What are Acai Berries?
They are known as acai bachche and in appearance and size they are often compared to the blueberry or grape. We’re actually talking about a exotic fruit typical of the amazon region once wild, botanically a drupe, i.e. a fleshy fruit with stone. In fact, Acai berries are more similar to fruits such as olives, apricots or peaches than to blueberries. But we know better the origin of this food, its properties and how to use it in the diet.
What are Acai Berries
Acai berries, or açaì, are small fruits that grow together in clusters on the fronds of theEuterpe Oleracea, a palm native to the northern area of the Amazon forest. They are similar to olives, reaching a maximum size of 1.5/2 centimetres, they have a thin and dark purple skin, a large stone which occupies about 80% of the fruit. The much advertised nutritional properties which are attributed to it, however, are all concentrated in the remaining 20% of pulp and peel.
For centuries these berries, known by the natives under the name of ica-cai or “fruit that weeps”, have been basis of nutrition for the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. And given the beneficial properties of its fruits, over time they have also conquered the label of superfood or fruit of life.
How to use these fruits
Acai berries are easily perishable, which is why they must be processed within 24 hours of collection. Once the seed has been removed, the pulp is pasteurized and then immediately frozen. Find the fresh product on the countersindeed, it is very difficult, at least here in Italy. On the other hand, it is easier to find Acai berry pulp (to be served mixed with creams and yogurt), dried or powdered berries or, again, already incorporated into juices, supplements and drinks.
Acai oil in cosmetics
Acai oil is extracted from the pulp of the berries and, although edible even raw, it is mainly used in cosmetics. Like other vegetable oils, Acai oil also has emollient properties, useful for hydration, with calming and restructuring effects on the skin.
Acai berries for weight loss: the questionable benefits
Acai fruits boast excellent properties and benefits for health human and, very often, are “highly recommended” as slimming food. To date, however, there is no scientific evidence to support this thesis and, more generally, the benefits brought about by the consumption of Acai berries are still under evaluation. Therefore, many of the properties of these fruits are mainly attributed to them for commercial purposes. Precisely for this reason, much Internet advertising has been defined as fraudulent and some companies that promote the sale of food supplements based on Acai berries have been heavily sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission.
So far, the scientifically documented effects only prove that the pulp of the fruit has a very high antioxidant capacity. But we will still have to be patient to know the real benefits of these fruits.