Friday, September 19, 2008

The Benefits of Acai - Consider it Nature's Powerhouse

By : Shannon Pollock

Every now and then we hear about a new "super food" that is supposed to be the latest and greatest for our health. It then quietly falls out of the limelight to make way for the next "big thing." But, once in a while, a real superstar comes along that deserves all the attention it gets.

Acai is one of these foods.

The acai palm is a native to Central and South America. The hearts of these and other palms are used in salads; the oils in myriad foods, cosmetics, and other consumer items; the leaves are used for weaving mats, roof thatch, hats, etc.; the wood is widely used in construction because it is resistant to insects; and the roots and bark are used in traditional native medicines.

But it is the blackish-purple grape-sized acai berries (which are actually drupes, like coconuts) that are the part that has been the staple of the Amazon region's natives' diet for centuries - and most likely the secret to their health and longevity - and that have been getting so much media attention.

Acai berries contain calcium; antioxidants; the essential fatty acids omega six and omega nine; fiber; protein; vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and E; and anthocyanins (the same heart-healthy flavinoids found in red wine). They contain most of these nutrients in more concentrated amounts than other fruits and vegetables. They have, for example, nine times the vitamin B1 as cow's milk, and ten times the antioxidants as grapes.

The health benefits of acai are nothing short of amazing. Research has proven, and continues to prove as further studies are carried out, that acai: can fight cancer cells, heart disease, bacterial and fungal infections; control cholesterol; promote a healthy immune system, healthy skin and hair; reduce pain through its anti-inflammatory properties; can increase your energy level, sex drive, and help you sleep better at night.

As if that weren't enough, acai has a pleasing, distinct flavor that has been described as chocolate-like and fruity at the same time - somewhat like a chocolate-covered cherry.

Because acai berries go rancid quickly after picking due to their high fat content, they lose most of their nutritional content within twenty-four hours. So, until there is a way to keep berries fresh during transport, consumers will have to be content with the frozen pulp processed from the freshly-harvested berries. This pulp can be used to make smoothies or any other dish in which you would ordinarily use berries and other fruit. Acai juice is also available, but is often blended with other juices, so make sure any juice you buy has a high acai content.

Acai is now available in supplement form, as well, which makes getting its health benefits even easier. You can find it alone or in conjunction with other beneficial, complementary supplements.

Like with other healthful foods, the only thing you have to risk losing in trying acai, is bad health! Author Resource:- Shannon Pollock has been teaching people about natural health remedies for many years. She is a specialist with experience in natural remedies for both people and animals.

For more information on the benefits of acai, as well as other natural health related topics, visit Shannon's website called Natural Health Remedies and More

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