Acai berry: A more powerful antioxidant than blueberry with great health benefits?
Have you ever heard about Acai berry?
The scientific name of Acai berry is Euterpe oleracea. It is also known as acai, or Amazon acai berry. The acai palm tree is native to the northern area of Brazil and produce purple berries called acai. Acai berry has been consumed since ancient times by native Brazilians of that region as a functional food and dietary supplements due to its excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Acai berry is in rich of anthocyanins (cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside), proanthocyanins, other flavonoids and lignans. These phytochemicals contributes to antioxidant activity of Acai berry. The total anthocyanins amount of Acai berry is 3.1919 mg/g dry weight3. The total proanthocyanins amount of Acai berry is 12.89 mg/g dry weight. However, the total anthocyanins amount of fresh blueberry is higher than Acai berry, 7.2 mg/g dry weight. Acai berry still has higher antioxidants activity than blueberry due to its ORAC value is higher than blueberry. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorption capacity that measures the degree of peroxy-radical-induced oxidation inhibition as an indication of antioxidant activity level. According to USDA data, the total ORAC value of Acai berry is 102700 while the total ORAC value of blueberry is 96215. Beyond anthocyanins and flavonoids, Acai berry also contains unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that’s contributes to its antioxidant activity. Compare with blueberry, Acai berry has higher polyunsaturated fatty acids than blueberry, which contribute to higher antioxidant activity according to Canadian nutrition files
So what are the health benefits from its high antioxidant activity?
Recent study shows in women, serum protein carbonyl decreased after 200g acai berry intake per day with serum protein thiol levels increased to confirm the effect of acai berry in oxidative damage. Another research shows that after six weeks’ consumption of the acai berry-based juice blend, the total antioxidant capacity of plasma increased with an improvement of lipid profile, and moderate alleviation of the exercise-induced muscle damage. Acai berry is an excellent fruit for athletes!
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2. Tacer-Caba, Z. (2019). Chapter 3 - The concept of superfoods in diet. In C. M. Galanakis (Ed.), The Role of Alternative and Innovative Food Ingredients and Products in Consumer Wellness (pp. 73-101). Academic Press. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-816453-2.00003-6
3. Schauss, A. G., Wu, X., Prior, R. L., Ou, B., Patel, D., Huang, D., & Kababick, J. P. (2006). Phytochemical and nutrient composition of the freeze-dried amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (acai). J Agric Food Chem, 54(22), 8598-8603. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf060976g
4. Lohachoompol, V., Srzednicki, G., & Craske, J. (2004). The Change of Total Anthocyanins in Blueberries and Their Antioxidant Effect After Drying and Freezing. Journal of biomedicine & biotechnology, 2004(5), 248-252. https://doi.org/10.1155/S1110724304406123
5. Haytowitz, D., & Bhagwat, S. (Eds.). (2010, May). USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). http://www.orac-info-portal.de/download/ORAC_R2.pdf
6. Sadowska-Krępa, E., Kłapcińska, B., Podgórski, T., Szade, B., Tyl, K., & Hadzik, A. (2015). Effects of supplementation with acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry-based juice blend on the blood antioxidant defence capacity and lipid profile in junior hurdlers. A pilot study. Biology of sport, 32(2), 161-168. https://doi.org/10.5604/20831862.1144419
7. Health Canada. (2021, September 8). Nutrient profile blueberry raw. Government of Canada. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://food-nutrition.canada.ca/cnf-fce/report-rapport.do