You don’t have to look far before you’re inundated with ads or articles extolling the virtues of an acai berry juice diet plan or something similar. The acai berry, a South American fruit, resembles a grape but is reported to taste like a mix of berries and chocolate. The small purple berry has landed on a number of superfood lists because of the nutrients it contains, and fans of the acai berry diet claim it can lower cholesterol, burn fat at an accelerated rate, protect against allergies, prevent cancer and heart disease, and stop aging in its tracks. While it’s impossible for the diet to provide all of the benefits proponents says it does, acai can help in some areas.
Benefits of Acai Berries
The acai berry contains several nutrients found to be beneficial to your health. In addition to vitamins A and C, the fruit contains:
Omega -3, -6, and -9
Essential fatty acids (EFA)
Antioxidants help neutralize the potentially damaging effects of free radicals on cells. Studies indicate people who consume fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants have a lower risk of developing heart disease, neurological disorders, and some cancers. Essential fatty acids are needed by the body for proper functioning. Lack of EFAs has been linked to the development of several diseases, including osteoporosis, depression, and skin problems. Anthocyanin is a type of flavonoid with neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties that may improve depression, anxiety, neurodegenerative disorders, and possibly some cancerous conditions. A study conducted in 2006 found acai berry extract triggered the death switch in some leukemia cells, which was attributed to the presence of anthocyanin.
About the Diet
Contrary to its name, the acai berry diet is not a formally structured diet plan. Rather, people are only expected to supplement their existing diets with acai berry juice, pills, and other supplements containing the fruit. Marketing materials promoting these products claim the berry has properties that cause rapid weight loss. In reality, the only substance the fruit has that may help a person lose weight is fiber, which:
Slows the digestive process so that you feel fuller longer
Helps to stabilize blood sugar levels
Promotes more regular bowel movements
Acai berries are actually high in calories and fat. Other forms of the berry, such as juice, may be lower in calories, but such processing can eliminate some of the benefits associated with the fruit. Even while consuming acai berry products, you must follow a low-calorie diet and exercise program to successfully lose weight.
Consuming acai berry diet pills may net you the health benefits of the fruit, but it is highly unlikely they will help you lose weight alone. You are more likely to drop the pounds if you also reduce your daily calorie intake and participate in regular aerobic exercise. A healthy diet for weight loss should contain foods from all the main food groups. Here is a brief guide to foods you could incorporate into a healthy acai berry diet:
Fruits: Apples, pears, bananas, strawberries, grapes
Vegetables: Spinach, green peppers, broccoli, snap peas, carrots (Read about the health benefits of spinach)
Lean Meats: Turkey, chicken, lean-cut beef
Grains: Brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread
Dairy: Low-fat milk, cottage cheese, yogurt