berries are full of amino acids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids (that's the good fat). And that's in Acai berries:

  • An enormous concentration of antioxidants helping to combat premature aging. Acai contains 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins than red wine.
  • An excellent composition of mono-unsaturated fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols which helps to promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
  • An almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, important for good muscle contraction and regeneration of muscles.

NB. Acai berries lose much of their nutritional benefits very quickly after they being picked, so for the best nutritional content, make sure you buy Acai berries that have been freeze dried as close to the natural source as possible. Studies have shown that freeze-dried Acai Berries have the highest level of antioxidants and nutrition, much higher than its juice or its equivalent amount in raw form.

Is Acai Really the Best Superfood?

What is a superfood?

Acai Berries Grow on Palm Trees in BrazilYou sure have heard about superfoods, and maybe even which foods are considered to be “super”. Today we’ll look into why these foods are considered super and which of them you should include in your daily diet.

A superfood is a food that has a very high phytonutrient content that many believe benefits a person’s health in a significant way. It’s believed that including a variety of superfoods in the daily diet can improve the immune system, ward off diseases like cancer, help the body age more smoothly and help the body fight fat.

Supefoods will usually contain a good mix of nutrients, including Vitamins A and C and other essentials like protein and fiber. The best superfoods are those that contain a healthy mix of these things so that the food can provide a solid helping of beneficial nutrients in one serving.

Some of the most famous superfoods include:

  • Blue-Green Algae
  • Green Tea
  • Goji Berries
  • Mangosteen
  • Oregano
  • Spinach
  • Acai Berries
  • Turmeric
  • Blueberries

As an example, blueberries contain fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin C and manganese but regardless of your knowledge about superfoods, you’ll want to include Acai Berries and Goji Berries into your superfood mix.

What is Acai and why is it a superfood?

Acai is a berry that’s found primarily in the rainforest regions of Brazil. It’s a dark blue berry that grows on palm trees in Brazil, the locals eat it fresh, or in smoothies. They also eat it with granola or yogurt and even make ice cream out of it. Depending on the region, the fruit might be used in sweet or salty confections, and new uses are being found for it each day.

The nutritional content of the acai berry is varied and beneficial. It is considered to be a superfood because it contains an essential mix of nutrients that a superfood must have. The acai fruit has an enormous high concentration of antioxidants (more than 100,000 ORAC * units per 100 gram), which is the highest concentration on antioxidants in an edible fruit known so far.  Acai Berries also contain a good amount of fiber, a small amount of fat and protein.

Acai Berries are a rather new addition to the long line of antioxidant rich health foods that are considered superfoods today. Currently, for those of us who don’t live in Brazil and don’t have easy access to the berry, there are many options. These include drinking a juice blend that contains acai (or acai berry that’s offered as is), freeze dried acai berries are by far the best choice as they contain the most of the antioxidants and the nutriton after they are packed.

Daily more superfoods are discovered and it is very likely that there will be soon more fruits and greens for us to add into our daily diet.

* ORAC = Oxygen radical absorbance capacity – The measurement for Antioxidants which kill Free Radicals in our system. Free Radicals are the main cause for our aging process.

What Are Superfoods and Why You Need Them?

Antioxidants and Superfoods

Vitamin C Antioxidant Illustration

Vitamin C Antioxidant

With the entire craze about what to eat and what not to eat, what are superfoods is a question going through the minds of many people in the world today. The guardian newspaper reports that the term “superfoods” was coined in the 1990s to define a specific group of foods that were though to benefit the body, tremendously. Such foods range from the exotic types such as spirulina, wheatgrass and alfa alfa and others like beans, beetroot and broccoli fall in the prosaic category.

With time, the list of superfoods has been growing, as research explores more food possibilities. Watercress was for example added to the list due to its antioxidants properties. Fish, specifically tuna, mackerel and salmon preferably wild also make the list of superfoods, as is the case with tomatoes garlic blueberries, carrots, olive oil and red wine. To say the least, the question “what are superfoods?” cannot be answered definitively because the list keeps growing by the day and for different reasons too!

Fish made it to the superfoods list due to omega 3 fatty acids present in it, while blueberries provide the body with vitamin C. Brazil nuts on the other hand are said to have plenty of selenium, while Carrots have beta-carotene. Tomatoes are laden with lycopene goodness, while olive oil is said to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Different Antioxidant Compounds Foods containing high levels of these Antioxidants
   
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Vitamin E (tocopherols, tocotrienols) Vegetable Oils
Polyphenolic antioxidants (resveratrol, flavonoids) Tea, Coffee, Soy, Fruits, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Cocoa, Cinnamon, Oregano, Turmeric and Red wine
Carotenoids (lycopene, carotenes, lutein) Fruits, Vegetables and Eggs

Superfoods are said to have health benefits, which range from preventing cancer, heart disease, improving one’s sporting abilities, enhancing one’s appearance to improving IQ. Though dieticians and nutritionists highly doubt some of the things said about superfoods, there is little doubt that including them in one’s diet is worthwhile. Some people still wonder what are superfoods’ goodness that people cannot substitute them with some of the nutritional supplements in the market today. The truth is, more people enjoy eating more than they do swallowing pills.

More so, the superfoods concept encourages people to eat more unprocessed vitamins and minerals thus reducing the tendency of consuming dead vitamins. When consumed in their raw states, the body easily absorbs them, thus providing it with the necessary nutrients required to fight disease and maintain health. One of the qualms that nutritionists have with the superfoods concept is that it advances some foods more than others, and can therefore lead people to a lifestyle where some of the essential foods in the human diet are neglected. Their advice to the general populace is that people should eat everything in moderation. More to this, people should ensure that they eat a variety of foods in order to get the maximum nutritional benefits that one can get from foods. Overall, the wise thing is to include the superfoods as part of one’s diet, rather than making them all one eats. A little tea, a little spinach, potatoes, beans and some oil, will no doubt make a good meal.

-By: Reggie R Andersen

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