Acai berry diet

Stella Law
Monday, November 29, 2010
Watch the video above to see if the Acai berry really is the wonder food it's made out to be.

What is it?
Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a berry from the Amazonian palm tree with a long history of traditional usage in Brazil.

The berry shot to mainstream popularity after it was mentioned on the Oprah show where its powerful anti-oxidant qualities were highlighted. Oprah also mentioned that one of her tricks was to incorporate the berry in her diet.

What are the rules?

This isn't a diet as such. Rather, there is a trend for people to add the acai berry into a balanced diet or even a mainstream diet plan.

The berries' anti-oxidant effects are argued to be significantly higher than other anti-oxidant-rich foods, such as blueberries. Fans of the fruit boast weight loss isn't the only benefit, and that it also promotes a feeling of wellbeing.

Nutritionists have also noted the food boosts digestion, supports cardiovascular health, increases mental clarity, helps vision, minimises insomnia, and can even slow down the ageing process thanks to its rich levels of anti-oxidants.

VIEW GALLERY: World’s top 100 health foods

In terms of helping you stay slim, the berry has a good mix of essential fatty acids, amino acids and phytosterols that can speed up metabolism, enhance digestion and reduce appetite.

How do I sign up?
Acai isn't exactly as easy to find as a punnet of strawberries but they're often available at well-stocked organic and health food stores. Smoothie chains have also picked up on the trend, so look out for acai power juices!

Pros
There has been significant research that supports the claims of acai's high anti-oxidant levels. High levels of anti-oxidants can reduce the risk of diseases commonly associated with ageing, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Anti-oxidants are a great tool to slow down the ageing process, and acai berries are a great way to boost the nutritional value of your diet.

Cons

  • Acai is difficult to come by and can be expensive.
  • Claims made for actual weight loss haven't been proven.
  • No guidelines on how to incorporate the food into every-day diet.

The rating
The berry is a great addition to a healthy diet but in terms of shedding weight, it can't be relied upon.

For more information on acai go to www.oprah.com


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