The acai berry, a reddish / purplish fruit, is native to Central and South America palm trees. This highly acclaimed berry is the inch-long relative of the blueberry, cranberry and other dark purple fruits. Acai contains anthocyanins, from the Greek words meaning “plant” and “blue”, and flavonoids, two substances known to be power antioxidants. These two substances not only defend the body against life’s stressors, but also play a role in the body’s cell protection system. During stress periods, the body produces harmful byproducts known as free radicals. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants may interfere with the disease aging process by neutralizing free radicals. If antioxidants can lessen the destructive power of free radicals, they may also help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and lose weight. According to WebMD, “for now, plenty of research supports eating a diet rich in antioxidants. There’s no doubt that [acai] berries and other fruits are a key part of any healthy diet promoting weight loss.” Facts about the acai berry: The acai berry has more antioxidant properties than the cranberry, raspberry, strawberry and blueberryThe acai berry is often referred to as a superfood (foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants, provide a positive benefit to health but are not established as daily nutrientsThe acai berry is naturally low in sugarAcai berries in beauty products? Some cosmetics and beauty products contain acai oil because acai oil is a powerhouse of antioxidants. Studies have shown that acai oil may be a safe alternative to other tropical oils used in beauty products. Don’t be surprised if you see acai oil in facial and body creams, anti-aging skin therapies, shampoos and conditioners, and other products. Processed acai oil appears to be stable when stored long-term allowing the antioxidant levels to remain high. WARNING If you have pollen allergies or have a known hypersensitivity to acai or similar berries, you may want to avoid this fruit. When eaten in moderate amounts, though, acai is likely safe. © John Stone – http://myherbalhealthsite.com WebMD site referenced on June 17, 2010 - http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/acai-berries-and-acai-berry-juice-what-are-the-health-benefits
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