Learn all about the superfoods that will help you live a longer and healthier life. Devinder Bains, personal trainer and nutrition coach at Fit Squad DXB, fills you in…
The acai bowl is more than just an Instagram craze — the acai berry is so high in nutrients that it even beats super fruits such as blueberries and cranberries.
Acai berries don’t last long, however, so unless you live near the Amazon, you will need to buy acai pulp frozen, in powder form or as oil for the skin. And be careful when adding extras to your acai bowl — avoid sugar-rich granola and brownies to reap the numerous health benefits listed below.
There is a strong connection between acai and anti-aging due to the abundance of cell-repairing antioxidants and the high levels of vitamins A, B, C and E, as well as various minerals that contribute to keeping the skin moisturised and wrinkles at bay. As well as adding acai to your diet, look into skincare products made with acai oil for a double boost.
Lowers bad cholesterol
Acai berries contain plant sterols, which are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains and prevent the body from absorbing dietary cholesterol. A small study on overweight participants who were fed acai pulp every day for 30 days found lower total cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol and more controlled blood sugar levels. Another study showed an increase in good cholesterol in women. Antioxidants in acai are also beneficial for diabetes sufferers and those with high blood pressure.
Improved brain function
A 2013 study found that as well as being rich in antioxidants that protect the brain from cell damage, acai berry extract can protect against the build-up of proteins called beta-amyloids, which clog the brain’s pathways and are involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Acai has also been positively linked to the treatment of bipolar disorder.
Helps prevent and fight cancer
In a study of 300 foods, acai berries came top for their high levels of antioxidants, with half a cup containing around 75,000 antioxidant units. Among these are pigments called anthocyanin that not only give acai berries their purple color, but may also help fight cancer cells. In a 2006 study, researchers found that concentrated acai juice triggered a self-destruct response in 86 percent of leukemia cells tested.
As well as being rich in fiber, which promotes a healthy gut, researchers found that polyphenols in acai can survive most of the digestive process and make it as far as the colon. This means they can promote good gut bacteria, which improves overall digestive health. The acai berry is also said to help in cleansing the digestive system.