Acai berries, native to the Amazon region of Brazil, have long been considered a staple of the South American diet. This super fruit has exploded in popularity over the last several years as scientists are discovering the amazing health benefits just a small amount of Acai berries can deliver.
Acai berries are small, dark purple fruit that grow on rainforest palm trees in Central and South America. To prepare for eating, the berries are soaked to soften the skin and mashed, with the pits removed. The taste is unique - slightly earthy with hints of dark fruit and bittersweet chocolate.
While fresh Acai berries have a short shelf life and therefore aren't exported regularly, imported Acai fruit is sold as a frozen fruit purée, dried powder or pressed juice. Foodstuffs like jellies and ice cream are also flavored with Acai.
Millions of Americans struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other cardiovascular conditions. Toxic free radicals in the bloodstream prevent cells from regenerating healthily and can increase development of heart disease. The anti-oxidant compounds in Acai berries make them a heart-healthy addition to your diet.
A chemical in Acai berries, called anthocyanin, supports balanced cholesterol levels in the body. Eating Acai berries regularly has been shown to reduce levels of HDL, or the "bad" cholesterol. In addition to reducing cholesterol levels, Acai also supports circulation, improves blood composition, and relaxes the blood vessels. The last helps those who struggle with high blood pressure, keeping their artery walls supple.
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