Acai berries are jam-packed with nutritional and health benefits. Here are some of the highlights, but for a full summary, download RioLife’s Nutrition Guide.
Free radicals are generated in the body as a by-product of normal metabolic processes, as well as by exposure to cigarette smoke, pollution, UV-rays, high stress levels and increased amounts of physical activity.
These volatile chemicals are capable of wreaking havoc on the human body, and the damage they cause contributes to a wide range of health issues, including many of those we become more susceptible to as we get older. Additionally, free radical activity can damage your skin, increasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
On the other hand, antioxidants are compounds that help offset the effects of free radicals, reducing their volatility and limiting the amount of damage they can cause.
Acai berries are an extremely rich source of a group of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are also found in blueberries, red wine and other dark purple coloured fruit and vegetables, where they’re considered responsible for many of the health benefits associated with these foods.
When measuring a food’s antioxidant potential, scientists use a scale called oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Using the ORAC scale, acai berries are one of the most potent sources of antioxidants you’ll ever find. In fact, while fresh fruit or veggies provide you with 890 to 2500 ORAC units per serving, just one 5 gram serving of RioLife 100% Certified Organic Acai powder packs in a whopping 4,695 ORAC units!
The ORAC system may be helpful to scientists, but it’s a bit abstract and complex for the rest of us to get our heads around, so think of the antioxidant capacity of Acai berries like this: one 5 gram tablespoon of RioLife 100% Certified Organic Acai powder contains about the same amount of antioxidants as 120 blueberries.
The antioxidant activity of the anthocyanins in acai berry is backed up by vitamin E – an important antioxidant in its own right – and the minerals iron, calcium, and magnesium.
RioLife 100% Certified Organic Acai powder is a valuable source of fatty acids, and is especially rich in omega-9 fats. These are the same fats that are also found in large quantities in extra virgin olive oil, and, along with the antioxidants in acai berries, have benefits for your skin, your heart and blood vessels and the rest of your body too.
Consuming plenty of omega-9 fats and other healthy oils helps keep your cell membranes fluid and enables them to retain water and nutrients and remain hydrated. Having a healthy, vibrant complexion is just one possible outcome - more importantly, eating a diet containing plenty of these ‘good’ fats helps maintain communication between one cell and another, their sensitivity to hormones and other chemical messengers within the body, and may even help protect you from certain health problems.
One of the reasons that acai berries are a great food to base your breakfast on is that they have a low glycaemic index (GI). In other words, the carbohydrates they contain are converted into glucose by the body in a slow, steady fashion.
That means that breakfasting on acai will help you stay energised and focussed for longer, and as an added benefit, will help make it easier for you to resist snacking on sugary or carb-rich snacks later in the day, so could even contribute to your weight loss goals. For optimal impact on blood sugar and appetite control, team acai berries with a source of high quality protein – such as yoghurt or a bowl of muesli that contains nuts and seeds. Check out our acai recipes for more ideas.
Fibre makes you feel full and helps stabilise your blood sugar, which in turn diminishes your appetite and may help you manage your weight.
Eating a diet rich in fibre also reduces your risk of developing chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.
Adding three tablespoons of RioLife 100% Certified Organic Acai powder to your morning smoothie or breakfast cereal will add 4.2 grams of fibre to your daily intake, helping you get closer to the 30-40 grams of fibre you’re recommended to eat every day.
Independent author: Flavia Fayet from www.nutriesca.com.au Flavia Fayet has completed her Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Sydney, and is currently working on her PHD. She is a respected Dietician and lecturer at Sydney University. Copyright (c) Nutriesca 2006