Properties of acai
Acai Euterpe oleracea Mart. is a palm tree from the tropical regions of South America, particularly Brazil, and from the botanical family Arecaceae. It grows in the marshy areas of the Amazon estuary. Its purple fruits are just like the cranberry or blueberry called "red berries”. For the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, the acai berry is an essential food used since pre-Columbian times for its invigorating properties in case of diabetes, fever, haemorrhages, or to fight against malaria and skin diseases. Its multiple virtues give it the nickname of "tree of life” by Brazilians. Acai is found in Suriname, Guyana, on the Pacific coast of Colombia and northern Ecuador as well as in northeastern Venezuela. The acai palm Euterpe oleracea is also consumed for its palm hearts which constitute the apex.
Over the past twenty years, the acai market has experienced very strong growth due to a craze for the exceptional energy and antioxidant qualities of its berries. Considered a superfood, acai is sought after by athletes as a booster and is a major ingredient in nutraceuticals.
Acai is rich in nutrients, proteins and trace elements and indeed contains very high levels of antioxidants in the form of polyphenols. The latter contain flavonoids responsible for the purple pigmentation of the berries, the anthocyanins, 3.29 g per 100 g of dry matter. Their anti-radical and anti-aging properties place acai as a top fruit with excellent principal actives. Acai also increases immune defenses based on its content of ellagic acid.
Acai thus reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, protects against hypertension and bad cholesterol thanks to its omega 9 and 6. Its high fiber content improves intestinal transit and it has a large content of B1, B2, B3, C and E vitamins. To these are added amino acids, minerals potassium, calcium and iron as well as a large proportion of vegetable fats (palmitic acid, beta-sisterol).
In addition to this extraordinary nutritional richness, one of the health benefits of acai is that it contains very little sugar and regulates blood sugar. It thus promotes weight loss, particularly thanks to its fibers, 30g per 100g of dry matter, which generate an appetite suppressant effect and creates a feeling of satiety. As acai is difficult to store, fresh acai is usually found frozen in puree form, or in tablets, powder or juice.
A superfood ingredient, acai represents a formidable nutraceutical ally because it provides resistance and vitality to athletes and people wishing to regain energy. Acaí provides the energy essential for physical effort and facilitates muscle activity thanks to its minerals and trace elements.
 CIALDELLA, Nathalie et ALVES, Livia Navegantes. La ruée vers l'«açaí»(Euterpe oleracea Mart.): trajectoires d'un fruit emblématique d'Amazonie. Revue Tiers Monde, 2014, no 4, p. 119-135.
 KANG, Jie, THAKALI, Keshari M., XIE, Chenghui, et al. Bioactivities of açaí (Euterpe precatoria Mart.) fruit pulp, superior antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to Euterpe oleracea Mart. Food Chemistry, 2012, vol. 133, no 3, p. 671-677.
 LICHTENTHÄLER, Ramona, RODRIGUES, Roberta Belandrino, MAIA, José Guilherme S., et al. Total oxidant scavenging capacities of Euterpe oleracea Mart.(Acai) fruits. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2005, vol. 56, no 1, p. 53-64.
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