Thursday, October 1, 2009

Is Acai really worth the hype????

Reportedly many years ago an Amazon Indian tribe grew so large that there wasn't enough food to go around. So the tribal chief devised a plan to stretch the food supply... He decreed that all newborn babies should be killed.
When his own daughter, Iaca, gave birth to a baby, he was afraid to show partiality. So tragically, Iaca's baby was killed along with all the other newborn infants.
Iaca went into solitary confinement, mourning her baby's death alone in her hut for days.
After many days, she thought she heard a baby cry, and went into the jungle in search of the baby. What she found instead was a huge palm tree deep in the jungle, shooting toward the sky, literally blanketed with dark-colored fruit.
Realizing that if this food source had been discovered earlier she would still be cuddling her dear baby, she leaned against the tree in total desperation and died.
The next day the tribes people went in search of Iaca, and discovered her body there under the tree... Along with the food supply that could have saved her baby and so many others.
The chief declared that the tree his daughter died under should be named after her, so it was called the açaí (Iaca backwards). "The Fruit that Cries" The indigenous people know açaí as "içá-çai" -- which roughly translated means, "the fruit that cries".
If this story is true, there were indeed many tears shed over the late discovery of that valuable food source.
The legend goes on to tell us this...
Now that the tribe had a new food source, the death decree was lifted, and the tribe went on to prosper. Even though there were significant challenges to harvesting this fruit.
Before I tell you about those challenges, though, allow me to detail some of the challenges of this fruit today – namely the honesty (or lack thereof) in claims about it.

Empty Promises and Bogus Claims -- Açaí Scandals Exposed
Whenever a product becomes very popular and in the public eye, as açaí has, scams seem to pop up everywhere. Naturally, açaí is no different.
What kinds of scams am I talking about?

Ludicrous promises.
One such promise is that you'll lose "30 pounds in 30 days". While açaí has many health benefits, losing 30 pounds in 30 days is not one of them.
The truth is, while açaí contributes to your overall health*, it is certainly not the only component of a healthy lifestyle. You do not live on açaí alone. Your diet should consist of a large variety of (preferably high-ORAC) vegetables, high-quality meat, and a small quantity of fruit.
And you've heard me say it before if you've spent much time on this site...
Exercise is an integral part of your daily lifestyle. You must get moving to lose weight that you subsequently keep off. Whatever your weight, you simply cannot optimize your health without daily exercise. So find a form of exercise you enjoy and get started today.
Don't fall for these promises that seem 'out-of-this-world' good. Too-good-to-be-true is just that -- too good to be true.

Inflated ORAC values.
Many companies tout açaí as a "Super Food" and claim ORAC values in the high thousands (or more). ORAC is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities in biological samples.
Fact is, ORAC numbers can and do vary depending on harvesting conditions and your own body. Many companies multiply the ORAC numbers by 100 grams to make ORAC numbers appear higher than they really are (for the amount you're ingesting).
Açaí is truly a great food, with strong anti-oxidant properties*. Is it the only food you should eat? Absolutely not! It’s really not even at the top of the chart on ORAC values.
Many other foods have strong ORAC numbers too -- red grapes, blueberries, raspberries, spinach... and many more. So strive for balance and include açaí as part of your big plan for taking control of your health*. Be sure the ORAC values you are comparing are per milligram, not per bottle of supplement or some other inflated measure!
Obscure amounts of açaí, use of other juices and use of cheap fillers.
Pure açaí is expensive... therefore many products that contain açaí use token amounts of açaí, and load up with cheaper juices or flavorings.
This affects not only the real ORAC value of the product, but also exactly how much açaí you are actually consuming. Many times, it's very difficult to tell how much that is.
Besides other juices which may have lower nutritional value than açaí's, some products are contaminated with fillers of dubious value, like soy lecithin, citric acid, maltodextrin, or seeds. (Remember, seeds have no nutritional value.)
My advice is to steer clear of mixed products, because it's so very difficult to really know what's in them. High-quality pure açaí should be very dark, not a lighter color. So color tone is a reasonable guide to the quality level of the product.

Questionable marketing practices.
One popular marketing practice invites you to try out a "free" bottle of açaí (whether capsules or liquid is irrelevant), and charges you "only" for shipping and handling.
You're asked for your credit card number to cover shipping and handling. Hidden in the fine print is a statement that by accepting the free offer, you're authorizing a monthly auto-ship program and will be charged $90 to your credit card every month.
Then comes the real rub... Unscrupulous companies make it difficult or almost impossible to stop the monthly charges. By the time you manage to get a "return authorization" from them to stop your payments and shipments, you've lost several hundred dollars. . So be sure you know the history and integrity of the company you're dealing with.

Back to the story
Dark purple berries known as açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) grow in huge clusters near the top of palm trees that sweep the sky. They may be up to a dizzying 82 feet tall... with no branches to ascend on. Certainly no easy task....
But desperation has an amazing impact on motivation. And this jungle tribe found a way.
It's not known exactly how they first harvested their new-found treasure, but it was likely brought down the same way it is today.
Agile, brave men shimmy up the entire height of the açaí palm, cut off a huge cluster, and bring it down. They repeat the process for each of many clusters.
Memoirs from the tribe passed down through generations claimed that the açaí berries gave those tribes which ate them a strange immunity from illnesses brought by European explorers*... diseases which killed off other regional tribes who didn't eat the berries.
History doesn't give complete information on that assertion, but one thing is for sure...
No One's Crying Now!

Açaí evolved from the obscurity of the rainforest to the cities of Brazil, where it quickly gained popularity. It became a celebrated health smoothie ingredient in exclusive Brazilian clubs.
It seemed just a small leap before its fame grew from these Brazilian clubs to the entire world.
Just what caused a little-known jungle fruit to become such an international phenomenon?
From Unknown Jungle Fruit to International Fame
Surfers claim açaí gives them added energy to meet the mighty ocean*.
Surfers along the Brazilian coastline began adding açaí to their drinks and smoothies. They claimed it boosted and prolonged their energy levels as they reckoned with the force of the mighty ocean.
The trend grew, and the 'word on the beach' was that açaí indeed sustained energy and reduced fatigue.* Not only were surfers intrigued with this newly discovered berry... So were skateboarders and jujitsu fighters. Later tourists touted its goodness. Finally scientists latched on to the news, and began researching to discover whether there were truly documentable merits to açaí. What they discovered boosted açaí's popularity even more among athletes and scientists, and among health-seekers in general.

What are People Saying About Açaí?
Açaí berries are small royal-purple berries about the size of a grape. They consist of a large seed and small amount of pulp and flesh surrounding the seed. No one eats the seed -- it has absolutely no nutritional value.
On the other hand, the pulp is incredibly nutritious and delicious*. The taste has been described as a fruity red-wine flavor with chocolate overtones, not too sweet. It is also highly perishable... so if you want it fresh, you'll have to travel to the Amazon during harvest season, and be there within 24 hours of harvest to enjoy it. Rest assured that if it was impossible to enjoy its benefits so far from its source, no one would be talking about it. But people are...
Dr. Perricone named it the #1 "Superfood" in his book The Perricone Promise*
Celebrities have praised açaí publicly. Athletes claim it gives them a competitive edge*
Why are so many raving about this fruit?

Tiny Berry Gives Huge Energy Boost
Hidden within its royal purple skin is a "magical" nutritional profile that makes it nearly a perfect energy fruit*. Açaí is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids, essential fatty acids -- and more*.

Antioxidants and Anthocyanins.
Açaí has become recognized as one of the world's highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) foods*. ORAC is a lab measurement of how well antioxidants can neutralize free radicals in your body. The higher the value, the better your body utilizes it to fight the damaging effects of free radicals. Açaí has ten times the antioxidant levels of grapes and twice that of blueberries*. Further, the USDA recommends you consume 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day*. But if you're average, you only get about 1,000 units daily.

What are anthocyanins?
If you've seen a deep purple plum, a bright red apple, or deep green spinach, you've seen anthocyanins. They are a particular class of flavonoids and represent nature's "colors of the rainbow".

Those anthocyanins transfer their antioxidant properties directly to you when you eat them, to keep you healthy and help you fight the signs of aging*.
Açaí has ten to thirty times the anthocyanin levels of red wine, Essential Fatty Acids.
Açaí is naturally high in fatty acids, especially omegas 3, 6 and 9*. Its fatty acid profile is similar to that found in olive oil, a food believed to enhance cardiovascular health in Mediterranean populations*.
Omega fatty acids promote your healthy nervous system, and aids muscular development and rejuvenation*.

Dietary Fiber.
Açaí is an excellent source of organic dietary fiber*. Fiber promotes a healthy digestive system*. Studies also suggest that dietary fiber may help support a healthy cardiovascular system and help regulate optimal cell division*.

Protein.
Açaí owns an almost-perfect essential amino acid complex*, promoting muscle performance, endurance, strength, and sustained energy*.
No wonder surfers and other high-level athletes were some of the first to rave about its virtues!
Photosterols. Photosterols are complex compounds of plant cell membranes which help promote your healthy cardiovascular system by helping maintain optimal cholesterol levels*. Plant sterols may also promote your healthy digestive tract*. They act as precursors to many important substances produced by your body*.

Vitamins and Minerals.
Açaí presents you with an opportunity to obtain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E*. Actually, açaí contains as much Vitamin C as blueberries*. It has more than 1000 IU of Vitamin A per 100 grams açaí*. Additionally, you'll find potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in açaí*.

1 comment:

  1. Herbal energy supplement better enhances our immune system rather than those artificial energy boosters since it is made from natural elements.
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