Acai Research and Studies

Is there much acai research to indicate the health benefits of this South American berry?

Acai has quickly emerged as a food with a number of healthy qualities, but the nature of research has made the confirmation of its positive effect slow-coming. Nonetheless, modern medicine is beginning to "catch on" to the benefits of acai that others have long espoused.

One of the groups that have historically been devoted to acai is the population of Brazil, for whom acai is a staple food, and who are a very healthy group of people, relative to other groups. Brazilian people have long believed in the health benefits of acai, and have indeed relied upon it for the treatment of ailments from digestive issues to skin conditions.

Although acai research conducted on the effects of acai berry consumption is not yet extensive, the unique nutrient profile of this food and the positive outcomes with which it has been associated have been the subject of a number of recent studies.

A great deal of acai research on this berry has focused upon its antioxidant benefits. Many people are familiar with the term "antioxidant", but not with its role within the body; generally speaking, free radicals are the unstable compounds in the body that interfere with normal biological reactions. They cause changes in DNA and cells that can lead to cancer or other issues. Because acai has an exceptionally high antioxidant content, it is an important food in lowering one's risk of developing the conditions associated with oxidative damage. In one particular study, blood and urine samples taken 12 and 24 hours after consumption of acai showed significant increases in antioxidant activity in the blood.

In addition to its general antioxidant benefits, the nutrients and phytochemicals in acai have been studied due to their unusually high density. Notably, the role of acai berry in potential treatments of leukemia has been given a great deal of attention, as many have hypothesized that its unique properties have the potential to be quite influential in treating the disease. A remarkable University of Florida study showed that acai extracts triggered a self-destruct mechanism (apoptosis) in up to 86 percent of cultured cancer cells involved in the study (in particular, cells affected by leukemia).

Most recent acai research has focused upon the uptake of acai's beneficial compounds in the human body and how it might affect a variety of processes. There have been investigations into acai's possible effect upon blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other cardiovascular elements.

The body of research supporting the role of acai in the achievement of optimal health is certainly growing. Acai has traditionally been a rather difficult fruit to study because of its inability to grow in close proximity to laboratories in the US, and because its "superfood" benefits are largely dependent upon the freshness of the fruit.

Additionally, a number of people cite institutional political issues and the academic "status quo" as reasons why this amazing fruit has not been studied more aggressively through acai research. As technology and our capacity to study acai progresses, we will begin to develop a greater understanding of the science behind acai. Until then, the fact remains that this unique food has unparalleled health benefits, of which we have only begun to understand the scope.

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