Look on internet to find out about açaí [ah-sigh-ee], and you will see tons of websites doing advertising, selling products made with the fruit, and lots of doctors recommending it. Yes, the popular Amazonian fruit became a SUPERFOOD in USA. Considered one of the healthiest and most powerful foods in the world, because of the amount of antioxidants, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, açaí can improve cardiovascular health, promote a healthy digestive system, reduce cholesterol, increase brain function, decrease the risk of cancer and diminish the signs of aging.Now, more than ever, when the world is surrounded by genetic modified food, hormones and antibiotics everywhere, conscious people are searching for alternatives to improve their health through natural sources.
After visiting some local health food stores, I found at least three different brands selling the fruit pulp or juice. Wondering which was the basic difference, I found out that a brand called Amazon Mania Acai distincts from others because they don’t pasteurize their product. The process of pasteurization diminishes the real flavor of Acai and also makes the Acai lose its real taste. This process involves heating foods to ultra high temperatures rapidly which destroys essential vitamins contained in the food. Ultra heat treatment works in the same manner. This process is used to extend the shelf life of foods and to destroy any bacteria contained in them but, at the same time, it deteriorates many essential nutrients,such as vitamin C, A, B1, B2, B6, D, E, folic acid, inositol, pantothenic acid and amino acids such as lysine and threomine. As these vitamins are water soluble, they pass through our digestive system through our urine and need to be replaced daily. "Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer." says Barbara Ingham, Ph.D., associate professor and extension food scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
How to consume açaí and why is it called "superfood"? Based on Dr. Nicholas Perricone, famous doctor from Oprah and a best-selling author that declares açaí as number one of the “Top Ten Superfoods”, we should take açaí pulp instead of ready-to-drink sweetened beverages. Açaí pulp contains ten times more antioxidants than red grapes and ten to thirty times the anthocyanins of red wine; a synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats [Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9], dietary fiber, and phytosterols, to help promote cardiovascular system and digestive tract health. It also has an almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital to muscles. To top it off, açaí is also a great source of calcium, vitamin E and iron.
Be creative and try different recipes with açaí! Amazon Mania Açaí has it raw too, without any sugar os preservatives. You you can either blend the pulp with your favorite fruit and/or juice, or eat it in the Brazilian style, as we call "açaí na tigela" (in the bowl) mixed with your favorite fruit, and protein powder, as a healthy snack. Bom apetite!