Healthy Foods To Eat: Açaí

What is it?:

Açaí is a berry found in the floodplains of the Amazon River in Brazil, and grows on the Acai Palm. It is actually a food staple in Amazon River communities (like potatoes or rice) and is used both as a drink or as part of the meal. The berry is mainly the seed, which is thrown out, so basically all that is left is the Acai seed. The City of Belem in Brazil has a population of over 1 million people, who drink Acai more than they drink milk! It has a unique taste, kind of like wild berries with a hint of chocolate.

Benefits:
From what I can find, Acai is known for its rich content of antioxidants, including a plant chemical called anthocyanin, which has many health benefits, and phytosterols, another plant compound shown to reduce cholesterol.  Researchers at the University of Florida have found that Acai may have the power to reduce programmed cell death in human leukemia cells, aiding in the fight against cancer. Acai may improve immune system function, joint function, and certain skin conditions. It also aids in digestion.

Where to buy:
Usually you can find Acai in health food stores either as frozen pulp, in juices, or in powdered form. You can also do a Google search to find Network Marketing companies that sell it in the form of a gel or powdered capsule or juice. You can only buy fresh Acai berries in Brazil because they do not store for long. When you do buy Acai, make sure it is flash-pasteurized; this preserves the antioxidants.

However you decide to buy, Acai can be one of your choices for healthy foods to eat (or drink!) Mona Vie, for example, claims that 4 ounces a day of their Acai juice has the equivalent nutritional value of eating 5 servings of fruits.

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