The 21st century has seen a major influx of the term superfood. You see it everywhere from grocery stores to pop-up smoothie shops to online retailers.
But where did the term actually come from? The term itself came from a strategy to market bananas in the early part of the 20th century. It was developed as a phrase to promote bananas as a practical, easily digestible food source.
The tactic worked and the banana rose in popularity. The banana was no longer a mere fruit. It was now hailed a “superfood”.
The list of foods now classified as superfoods has gotten lengthier year after year. While new foods seem to pop up regularly, there are a few tried and true foods that truly earn their place on the list.
One of the powerhouse items on this list is the almighty berry. Specifically, the acai berry. We’ll go over the properties of this berry and the overall importance of acai berry nutrition, but first…
What Is a Superfood?
A new century certainly brings with it more than one all-star food to carry the name. To start, what is a superfood? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines superfood as a food rich in compounds beneficial to a person’s health.
Essentially, a superfood assists in nourishing your body with extra nutrients so that it can function at optimal levels.
The beneficial properties range anywhere from cholesterol regulation to helping increase your day-to-day energy.
From leafy greens like kale and collard greens to protein-dense nuts like hazelnuts and pecans, superfoods should be combined with healthy choices across all food groups in order to keep a healthy body and mind functioning properly.
Acai Berry Nutrition
You might be wondering: what exactly is acai? This little berry, native to Central and South America, packs a punch. The benefits of acai are far-ranging and this antioxidant-rich food can easily be incorporated into your day-to-day diet.
Below is a list of ten proposed health benefits of acai berries.
As mentioned previously, acai berries are rich in antioxidants. Specifically, the antioxidant anthocyanin. Anthocyanins offer many benefits from enhancing memory to lowering stress and inflammation.
This specific antioxidant is thought to inhibit inflammation in the brain as well as improve blood flow and synaptic signaling. All of which can contribute to better cognitive functioning in the long term.
The abundance of anthocyanin within acai berries also aids in heart health via oxidative stress protection. Oxidative stress itself plays a role in the body’s aging process through an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants.
Along with the protection against oxidative stress, the fiber and healthy fats found in the berry support good cholesterol while conversely lowering bad cholesterol. A win-win situation.
The acai berry possesses certain compounds that have the potential to improve the body’s immune system. Namely, there is research indicating the development of malfunctioning cells can be reduced thanks to said compounds.
If the systems within your body are running smoothly, your general energy should increase. The acai berry aids in just that.
Its components work hard to help support the major systems within your body (such as the cardiovascular system mentioned above) leading to an overall increase in stamina and energy.
This one is a completely straightforward benefit: acai berries are a great source of fiber. The detoxifying nature of the berry is a great way to keep your body clean and regular.
No one food or supplement should be touted as having the ability to reduce weight. However, acai does have properties that are good to include as part of a healthy diet. An item of note is that acai contains zero sugar and only one net gram of carbohydrates.
This leaves room for the addition of more fiber-rich foods and healthy carbohydrates that your body relies on to operate efficiently.
The low sugar in acai is unusual for a fruit, however, acai is higher in fat (think good fats) and also contains certain minerals such as zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Each of which our bodies require in order to operate efficiently anywhere from heart health to sleep health.
The glycemic score of acai is low, meaning it’s a great option for those living with diabetes. Acai juice is a good option for those looking to maintain steady glucose levels.
Apart from the excellent antioxidant properties, acai also contains fatty acids. Fatty acids are essential in the building blocks of healthy cell membranes.
Our bodies don’t make fatty acids naturally, thus the production of a healthy skin barrier comes from the consumption of foods like salmon, walnuts, or acai.
With a combination of fatty acids, antioxidants, as well as nutrients, it’s no wonder acai is considered an anti-aging powerhouse.
Fatty acids keep your skin barrier healthy and supple. Antioxidants help fight free radicals. Nutrients (think vitamins, minerals, flavonoids) provide the building blocks for healthy skin.
All of which add up to healthy, glowing skin. Who doesn’t want that?
Pave the Way
Now that we’ve laid out general ground rules toward acai berry nutrition and information, you may be wondering how to implement this superfood into your diet.
Whether you want to perfect acai smoothies in the morning for a quick pick-me-up or experiment with new acai recipes every day, these acai recipes make it easy for you to start.
The humble banana may have paved the way toward opening the superfood doors, but it is clear the acai berry keeps them open for all to benefit from. Incorporating this powerful food will help you keep your body and mind healthy for a long time to come.