Acai, this über-berry from the Amazon could help with weight loss, lowering cholesterol and may even keep you youthful…
What is it?
The acai (pronounced ‘ah-sigh-ee’) palm is native to South and Central America and produces reddish purple fruits known as acai berries. It’s these berries that are thought to have beneficial properties, probably owing to the presence of powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which are also present in red wine and other dark red and purple berries. The major anthocyanin found in acai is C3G (cyanidin 3-glucoside), a very powerful antioxidant with activity said to be stronger than that of vitamin C or vitamin E.
Food and shelter
Acai translates as ‘the fruit that cries’. A constituent of the diets of Amazonian natives for centuries, in South America, the leaves are often woven to make baskets and roof thatch.
How can it help me?
There’s some anecdotal evidence that acai supplements may be beneficial addition to weight-management programmes. A Japanese study found extracts rich in cyanides reduced both body fat and blood sugar levels, and increased insulin sensitivity.
Words: Gabrielle Clarke
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