Acai

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Açaí (scientific name Euterpe oleracea) is a well-known berry that grows on açaí palm trees native to Central and South America, where it has been used for centuries as a natural treatment for diarrhea. The berry is sometimes referred to as the Amazonian palm berry. Açaí palm trees require significant amounts of moisture, so they are mostly found in swamp land and flood plains. Açaí berries are popular food products known for their sweet, tart flavor and vibrant colors. Açaí is used raw in juice, jelly, ice cream, and even liquor. The berry’s vibrant color also makes it useful as a dye or colorant in manufacturing processes. Given its high antioxidant content and naturally occurring fatty acids, açaí is a popular natural treatment for inflammation, cancer, weight loss, diarrhea, allergies, detox, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, osteoarthritis, erectile dysfunction, anti-aging, hypercholesterolemia, and more.

Also known as:  Açaï, Acai Berry, Açaï d'Amazonie, Acai Extract, Acai Fruit, Acai Palm, Amazon Acai, Amazon Acai Berry, Assai, Assai Palm, Baie d'Açaï, Baie de Palmier Pinot, Cabbage Palm, Chou Palmiste, Extrait d'Açaï, Fruit d'Açaï, Palmier d'Açaï.

Diseases and Conditions

With arguably the highest antioxidant capacities of any food, this nutrient-rich superfood promotes strong immunity, which can help ward off colds and flus. In preliminary studies, Acai may also reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels in overweight individuals. Other uses include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Weight Loss
  • Obesity
  • Detoxification
  • Aging Skin
  • Metabolic Syndrome

Safety

Acai is safe when used orally in the short-term, although there is little known about its long-term use. There is insufficient information about the safety of acai among children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women; it is recommended to avoid using. Consuming acai may affect MRI test results. If you use acai and are scheduled for an MRI, let your healthcare provider know. Drinking raw acai juice has been associated with outbreaks of Chagas Disease.

Medication Interactions

Caution is recommended when using medications that lower blood sugar. Those who are also taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or taking insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional. Acai may also interact with medications meant for cancer, altering immune function, lowering cholestrol, and for radiocontrasting. Acai is not recommended while consuming caffeine or anti-inflammatory medications

Supplement and Food Interactions

There is a possibilty that Acai can lower blood sugar levels, which can cause adverse effects when combined with other supplements used to lower blood sugar. Acai may also interact with potassium, caffeine, and herbs and supplements meant to lower cholesterol, alter immune function, or counteract cancer, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories. 

Dosage

The recommended dosage of acai depends on the form of acai being ingested. Brazilians commonly consume up to a liter of acai juice on a daily basis. When used medicinally, the roots of the açaí palm tree should be prepared as a decoction of which one to two cups are taken daily. The recommended dosage of powdered acai is one ounce of powder mixed with ten to twelve ounces of water taken once or twice daily. The recommended dosage of freeze-dried açaí is one to two grams (in capsules or tablets) taken daily. 

Foods

The acai berry is harvested from the acai palm tree, which grows in the swamps of South and Central America. The berry can be eaten raw, turned into juice, or taken as a dietary supplement. Acai is found in many smoothies or bowls, combined with fruits. The roots of this tree are sometimes used medicinally as well.

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References

  1. http://www.chamberlins.com/ns/DisplayMonograph.asp?DocID=bottomline-acai&storeID=2CB86C7B36BE4CFD914079104818C49B
  2. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acai
  3. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/clinical-studies-on-acai-berries/
  4. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1109-acai.aspx?activeingredientid=1109
  5. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acai/ataglance.htm
  6. http://www.webmd.com/diet/acai-berry
  7. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/acai/faq-20057794?p=1
  8. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/references.aspx?productid=1109

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