Acai berries are one of the super fruits that have been popular for a long time. Acai berries are grown in Brazil where the fruit has long been an important part of the diet. High in antioxidants Acai berries were soon picked up by the whole food and health food market. Claims that Acai berries also aided weight loss increased the fruits popularity and soon Acai juice was being added to juice mixes. Hope you enjoy these Acai berry photos, Paul Williams.
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Photos & Info About Acai berries
The açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea) is a species of palm tree in the genus Euterpe cultivated for their fruit and superior hearts of palm. The fruit, a small, round, black-purple is produced in branched panicles of 500 to 900 fruits.
The acai palm (Euterpe oleracea), pronounced ah-sah-ee, is a member of the Euterpe genus and is native to Central and South America, from Belize south to Brazil and Peru.The palms prefer to live in floodplains and swampland and grow to a height of 15-30 meters. The acai palm is very fast growing and is grown for its fruit and palm hearts which are eaten in salads. The acai fruit is about 25mm in diameter and grows on branches that support 800 or so acai fruits. When ripe the acai berry is a deep black purple colour with a large seed in the middle.
In the northern state of Pará, Brazil, açaí pulp is traditionally served in gourds called “cuias” with tapioca and, depending on the local preference, can be consumed either salty or sweet (sugar, rapadura, and honey are known to be used in the mix). Açaí has become popular in southern Brazil where it is consumed cold as açaí na tigela (“açaí in the bowl”), mostly mixed with granola. Açaí is also consumed in Brazil as an ice cream flavor or juice. The juice has also been used in a flavored liqueur. Since the 1990s açaí juice and extracts are used globally in various juice blends, smoothies, sodas, and other beverages.
Acai berries have been an important fruit to the inhabitants of the Amazon region of Brazil, originally as food and today as a cash crop. The acai berry in recent years have been shown to have antioxidant properties particularly when freeze dried, powdered or the essence extracted. It has also been associated with weight loss but this has not been confirmed in the US by the FDA.
Recently, the açaí fruit has been marketed as a dietary supplement. Companies sell açaí products in the form of tablets, juice, smoothies, yogurt, instant drink powders, and whole fruit. Many companies even mistakenly market the açaí fruits as berries.
Quackwatch noted that “açaí juice has only middling levels of antioxidants—less than that of Concord grape, blueberry, and black cherry juices, but more than cranberry, orange, and apple juices.” The extent to which polyphenols as dietary antioxidants may promote health is unknown as no credible evidence indicates any antioxidant role for polyphenols in vivo, In minute concentrations, polyphenols may affect cell-to-cell signaling, receptor sensitivity, inflammatory enzyme activity or gene regulation.
Apart from the use of its fruit as food or a flavoring in tequila, the açaí palm has other commercial uses. Leaves may be made into hats, mats, baskets, brooms and roof thatch for homes, and trunk wood, resistant to pests, for building construction. Tree trunks may be processed to yield minerals. The palm heart is widely exploited as a delicacy.
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