The acai berry was found to possess tremendous health properties and was first used by the tribes of the Amazon jungle as a cure for various ailments. It is estimated that the indigenous people routinely use up to 2,000 of the 3,000 known rainforest fruits for medicinal purposes.
Acai helps build the immune system, fights infection, protects the heart, and control prostate enlargement (nature's Viagra). The acai berry was also discovered to fight schistosomosis, which is transmitted by snails. Schistosomosis affects more than 10 million Brazilians. The acai berry is also used to produce an antibiotic that helps to fight against 'Staphylococcus aureus,' a common infection contracted mainly in hospitals.
Belém with a population of 1.3 million is the main city in the Amazon estuary and world center of acai. More than 200,000 liters of the purple liquid is consumed per day making it even more popular than milk.
The boom in acai over the last decade has had more effects than changing the eating habits of Rio's body-obsessed men (and women). Scientists have discovered that acai is rich in anthocyanins, the group of chemicals in red wine that are believed to lower the risk of heart disease. Swig per swig, acai contains over 10 times more of them than red wine. It is also rich in essential fatty acids, calcium and vitamins. Acai's recent success is also changing the nature of agriculture in the Amazon estuary. Agronomists have been successful in developing ways of cultivating acai sustainability with high yields. In the last five years, acai production has tripled and brought work to poor rural areas. Belém now has more than 60 factories that export Acai: "Acai is the most promising product we have here for development", says de Jesus.
Acai berries also help in preventing cancer due to their antioxidant properties that are five times more potent than gingko biloba, a commonly used herbal therapy product.
In Brazil, people are
used to consuming acai in
different ways. Preferentially, in
summer, Brazilian youngsters and
teenagers like to consume acai with
granola, oat flakes, cereal, banana
People eat acai before going to the gym due to its energy-boosting properties which improve their availability to exercise as well as their overall physical condition.
can be found as a juice, ice cream, mixed
fruits and milk or as a ready to drink
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