The acai berry is a fruit about as small as a grape and can be found predominantly in Brazil, particularly in the Amazon rainforest. The acai berry has slightly less pulp than a grape. In fact, only 10% of the fruit can be considered as berry; the other 90% of it are mostly seed and pit. The berries are being harvested by people in the Brazil region and are being used as food, most especially as part of their breakfast. It is a large part of the diet of people living in the Amazon area. More than that, the acai berry is also an important medicinal plant. For hundred of years, people of the Amazon have used this fruit to cure the more common ailments; it is even said to be part of the region’s folklore.

The acai berry first started to gain popularity in of Rio de Janeiro, a country that is thousands of miles away from the Amazon rainforest. The acai berry and its derivatives can be used to augment workouts and is particularly helpful in athletic activities. This is because the acai fruit is known to be a very effective energy booster. Just recently, the acai berry has also been gaining popularity in many other countries as well. In America, interest in this fruit has been increasing in the media, supported by medical professionals, scientists, and nutritionists. They have been raving about the many health benefits of the acai berry, its nutritional qualities, and its weight loss aiding properties.

The acai berry has been dubbed as a “superfruit” or a “superfood.” This is because the antioxidant properties of the acai berry are unsurpassed by any other fruit in the world. In truth, no fruit ever comes close to the free radical fighting ability and the total nutritional value of the acai berry. It is said to contain not only the largest amount of antioxidants than any other given fruit, but the acai berry reportedly contains the most number of different types of antioxidants and the most amount of percentage of some given antioxidant in one fruit. Besides the antioxidant elements, the acai fruit also contains the healthy fats (monounsaturated fats), iron, fiber, and amino acids.

However, there is one problem with the distribution of the acai berry, despite its increasingly high demand worldwide. The fruit spoils very easily – mostly just one day after harvesting. As the berry spends time off the tree after harvesting, the rapid decline of the fruit makes it lose much of its nutritional content and the antioxidant contents. This is basically the reason why you can’t find it on groceries in the United States or anywhere else. However, the manufacturers are now increasingly finding ways of packing and selling acai berry products, specifically for those weight loss watchers. One of the processes that is being used today to preserve the acai berry is to do freeze-drying of the fruit right on the site of harvest. It is then kept on a frozen state until it is delivered to the processing plant or other markets. This process still does not retain all the important nutritional qualities of the fruit but at least it is making it marketable. Much still needs to be studied about the acai berry and it will surely be scrutinized on a much larger scale these coming years.

By: Joseph Long

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