Acai berries, Latin name Euterpe oleracea, grow on the Acai palm, a tree commonly found in Brazil. Originally used by people in South America for its perceived health benefits, the acai berry has made its way into global markets as a popular health supplement touted for its weight-loss and anti-ageing properties.
What’s in Acai Berries?
According to a study published by the American Chemical Society in 2008, Acai oil pressed from the berries contain phenolic acids like vanillic acid, syringic acid, protocatechuic acid, ferulic acid, and high concentrations of acai pulp. The oil also contains numerous procyanidin polymers.
Health claims and medical support
The following list examines all the health claims attributed to acai berries and examines the scientific support available for each claim.
1) Acai berry extract or oil as a general health supplement:
The aforementioned study published by the American Chemical Society determined that high phenolic acid levels in acai berries could have benefits. The acai has also been a staple part of the diet of the people in the region where it is grown and contributes significantly to their nutritional needs. Eating normal portions of acai can provide your body with much-needed nutrients.
2) Acai berry extract or oil as anti-cancerous property:
Laboratory studies have proved that the acai berry demonstrates anti-cancerous properties, and could be beneficial for the treatment of certain cancers in some developmental stages.
3) Acai berry extract or oil as anti-inflammatory treatment:
Some studies have shown that acai berries do contain anti-inflammatory properties, which may help promote good cardiac health as it would keep blood vessels from constricting and causing blockages.
4) Acai berry extract or oil as antioxidants:
Another popular claim that has circulated about the acai berry is that it has antioxidant properties. Another study published by the American Chemical Society states that the phenolic acids present in the berry act as antioxidants. While acai berry juice contains more antioxidants than apple juice, iced tea, orange juice, and cranberry juice, there are more antioxidants to be found in Concord grape juice, blueberry juice, black cherry juice, and red wine.
All in all, scientific studies tend to show that while acai berries, consumed in moderation or as a health supplement after consultation with a health professional, can be beneficial.