The Oprah Winfrey show lists the Açaí berry (pronounced a-sighee) as the world’s number one superfood for health and age defying beauty. Oprah’s website called Açaí “one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world…” While Dr. Nicholas Perricone in his book, The Perricone Promise, praised the Açaí fruit, stating, “Hidden within its royal purple pigment is the magic that makes it nature’s perfect energy fruit.”
The Açaí Berry is a small, round, fruit about 25mm (1 inch) in diameter, with a dark-purple color. The Açaí berry grows on special Amazon palm trees in buched panicles of 700 to 900 berries. This high energy super food is harvested in the rainforests of Brazil twice a year.
The antioxidant strength of Açaí has been measured by a number of studies. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay, developed in 1992 at the National Institute of Aging measures how much a particular food inhibits the activity of free radicals. The test is now used by the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in extensive scientific research. A recent report using standardized testing on a freeze-dried Açaí powder showed a high antioxidant effect with an ORAC value of 1026; while the ORAC value for broccoli is 130, and for Spinach it is 150. A 2006 study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that extracts from the acai fruit triggered an apoptosis response in up to 86 percent of leukemia cells tested.
It seems interesting that the Açaí berry, which has been used by ancient and modern inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest for centuries has never been heard of by most people. Açaí has a protein similar to eggs, has nearly 20, has a monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat ratio nearly identical to olive oil, and a blood-sugar-friendly . The American Diabetes Association lists (a blend of 19 fruits and berries with the Açaí berry beings its crown jewel) on their approved lists of foods.
In addition, the Açaí berry is packed with polyphenols (potent plant antioxidants) and boasts up to 30 times the anthocyanin content of red wine. Additionally, the Açaí berry is loaded with vitamins, and trace minerals including iron, copper and calcium.
It is considered by many experts that Açaí may help with energy deficiencies, immune problems, circulatory conditions, weight loss, lowering cholesterol and sexual dysfunctions as well as other ailments.