SUPER FRUIT SCIENCE – WHY IS ACAI SO GOOD FOR YOU?
The acai berry is packed with antioxidants (considerably more than pomegranate, blueberries and grapes), healthy omega fatty acids and minerals.
What’s an antioxidant, anyway?
It’s a molecule that can keep other molecues from oxidizing. Oxidation produces unstable free radicals, which in turn can cause chain reactions that damage cells.
Antioxidants may protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals, which are found in pesticides, preservatives, and pollutants in the air we breathe. If our bodies lack the fuel to fight off these free radicals, then we run the risk of our cells mutating and forming cancerous growths.
Antioxidants allow the body to neutralize many of these free radicals, reducing the risk of many diseases, including heart disease.
The body converts many vitamins and minerals into antioxidants, of these, most are contained in the acai berry. Research has shown that antioxidants are vital to strengthening the body’s ability to resist disease. These antioxidants play a vital role in strengthening our cellular walls and decreasing cholesterol-related disease.
Acai Roots was founded by native Brazilians, who are committed to delivering only the freshest acai berries straight from the Amazon rainforest. They know that fresh acai can be the foundation of a healthy and active life, just like they enjoyed as children in Rio de Janiero.
DOES ACAI HELP FIGHT CANCER?
In a study performed at the University of Florida in 2006, it was shown that acai antioxidants could induce faster apoptosis (death), of leukemia cells in vitro.
The research is described on the university’s website in an article entitled “Brazilian berry destroys cancer cells in lab, UF study shows,” excerpted here:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A Brazilian berry popular in health food contains antioxidants that destroyed cultured human cancer cells in a recent University of Florida study, one of the first to investigate the fruit’s purported benefits.
Published today in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the study showed extracts from acai (ah-SAH’-ee) berries triggered a self-destruct response in up to 86 percent of leukemia cells tested, said Stephen Talcott, an assistant professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
“Acai berries are already considered one of the richest fruit sources of antioxidants,” Talcott said. “This study was an important step toward learning what people may gain from using beverages, dietary supplements or other products made with the berries.”
Studies on the health effects of acai are also being conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which released a progress report in February 2011 including the following information:
In this project we are attempting to investigate the antioxidant anti-inflammatory properties of acai berry fractions. Inflammation and oxidative stress on brain cells set off a cascade of events resulting in death of neurons, ultimately leading to declines in cognitive and motor functions as well as age-related diseases. Loss of cognitive function with aging has been related to loss of regulation in calcium (Ca2+) balance inside the brain cells. We have shown that these insults on brain cells can be prevented with the consumption of other berry fruits as evident in our previous studies on aged animals. These fruits are packed with an array of polyphenolic compounds which have the ability to reduce stress and inflammation. To demonstrate the mechanism by which berry fruit extracts assist in weakening the stress insults, we used brain cells which were treated with different fractions of acai berry extracts, containing different classes of phytonutrients such as anthocyanins, flavanoids, terpinoids, etc., and subjected to stress. The acai pulp extracts increased calcium recovery in the cells and protected the cells from nitrite stress. The results indicate that components of acai berries, like the other berries we tested, are effective against inflammatory and oxidative stress in the brain cells. We also showed that acai berry extracts were able to rescue neurons through induction of autophagy, a process by which toxic debris is recycled and cleared in neurons. This is important since if the neuronal cell’s ability to clean up and remove toxic debris is antagonized by oxidative or inflammatory stressors, the cell may lose viability and show declines in function. The finding that acai berry extract pre-treatments can mitigate these effects has important implications for preventing declines in neuronal function via nutrition.
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