Long a staple of the South American diet, the acai berry is now world-famous for a long list of health benefits. But what exactly are the ways the tiny acai berry benefits the human body? According to the U.K.’s the Daily Mail acai is “renowned for aiding in weight loss.”

Recently, Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, said she keeps her figure svelte with the help of this exotic Amazonian fruit. The 40-something year old mother of four is a consummate health fiend, often tweeting about her latest ‘obsession’. (By the way, if you’ve ever wondered how to pronounce “acai,” it’s “ah-sah-EE.”)

It’s safe to say, then, that the singer-turned-fashionista has discovered the super powers behind superfoods. And, after her tweet, sales of acai-based supplements increased exponentially as her advice helped make others aware of this powerful, pint-sized berry.
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Stylish and often pouty, ex-Posh prefers to eat acai in pulp form – whereas many, including several other celebs, enjoy a powdered version they mix with other superfoods. (To learn more about acai powders and how they can liven up your diet, check out our article Five Ways to Enjoy an Acai Bowl.)
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Not to mention, Oprah Winfrey says acai berries are on her “Top 10 Superfoods” list. Keep in mind that the berries rot quickly, which is why acai is often consumed as a juice, supplement, or powder – forms that can be mixed into über-delicious fruit shakes.

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So what exactly are these acai berry benefits?

Found in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, the acai berry has been a staple of the South American diet for a pretty long time. The small, purplish blue berry grows on Acai palm trees. And probably the No. 1 benefit of the acai berry is it is replete with antioxidants, specifically anthocyanin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties.

As the name implies, antioxidants can counteract the damaging but normal effects of oxidation. Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as enzymes (proteins in your body that assist in chemical reactions). They are believed to play a role in preventing the development of such chronic illnesses as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and cataracts.

Anthocyanin, specifically, appears to improve cholesterol levels and blood-sugar metabolism, as well as fight oxidative stress, which can induce heart disease and strokes.  These flavonoids are also found in herbal treatments for urinary-tract infections and high blood pressure. (Editor’s note: I personally LOVE Healthforce’s Antioxidant Extreme and have included it in my must-have five pack.)

According to the Mayo Clinic, benefits of the acai berry also include great fiber and heart-healthy fats like omega 6 and 9. The berries are also a good source of potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium. And they contain B-complex vitamins and vitamin K. This is one small berry (about one centimeter in diameter) that packs a big punch!

Moreover, the acai berry benefits the skeletal and muscular systems with its anti-inflammatory properties. So many of our diseases stem from inflammation, and it’s truly easy to eat foods that irritate the body (Read “9 Foods That Cause Inflammation”). So it’s a great plus that this fruit can help quell that fire.
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One of the more popular benefits of acai berry products is that they supposedly curb the appetite while giving you a boost of energy. But upon doing a little bit of digging, it’s not that simple. With all due respect, no one is going to shed pounds in a sustainable way just by eating a teeny-tiny berry. Indeed, no scientific research to date supports claims that weight loss ranks among the long list of other acai berry benefits, yet many, including the U.K.’s The Daily Mail, continue to assert acai has the ability to correct such problems.
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What acai does do, however, is open you up to a completely new way of eating; it is a stepping-off point to basing your diet around eating several kinds of super-charged foods. So look at the possible (not guaranteed) weight loss as a byproduct of getting rid of toxins, eliminating wannabe foods from your diet, and replacing these (often health-destroying) food substitutes with superfoods.

“Several studies have established that diets high in fruits and vegetables increase antioxidant activity. In addition, research has indicated that the fruit of the acai palm has significant antioxidant properties. However, this does not mean that eating high amounts of acai fruit is a magic bullet leading to weight loss,” says Ashley Harris, a registered dietitian. ‘

Harris reminds us that, time and time again, those who change their daily eating patterns to include more fruits, vegetables, high-fiber grains and legumes, healthier fats, and fewer calories, while increasing their physical activity, are most successful at losing weight and keeping it off.
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Incorporating acai berries in your diet is certainly a great first step on your journey toward better health; but remember, don’t treat it as a magic bullet. Watch the video below and discover even more health benefits of acai. The findings were based on a recent evidence-based, systemic review.
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Meanwhile, this video also reveals that many supplements claim they use acai, when in fact a close study of their ingredients shows they don’t include it at all. So know your source!

YouTube video

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