A kata of acai berries, which are known to have a high number of beneficial antioxidants (image copyright Tambor, Inc.)

Antioxidants and Acai: What They Are and What They Do

Acai not only tastes great but is a well known super food.  It has unusually high amounts of beneficial Omega fats, proteins, minerals, and antioxidants.  There are more antioxidants in acai than in many other fruits and vegetables we find at the store.  Dr. Michael Greger lists it as having the most ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of antioxidants per dollar.  Or how we look at it, antioxidants per bowl.

What are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are natural protective molecules found in a number of natural foods.  1000’s of types exist in foods, herbs, and dark purple berries like acai.  They protect our body’s DNA from free radicals, which are damaging chemicals that can destabilize healthy cells, and left to their own can lead to all sorts of unwelcome diseases. Environmental pollution like cigarette smoking and unhealthy diets contribute to free radical production.

Why do antioxidants exist in plant foods?  Plants produce antioxidants to help defend themselves against pests and diseases.  In some plants these antioxidants can double as potent medicinal compounds for the animal or human consuming them.  Acai is one of those plants, and the antioxidants in acai are potent.

Antioxidants and Acai

Acai berry is well known for having a high number of antioxidants. Anthocyanin is a particularly powerful antioxidant in acai.  It is found in most red, blue, and purple fruits. According to a 2009 study “a growing body of evidence suggests anthocyanins may possess analgesic (painkilling)  properties in addition to neuroprotective and anti-inflamatory activities”.  In short, they benefit your body. Acai has plenty of them.

In fact, acai has hundreds of times more antioxidants than apples.  And when in the form of frozen smoothie packs or acai bowl it is a pleasure to eat.   We are looking at this classic adage in a new way:  An Acai Bowl a Day Keeps The Doctor Away.

Still more remains to be discovered about the purple berry from the Amazon.  A researcher from the University of Florida has stated that there are 50-75 active natural compounds in acai that have yet to be identified!  That is promising news indeed.