Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Antioxidant Properties of Acai

What are free radicals?

Free Radicals are produced by the body due to exposure to harmful elements in the environment like:

· Smoking ( second-hand smoke included )

· Eating salt-cured, pickled and smoked foods

· Daily eating of different kinds of food with preservatives like tocino

· Artificial colorings

· Engine exhaust

· Exposure to UV radiation of sunlight

· Exposure to heavy metal products of fossil fuel combustion such as nickel, arsenic and lead

· Exposure to pesticides

Why is it harmful to the body?

Free radicals are harmful to the body because they reduce oxygen delivery which leads to rapid depletion of energy stores. Increased production of these free radicals results in more cell death.

Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly and eventually die if this occurs. Cumulative damage which would eventually lead to the body`s loss of functionality, and ultimately death.

Free radical damage within cells has been linked to a range of disorders including: cancer, arthritis, heart disease and stroke, Alzheimer's disease , diabetes, premature aging, hypertension, and sepsis.

To prevent free radical damage, the body has a defense system in the form of antioxidants.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and thus prevent body cell damage. They slow down the process of aging by preventing free radicals from oxidizing sensitive biological molecules or reducing the formation of free radicals.

Antioxidants are also known to help maintain the immune system which makes our body fight diseases like common colds caused by viruses. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent which helps alleviate symptoms of arthritis.

The body has several enzyme systems that counteract the effects of free radicals. However, the principle micronutrient (vitamin) antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C is not synthesized by the body so they must be supplied in the diet.

What are the sources of antioxidants?

The antioxidant chemicals found in many food-stuffs are frequently cited as the basis of claims for the benefits of a high intake of vegetables and fruits in the diet. One example of this is the acai.

About the fruit

The açai palm are native to tropical Central and South America, growing mainly in floodplains and swamps.

Acai palms are fast growing, and are cultivated for both their fruits and for their superior hearts of palm. The fruit is described as a small, round, black-purple drupe similar in appearance and size of grape but with less pulp. Two crops of fruit are produced each year. The fruit has a single large seed.

Global demand for the fruit has expanded rapidly in recent years due to its active components known to have antioxidant properties which protect the body from free radicals.


The acai berry contains the following flavonoids which have potent antioxidant properties:


These are mostly contained in the freeze dried pulp and skin of the fruit. It belongs to a group of phytochemicals which are known to reduce incidences of heart disease

The primary anthocyanin contained in the acai berry has been found out to be 3.5 times stronger than that found in red wine thus giving the acai berry more than 30 times the antioxidant component of red wine. Anti-inflammatory properties were also found in anthocyanins.


These are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and stabilize collagen and elastin, which are proteins in the connective tissue that support organs, joints, blood vessels, muscles.

Other Flavonoids

Twelve other flavonoids such as homoorientin, orientin, taxifolin, deoxyhexose, isovitexin, scoparin, proanthocyanidins , and resveratrol gives the fruit over 80% of its antioxidant effect. This explains the highly antioxidant properties of the fruit.

What are the other good things about acai berry?

Acai berry also contains the following which are essential for maintaining proper health and nutrition:

· Oleic acid or Omega 9, a monounsaturated essential fatty acid, which helps in lowering the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) without lowering the level of good cholesterol (HDL).

· Linoleic acid or Omega 6, a polyunsaturated essential fatty acid considerably healthy, also found to lower the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body.

· Oleic, Linoleic and Palmitic acid are fatty acids which help in the transportation and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, and K).

· The powdered form contains vitamin C, calcium, iron, and vitamin A, as well as aspartic acid and glutamic acid.

· Beta-sitosterol, a phytosterol, which helps in the reduction in the amount of blood plasma cholesterol in the body.

· The amino acids in the fruit are important in the synthesis of proteins.

To fully benefit from acai, you need to choose the best preparation in the market. There is the juice form and the capsule from. The trouble with acai juice is that it has to be mixed with other fruit juices to improve its taste. It leaves only a few percentage of the acai you are buying. In addition, preservatives have to be put into it to prolong its shelf life. If you want maximum benefits from acai, it is wiser to opt for the capsule form which contains 100% acai. It requires no preservatives and other stabilizers.


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