In a world obsessed with youth and good looks, it has become more important than ever to retain them for as long as possible. Many cosmetic products are geared towards just this demand, and that market has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. The same is true for cosmetic surgeries and procedures such as face lifts and botox injections. Some people who are willing to go the extra mile opt for hormone replacement therapy to stave off the ravages of time. All these artificial means of slowing down the aging process are just that – artificial. While people who undergo them may look younger on the outside, on the inside, their cells continue to become less efficient and effective with the passage of time. A healthy lifestyle consisting of plenty of exercise and a healthy diet is a cheaper and more effective method of obtaining longer lasting youth. This includes eating foods rich in anti-oxidants, which are substances that help fight the deterioration of our cells. Of all the available sources of anti-oxidants, the acai berry is among the most antioxidant rich foods available.
The acai berry originates from a palm tree that is found exclusively in the Amazon Jungle in Brazil. The local people credit it with having energy boosting and aphrodisiac qualities that go with its high nutritional value. Acai makes up such a large part of the indigenous people’s diets that it is considered to be their most important crop. Outside the Amazon, acai is valued not just for its nutrition, but for its ability to promote weight loss, boost energy and stamina, slow down the effects of aging, and prevent the development of certain cancers.
A contributing factor to the acai berry’s particularly high anti-oxidant levels is its dark purple skin, which is rich in the natural pigments known as anthocyanins. These pigments function to protect the tissues of fruits from the stresses of ultraviolet radiation emanating from the sun. The darker the color of a fruit’s skin, the higher the concentration of these anthocyanins. These compounds have been found to act as powerful anti-oxidants, and research has shown that aside from their anti-aging and anti-cancer properties, they are additionally useful in preventing heart attacks, protecting the body from the spread of bacterial infections, mitigating the effects of diabetes, easing inflammation, and thwarting the development of neurological diseases. The levels found in an acai berry are equivalent to over 10 times the amount found in red grapes. For this reason, a single serving of acai berry juice contains far more anthocyanins than a glass of wine.
The amount of anti-oxidants in a certain fruit or berry is determined by its Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, or ORAC. The recommended daily allowance for a healthy person is 2000 to 3000 ORAC units. Recent studies have revealed that a majority of people do not even get the minimum recommended dose from their everyday diets. A handful of acai berries goes a long way towards rectifying this deficiency. The ORAC of a single serving of acai berries comes to over 7000, which is enough to satisfy the body’s anti-oxidant needs for over 3 days.
Anti-oxidants work by neutralizing free radicals. These free radicals are the result of a process called oxidation, wherein the body’s natural respiration and metabolizing of oxygen causes the production of oxygen ions and peroxides, known as reactive oxygen. Cells exposed to these free radicals undergo what is known as oxidative stress. It is this stress damages the cells in a myriad of ways, and is believed to be responsible not just for aging, but for a whole host of age-related diseases and conditions such as cancers, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and atherosclerosis. Free radicals are also thought to be responsible for causing inflammation and apoptosis, or the death of cells. Acai is not only an effective source of anti-oxidants, but also a very fast acting one. In one study, people who took acai juice were shown to have a much higher blood antioxidant capacity only two hours after drinking. Such quick acting potency is one of the reasons that are behind acai’s growing reputation as an anti-aging food.
The link between anthocyanins and cancer is currently being thoroughly explored by scientists and researchers. After promising results in lab and animal testing, human trials have now begun to test their effect on tumors of the esophagus, prostate, and colon. Extracts from the acai berry have been shown to slow down the growth of leukemia cells, and promote lower levels of bad cholesterol.
Despite all of the acai berry’s benefits, many unscrupulous attempts to make a quick profit on it have resulted in many so called acai-derived products on the market. Oftentimes, these products either contain very little acai or use acai that has been improperly stored and handled, which destroys all of its nutritional content. This has resulted in acai getting an undeserved reputation as just another ‘fad’ food. Consumers are advised to be wary of such products, and look only for pure acai coming from trusted sources. In keeping with Roarganics’ mission of promoting the best natural food options, we supply our customers with only the purest acai powder, with its nutritional value perfectly preserved by the employment of a revolutionary freeze drying process.