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Açai is difficult to pick from the tall palm trees where it grows.
Updated: August 19, 2021
In the humid forests of northern South America, the inhabitants of the Amazon River collect the açai fruit – also called asaí – in their baskets every day, a fruit very rich in antioxidants strong>, which favors the absorption of nutrients, and which is attributed anti-aging properties ; in fact, the Amazon Indians who consume it on a daily basis are distinguished by their longevity. This berry is born from the Euterpe oleracea palm tree –which grows in Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, French Guiana, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela–, and which reaches 20 meters in height, which is why Harvesting its fruits, which is usually done by hand, becomes a complicated and dangerous task.
The açai berry is round, dark purple in color and small in size, about 10 to 14 millimeters. Only 10% of it can be consumed, which is the one that corresponds to the pulp, the remaining 90% is seed. In addition, it is a very perishable food, so for its export it is necessary to transport it in refrigerated or freezer chambers, and if this aspect is not taken care of, its nutritional value can decrease. Its peculiarities make it more difficult to buy because, although they are already on the rise, there are still few establishments that have it available.
Because of its flavor and properties, açai is widely consumed by athletes, who ingest it after training to recover lost energy
The fruit of this palm tree has become fashionable in recent years due to its use for the preparation of the well-known smoothiebowls , smoothies that are served in a bowl with fruits and seeds. This was the fruit chosen for its great nutritional properties, for its delicious flavor, and for its characteristic purple color, which makes its presentation worthy of an Instagram photo.
Properties and benefits of açai for health
Açai has always been used by the Amazonian ethnic groups, both to feed themselves and to cure ailments and diseases, and it is estimated that the inhabitants of the Amazon River drink up to two liters of açai a day . In Brazil, the oil of this fruit is used to treat diarrhea; the roots are usually cooked to make an infusion against jaundice, and the infusion of the berries of this palm tree helps heal wounds and ulcers on the skin. It is also often used as a remedy for fever, leishmaniasis, and even snake bites.
Açai has become fashionable to prepare the famous smoothiebowls, smoothies that are served in a bowl with fruits and seeds.
But beyond the traditional uses of açai, some studies, although still very scarce, have shown that the properties of the nutritional components of this fruit make it an interesting food : < / p>
- High content in flavonoids : about 44g of anthocyanins for every 100 of açai, antioxidants that give this fruit its characteristic color. It has between 15 and 30 times more concentration of flavonoids than red wine, which help protect the body from harmful agents.
- Improves cardiovascular health : its content in fiber, phytosterols and monounsaturated fats improves circulation and, according to a study, it has an antioxidant effect on blood and plasma.
- It has more protein than eggs : açai is a good source of organic vegetable protein, which does not produce cholesterol during digestion and is more assimilable than the rest. For this reason, it is an option that is increasingly included in the diets of athletes.
- Large amount of fiber : this carbohydrate helps the digestive system to perform its function and can reduce the risk of intestinal and colon diseases.
- Omega 3, 6 and 9: açai is rich in these essential fatty acids that are so important for good health, as it helps create and repair cell membranes and process other lipids. li>
- Vitamins A, B and C : that strengthen the immune system , provide energy and improve the appearance of the skin.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), açai has between 1.25% and 4.34% dry weight of protein, between 7.6% and 11% fat, between 1% and 25% of sugar, 0.050% of calcium, 0.0009% of iron and 0.033 of phosphorus, and its caloric content varies between 88 to 265 calories for every 100 grams of this fruit.
How to take açai
Açai, as we have said, is a fruit of which only a small part is used. According to the FAO, this fruit is sold as frozen pulp, in juice, in jelly, in powder, or in tablets, and is usually used in ice cream, cakes, chocolates, smoothies, or in energy bars, usually mixed with guarana to increase its energy input.
Açai powder can be added to juices, milk, yogurts, or included in numerous cooking recipes.
The taste of açai is pleasant and sweet, they say that it is similar to that of chocolate mixed with berries or grapes with raspberries , and it is an exotic flavor that seems to hook, because everything the one who tries it repeats. Due to its flavor and properties, it is widely consumed by athletes, who ingest it after training to regain lost energy.
Açai powder can be added to juices, milk, yogurts, or in food during its preparation. If you are one of the lucky few who can access the raw fruit of the palm tree, feel free to include it in your desserts and smoothiebowls, as if they were blueberries or cherries.
Although there are still few establishments that sell açai products, large supermarkets include an increasingly wide range of exotic products, where this fruit is usually found.
Contraindications of açai
All the formats in which the açai is presented are considered safe, as no incidents have been reported as a result of its ingestion, nor have adverse effects been found in studies carried out for this purpose. However, in the case of pregnant or lactating women, or in children under 12 years of age, it is advisable to consult a doctor before starting to take this fruit on a regular basis, so that it is this specialist who determines if It is convenient based on the clinical history.
It also does not seem to interfere with the use of medications, although if you are going to have an MRI, you should warn of the consumption of açai, as it can alter the results of this test. In addition, in the case of acquiring preparations that in addition to this fruit contain mixtures of other substances, such as guarana, it must be known that excessive consumption can affect health.
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