So summer is winding down. Didn't get the bikini body…
Today Vine Vera continues our series on various fruit extracts for health, wellness, longevity, and skincare. The “superfruits” we’re looking at belong to a class of foods known for their high concentrations of compounds—like antioxidants—that promote overall health and well-being. Today, we look at the famous Brazilian acai berry, already well known as a superfood.
Man know of the acai berry, the fact that it naturally dwells mostly—if not exclusively—in South America, and the fact that it’s considered a superfood. What you might not know is that the plant it comes from, Euterpe oleracea, is actually a palm tree! It typically grows in swamps and floodplains, and is a much taller, more slender palm than the typical ones you might be used to.
The berry itself, a small blackish-purple drupe with the appearance of a tiny grape, would be hard to eat on its own, owing to the fact that its seed takes up about 80% of its mass, so the small amount of pulp around the seed is generally extracted to be used commercially. Acai is used in a number of supplements, skincare products, food (it’s not uncommon to find small amounts of acai berry added to chocolate and other candies), and makes a rather tasty fruit wine.
The acai berry makes up about 42% of Brazilian Amazonians’ diet, making it something of a staple crop of theirs.
Health, Wellness, and Longevity
Acai berry has a robust antioxidant profile, though admittedly not as robust as many of its proponents make it out to be (chokeberry extract would be more effective for antioxidant levels alone). Acai is protein-rich, which is one reason it’s consumed so heavily by natives to the Brazilian Amazon. Acai has many proposed benefits, including helping to regulate diabetes (reminder, do not forgo standard medical care for diabetes in favor of natural remedies), fighting cancer, reducing cholesterol, and improving mental clarity.
Acai wine is a good way to enjoy the uniquely delicious taste and antioxidant profile of Acai berries.
The main reason Acai berry is promoted for use in skincare is its antioxidant profile, and is claimed to help fight the aging process in skin. Sadly, said antioxidant profile is not nearly as impressive as some would have you believe, and you’d be better off with chokeberry or even some types of grape extract.
One less dubious—but still untested—potential use for acai extract is to control acne.
It’s entirely possible acai berry could have a number of beneficial effects, based on the myriad claims of its proponents. However, literally none of the claims have been confirmed by reputable clinical studies to date, and anecdotal evidence is mixed.
Acai berry does contain antioxidants, but there are better antioxidant sources out there, like chokeberry, blueberry, and even some types of grapes. Ultimately, Acai is an unknown; many claims have been made, none proven, none disproven. Vine Vera cannot recommend using acai supplements for anti-aging, though the protein-rich fruit can certainly be part of a healthy diet. Additionally, acai wine is a uniquely flavorful and tasty fruit wine that we highly recommend.
As always, discuss any supplementation you plan to engage in with your medical doctor before initiating, as herbal extracts are a kind of medicine, and anything that could impact your health should be cleared by a medical professional first.