Much has been made of various exotic superfoods which have appeared in Western supermarkets and online over the past few years. Many claims have been made about the amazing benefits of these superfoods with Acai in particular gaining a lot of interest.
In this article we look at the history of Acai and the claims made about it and whether it is deserving of its superfood status.
What is Acai?
Acai is a species of palm tree native to South America and traditionally used by the indigenous people of Brazil and Peru. The Acai berry is purple in colour and similar in shape to a grape. Once harvested the fruit pulp is processed, freeze dried and turned in to a powder to preserve shelf life. The powder can be used to make smoothies and sprinkle over cereal or even used in baking.
Of all the superfoods Acai is considered to be one of the most nutritious and is one of the highest sources of antioxidants on the planet.
The Benefits of Acai
Acai berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, fibre, amino acids and essential fatty acids which makes them one of the healthiest foods available. The high levels of antioxidants are one of the main benefits of Acai. Antioxidants help prevent the development of free radicals which can cause ageing, cancer and a number of other diseases.
Acai has been discovered as one of the world’s highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) foods. ORAC is a measure of how well antioxidants can neutralise free radicals, the higher the value the better the body uses it to fight free radicals. Acai has double the antioxidants of blueberries and ten times the amount of grapes.
Acai has also been found to be excellent for heart health. The essential fatty acids in Acai are similar to those in olive oil with links between essential fatty acids and cardiovascular health having been well documented.
The amino acids in Acai help with energy, endurance and strength making acai a great pre or post workout supplement. Acai also contains as much vitamin C as blueberries and is also a good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and E as well as being a source of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.
So What’s the Hype?
As with any product that becomes popular there are also a number of other claims made about the product which are untrue or, at best, are stretching the truth a little. One claim we are seeing is that Acai can be used as a weight loss supplement. As much as Acai has a very positive effect on overall health there is no evidence to suggest that it can be used as a weight loss tool and should not be taken solely for this purpose.
It is also worth noting that many supplements state to contain Acai but only in very small doses. The daily recommended dose is 3g per day which you won’t receive from any supplements that contain a very small quantity. We recommend taking a 100% pure Acai powder which contains no fillers or preservatives. The product from La Kult Superfoods is very good and is comes from an organic source.
Is Acai Worth It?
Acai is definitely worth taking as part of a balanced and controlled diet. On its own it won’t turn you in to Superman but as part of a good diet and healthy exercise regime its benefits are superior to nearly every other health food on the planet.
Check out the range of Australian Certified Organic Superfoods available from La Kult at www.la-kult.com.au where you can purchase Organic Acai Powder, Organic Camu Camu Powder, Organic Maca Powder, Organic Spirulina Powder and Organic Cacao Powder.