What Makes Acai Berries a Super Food?

Acai berries have been marketed for their uber-health properties. Do they really live up to the hype?

Acai berries contain potent antioxidants

Acai (pronounced “ah-SIGH-ee”) is the latest berry to achieve super-food status, but does the deep-purple orb live up to the health hype?

The acai palm grows in swampy areas in Central and South America. Its small berries have a distinctive taste, described as a cross between blackberries and dark chocolate.

Why Acai Berries are So Good for You

Acai berries contain high levels of polyphenols, anthocyanins and flavonoids – potent antioxidants that are said to play a role in helping to prevent cancer by reducing the destructive power of free radicals.

They also contain omega-3 and omega-6- essential fatty acids that work together to help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol plus contribute to normal growth and development.

The berries are also a source of calcium, vitamin E and phosphorous. 

Getting Past the Hype around Acai Berries

Available in juice, supplement and pill form, acai has been heavily marketed for the role it supposedly plays in weight loss, improved sexual performance and increased energy. While there’s plenty of hype, there’s still a lack of solid scientific evidence to back up any such claims.

People with pollen allergies or a known hypersensitivity to similar berries should avoid acai. As with all supplements, before taking acai, consult your doctor, a registered dietitian or your pharmacist.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.