Açaí berry is a small, round, black-purple drupe borne on the açaí palm, and is found in abundance in Central and South America. The palm is cultivated for the berries, which is a popular fruit the world over. Generations of indigenous groups have benefited from acai berry's protein-rich nutrients. Acai berry juice is used to flavor ice creams, liqueurs, smoothies, sodas, and other beverages. The berries are eaten fresh as well as frozen. Being nutritionally rich, supplements of acai berry became popular as soon as they were introduced, and mired with controversy equally soon.
Supplements of Acai Berry
Açaí berry is presently being marketed as potentially rich in terms of a health benefit nutritional supplement, and is being sold in the form of tablets, instant drink powders, juices, smoothies, etc. A relative of the cranberry, blueberry, etc., acai berry is being studied for its antioxidant values―anthocyanins and flavonoids. Antioxidants help fight infection and prevent many diseases.
Producers of acai berries have consistently reported and backed their findings about its good health benefits. According to them, supplements of these berries are good for fighting free radicals that cause cancer. It also promises increased energy levels, a better rate of digestion, improved sleep, enhanced blood circulation that results in reduction of cholesterol levels, and heart health. It has detoxifying properties that enhance mental health and play a vital role in skin care. Its also promotes an improved sexual performance.
Acai Berry and Weight Loss
Acai berries have become very popular as weight loss supplements. Its weight loss concept is basically based on its detoxifying and energy improving ability. As the body detoxifies, it starts eliminating toxins, and an improved energy level is experienced, which is good for losing weight. As it promotes mental health, one sleeps better. Good rest also helps to lose weight.
Related controversies involve its tall claims about treating diabetes and other chronic illnesses. It also came under fire for promising an increase in men's sexual virility, and promised sexual attractiveness to women. In 2008, The Oprah Winfrey Show's lawyers began an investigation against the alleged statements from manufacturers that based its recommendation to use these supplements by suggesting that frequent Oprah guest Dr. Mehmet Oz approved it.
In March 2009, ABC News correspondent Susan Donaldson reported that acai berry products have not been evaluated by the FDA, and their efficacy is questionable, as they have no scientifically controlled studies backing its benefits. Reports also suggest that there is no credible evidence that these berries promote weight loss.
No major side effects of acai berry have been reported. A few allergic reactions is perhaps the only known issue. There is no disputing the fact that acai berries are good for health; however, how exactly the supplement helps in providing one with same amount of nutrition is still under research.