The acai berry has become a famous addition to a group of foods called ‘super foods’. Super foods are basically foods that contain a wide diversity and dense concentration of nutrients and phytochemicals – plant compounds that are powerful antioxidants. So lets break down the acai berry into its component nutrients.
The fresh acai berry is a good source of the three vitamins that are important for a healthy immune system – vitamin A, C and E. These three vitamins also help to keep our skin healthy and protect it from the damaging effects of UV light. Please note that dried acai powder supplements will contain very little vitamin C but high quality acai berry juice products will still contain this vitamin. The acai berry is also a good source of vitamins B1, B2 and B3 which are needed to keep our nervous system balanced and to release energy from our food.
Acai is a good source of potassium, calcium and magnesium, three minerals that are natural ways to lower blood pressure. In addition to this, acai contains zinc and copper. In fact acai is an exceptionally good source of copper and contains more of this mineral than any other fruit.
Plant sterols are basically a plant version of cholesterol. The good news for us is that they don’t have the negative effects for our health that the cholesterol from fatty meats and dairy products does. For this reason plant sterols are a heart healthy food because they compete with animal based cholesterol in our digestive system. This means we will absorb less of the ‘bad’ cholesterol into our blood. There are different kinds of plant sterols and the three most prominent in the acai berry are B-sitosterol, campesterol and sigmasterol.
The acai berry is an unusual fruit because about half of this berry is actually fat! Fortunately about 75% of this fat is in the form of healthy unsaturated fats like omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9. These unsaturated fats have the opposite effect of saturated fat in our bodies and actually promote heart health. In fact those whose diets are high in unsaturated fats are among the most heart healthy people around.