In alternative health, açaí is all the rage. While relatively new to the American consciousness, açaí has been around for centuries and has helped many people with its healthful qualities. In order to benefit completely from açaí, however, one must truly understand what it is and what it does. What is Açaí? Açaí is a distinct purple berry indigenous to the Amazon rainforest. The açaí fruit may be found in some of the large palm trees that grow in the thick forest; these trees can reach as high as 82 feet! Unlike cherries, which grow individually in trees, the açaí berry grows in bunches, more like bananas. One average, each palm tree can yield anywhere from three to eight bunches. What’s so great about açaí? You might say açaí is fast becoming known as a wonder food for its versatility. Açaí has nutrient properties and is naturally rich in: Omega fats (the good kind, unlike the saturated fats found in fast food) amino acids electrolytes antioxidants protein vitamins A, B1 and E The people of the Amazon rainforest use açaí in many different dishes – from drinks and shakes to breakfasts and bars. Brazilians use açaí to flavor meat and fish entrees, too, topping dishes with a pulpy, curd-like substance made from the fruit. Not only does açaí provide a delicious taste to complement food, it is known around the Amazon for amazing health benefits. Açaí is known to be used for treatment of digestive problems, skin irritation, sexual dysfunction, and even insomnia. The açaí berry is naturally low in sugar, too. Only in recent years have people in North America discovered how açaí makes them feel energetic and healthy. Take a trip to your favorite smoothie place and you might find açaí as one of the add-in ingredients available to you. Not only are consumers finding the benefits of açaí to their interest, but researchers and the media are amazed by the power of this small berry. NBC’s Today did a feature story on açaí in 2004, and more recently researchers at the University of Florida tested the attributes of açaí to discover it actually destroyed cultured leukemia cells! Will açaí cure cancer? We can’t say for certain. All we know is that açaí possesses some very strong health properties that may benefit people in the long run. Can you eat the berries that make açaí directly? Strangely enough, no. It is not recommended that one just pluck the berries from the tree and start snacking. The berries are harvested and processed, and the açaí is extracted from the pulp of the berry and sold in stores all over South America. It is said that beverages containing açaí are more popular than milk in the southern hemisphere. That’s because South Americans know they are getting a pure, healthy drink that benefits their alertness and well-being, and it gets them through the day. Does açaí cause any side effects? Current research indicates no known side effects to taking açaí in any form. Though açaí has been around for ages, it is still quite new to the United States, and no doubt is still being observed by health professionals. However, the testimony of the overall health of the Amazonian people speaks well for this little fruit with big potential.
Bottle Size: 100