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acai berry: oprah likes it

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Most individuals would have to live under a rock to not have heard the rage over acai berries and their advertised health benefits. Television reporters have done numerous exposes on everything from acai berry cleanses to utilizing the acai berry supplements for weight loss. Dr. Oz hit a record number of viewers in early 2012 when he went on the air and made claim that the acai berry was fantastic for weight loss, immune functioning and as a supplemental treatment for many diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular illnesses. An Internet search will turn up millions of links showing the seemingly thousands of benefits of this ‘miracle’ berry. So how do we separate faction from fiction? Read on to get the real skinny on acai berry.

The acai berry derives from the acai palm which is found in Central and South America. Because the berry has many antioxidant properties as well as other essential nutrients such as anthocyanins and flavonoids, this small and purple or red berry is indeed very healthy and beneficial to the body. The latter nutrients are pivotal in helping the body fight off natural stress which in turn produces free radicals that can be harmful to the body and its productivity.

By incorporating foods with the nutrients above, it is thought that the aging process can be slowed down and that the cells within the body can be replenished by ingesting antioxidants. Additionally, when free radicals are warded off, we are less likely to develop many diseases such as cancer and heart related diseases.

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While other fruits such as cranberries, strawberries and blueberries also contain anthocyanins and flavonoids, as well as antioxidants, the acai berry produces these components in higher amounts which is why they are specifically cited as being among one of the most beneficial fruits today. There are virtually hundreds of thousands of studies that have clinically proven that antioxidants are beneficial to the body, and therefore there is a lot of truth to the claims that acai berry can be an essential part of one’s daily diet.

Acai Berry and Weight Loss

Here is where the research is a little murky. Unlike studies that have proven that the acai berry is beneficial because of its antioxidants, the studies related to weight loss are less conclusive and the results are varied. Studies on the effects of the acai berry and weight loss really propelled in the year 2008; within the following year the sales of products that advertised weight loss ballooned to over $108 million dollars and soon to follow were a host of herbalists, metaphysical practitioners and talk show hosts including Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey, were all citing acai berry as a fast, effective and quick way to shed pounds.

The acai berry diet was and still remains quite popular which essentially promotes a low calorie menu as well as acai supplements which can be found at most nutritional stores. Other variations include the acai berry cleanses as well as other vitamins that contain acai berry, amino acids and phytosterols which supposedly help to boost metabolism, increase the digestion process and act as an appetite suppressant.

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To date however, the true medical community has yet to publish any factual and clinical data that proves acai berries will promote weight loss and many of the pills, cleanses and juice detoxes are very expensive. Additionally, since millions were flocking to the acai berry as a quick fix to weight issues, it opened the door for thousands of con artists to develop acai berry scams, some of which are dangerous to take and ingest.

It is more likely that those who have lost pounds while on an acai diet are doing so because of the vastly reduced caloric intake, rather than the acai berry itself.

What has been proven though is that there are healthy benefits to acai berries. There are clinical journals published which have shown that by incorporating the acai berry into one’s diet that digestion may improve, cardiovascular health can improve, and many saw improvements in their overall immunity health.

Some have reported that their concentration increases with acai berry supplements as well as many citing that their mental clarity has also sharpened.

Health Dangers

Thus far there are few side effects if any associated with the acai berry. Most who have taken it have reported no harsh side effects, other than losing a lot of money on scams and being disappointed that they didn’t shed a massive amount of weight as promised.

There have been some reports from those who have allergies or sensitivities to pollen or berries similar to the acai of rashes and stomach irritation, but otherwise it is medicinally safe to take in safe doses. As with any other supplement, it is wise to consult your physician before taking any new supplement.

 

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