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Monday, May 7, 2007

Superfood No. 1: Açaí

Nature's Energy Fruit

It may seem odd to start this list of superfoods with one you’ve likely never even heard of. But studies have shown that this little berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world! Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) is the high-energy berry of a special Amazon palm tree. Harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, açaí tastes like a vibrant blend of berries and chocolate. Hidden within its royal purple pigment is the magic that makes it nature's perfect energy fruit. Açaí is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Although açaí may not be available in your local supermarket, you can find it in several health food and gourmet stores (often in juice form). A new product featuring the unsweetened pulp is now also available, and I highly recommend that you choose this form of açaí.Açaí pulp contains:A remarkable concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
An almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.
The fatty acid content in açaí resembles that of olive oil, and is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid is important for a number of reasons. It helps omega-3 fish oils penetrate the cell membrane; together they help make cell membranes more supple. By keeping the cell membrane supple, all hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently. This is particularly important because high insulin levels create an inflammatory state, and we know, inflammation causes aging.

Since the Acai Berry is so perishable we are not able to go to the local fruit market and buy a basket of Acai berries. The good news is, companies like Sambazon have developed a process to export frozen Acai pulp and freeze dried Acai powder.
The highest quality Acai supplements will be made with Sambazon freeze dried acai. Spray dried and "extract" Acai supplements should be avoided at all costs.

When it comes to pure Acai, one company stands head and shoulders above all others – it is Sambazon.
(Image: Acai roots, excerpts Dr.Perricone's superfoods)

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