Acai berries grow on acai palm trees in Brazil. The dark purple berry is about the same size as a grape and, like most berries, contains many nutrients. Only 10 percent of the acai berry is edible. The other 90 percent is the pit. The acai berry is popular in its native country of Brazil, but was relatively unknown in the rest of the world until it hit news shows.
Acai Berry Claims
Because the acai berry is rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids and antioxidants, it is touted to help with boosting energy, boosting stamina, promoting restful sleep, promoting weight loss, protecting against heart disease and increasing libido.
Since the acai berry is rich in nutrients, many companies tout it as a new weight loss food. Some of these companies may exaggerate the benefits of the acai berry in helping with weight loss. While the acai berry does provide several nutrients that help in weight loss and increase metabolism, care should be taken when using acai products for weight loss.
Forms of the Acai Berry
The acai berry spoils within 24 hours of being picked. To keep the berry longer, it must be preserved. You can preserve the acai berry in supplements (freeze dry the fruit to create supplements), by freezing, with preserves and by creating juice drinks from the berry.
Destroying the Nutrients
Methods of processing other than freeze drying (spray drying, drum drying) use high heat, which destroys the nutrients in the acai berry. If the acai products (pulp, juices) are mixed with other ingredients such as sugars, caffeine or other juices, the benefits of the acai berry become neutralized.
FDA and the Acai Berry
The FDA checks claims made by companies selling the acai berry or juices. If it is found that the company advertises the medical properties of the berry, they will forward a letter to the company regarding its actions. According to the FDA, the acai berry is regulated as a drug.