Monday, November 30, 2009

Acai Fruit

Acai Fruit:-

Common Names:-

Acai Palm, Assai Palm, Cabbage Palm


Euterpe badiocarpa

Related species:-

Eturpe edulis

Conservation Status:-

Not threatened

Distribution & Habitat:-

The Acai Palm is widely used and is very common throughout northern South America. The natural habit of the Acai Palm mostly along river edges and seasonal floodplains and is usually found along rivers of Brazil. Acai Palm is widely grown and cultivated in organic, chemical-free conditions in the vast Amazon estuary. Acai is a widely distributed, prolific palm and grown dramatically due to the properties of the Acai fruit and the use of the heart of the palm as a staple food in Brazil.

Background information:-

The Acai Palm belongs to a family of more than 1200 species of 32 different generic groups and are widely regarded as one of the most useful plant families in the world. Palm trees have a range of food and products used by humans for centuries. Uses include food, clothing, oil for cooking, beverages, clothing, weapons, building materials and containers.
Acai is an extremely common, slender, yet very long palm and grows 15 to 25 m high. Most adult Acai palm trees in the wild to develop 4.8 results from a single seed and root system. It is not uncommon for the Acai palm shoot up to 25 or more tickets all growing as individual Acai palm trees. Acai palm is well adapted to live and thrive in seasonally flooded areas in the soggy soil for many months. The Acai Palm produces quite small male and female flowers of a brown to purple colors.
The Acai Palm produces a highly nutritious edible berry that grows in dense clusters typical of many palms. The fruit is round and 1-2 cm in diameter, has an oily layer on a pile sheath covering a large seed. Acai fruit ripens to a green color in a rich dark purple. Each strain produces Acai usually four to eight bunches of fruit throughout the year making it one of the most productive fruit trees in the forest authorities. The bunches of ripe fruits are heaviest in the dry season (July-December) with individual bunches weighing up to 6 kg. One Acai palm stem usually an average of plus 24 kg of fruit per year. The fruit is a favorite of rainforest animals and are actively sought by birds and rodents. Seed paid their droppings ensures continuous propagation of the species. Found in the Amazon, Acai is very common in the Brazilian state of Pará. The Acai palm is perhaps the most common palm found in the low-lying flood areas in northern South America.

Commercial exploitation:-

  • Palm Hearts:- Acai Euterpe palm trees and others are the subject of commercial exploitation in South America. Palm hearts, eaten worldwide as a vegetable, are obtained by cutting the palm and removing the crown shaft, where the heart is found. Palm hearts are the tender, whitish immature leaves of the palm leaf just above the growing point on each stem. Although almost no nutritional value, its palm hearts is a food enjoyed by local people for generations and have an economic resource and export product for many rainforest countries. France, followed by the U.S. are the biggest importers of palm hearts. There are over 120 registered palm heart processors in the Amazon, with a multitude of smaller unregistered family operations selling their harvests to the larger facilities with onsite canning operations. Originally much of the commercial palm heart production in South America starting in the 1960s came from a different palm tree, Euterpe edulis, which only produces a single strain. (However, a large tree can yield up to 50 pounds of palm hearts.) Because the tree must be felled to extract the palm heart, palm heart exploitation without adequate management severely decimated wild populations of this species at an alarming rate.
    After many indigenous E. edulis palm groves disappeared, harvesters began using the acai palm as a more sustainable alternative because it produces many stems / trunks. Unlike it's cousin, was one of the Acai's steal is cut, more stems grow back the same root and cutting some of the stems encourages fruiting bodies on the remaining stems. Acai palm (E. oleracea) is now the main source of palm hearts of the world. While Acai does offer a more sustainable alternative, it is not ensuring that proper exploitation harvesting methods will be used for the survival of the plant protection. Large stands of Acai palm are often over-fished, and sometimes entire groves, clear felled for palm heart exploitation. Currently there is a shortage of raw materials in many places in the Amazon River Estuary due to a lack of sustainable harvesting and management of native stands, palm heart processing plants in the area generally work only 2-3 days per week.
    Most botanists agree that palm heart harvesting of palm species is probably an unsustainable practice due to the damage and the trees wasted in the process. The future of the Acai Palm looks bright, however, due to the rapidly growing profitable export market for the Acai fruit. Profits gained from the sustainable harvesting of the Acai fruit are quickly exceeds the profit from non-sustainable harvesting of palm heart.
    The master antioxidant lives in your body.

What is the most powerful antioxidant?.

  • Acai Berry:-

In Brazilian herbal medicine, the oil of the Acai fruit used to treat diarrhea, an infusion of the grated fruit rind is used as a topical wash for skin ulcers, and fruit seeds are crushed and prepared in an infusion for fevers. In the Peruvian Amazon, is an infusion of the toasted crushed seeds are used for fever. In Colombia, where the trees grow along the Pacific coast line, the hot naidí and the fruit is converted into a common and popular beverages.

  • Acai Juice:-

Easily the most commonly used by the Amazonian Acai fruit is dark purple juice. The juice is extracted from the small round fruit by soaking the seeds in water to the thin outer skin and then gently squeezing and pressing them into a very tasty, dense purple liquid to produce. Acai liquid is served fresh and ice cold with (or sometimes without) sugar and tapioca flour. It is a nourishing and refreshing drink that is also used for ice cream, liquor, mousses and sweets to produce in general. Consumption of up to 2 liter per day of this highly nutritious juice is included among the indigenous population. Acai juice is and remains a very important part of the North American Indigenous Sth diets and is very popular in all socio economic levels.

Acai Health Benefits:-
What is known about the health benefits Acai berry fruits, backed by scientific research into the fruits properties, is quite large. Acai is a rich source of anthocyanins and other phenolics and phyto-nutrients. Acai berries are among the most nutritious foods of the Amazon, rich in B vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Acai also contains oleic acid (omega-9), a beneficial fatty acid (often incorrectly referred to as essential).

Minerals found in Acai Berry:-

Potassium is the most common mineral in the Acai. Acai is also rich in copper, and unusually high in manganese. Only a small portion supplies far more than the body needs of this ultra-trace minerals.

Acai Phytonutrients:-

Anthocyanins are compounds that have potent anti-oxidant activity, which neutralization of potentially harmful free radicals. The famous research regarding the "French Paradox" attributes anthocyanins as the French anti-oxidant that protects from cardiovascular disease. The French are known to consume large quantities of coffee, nicotine, sugar, white flour, cheese and saturated fats, but they have a very low rate of cardiovascular disease compared to neighboring countries like the United Kingdom and Denmark. The red wine grape, due to its anthocyanins is what is considered responsible for the very low incidence of heart disease. While red wine has good quantities of anthocyanins, the Acai berry is found that contain many times the anthocyanins levels of red wine.
By neutralizing these free radicals can anthocyanins from the Acai Berry actually serve to preserve the healthy function of numerous systems and organs. Some of the anthocyanins that are found in Acai include cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-glucoside-coumarate. Other phenols, catechin and epi-catechin (the same compounds in green tea), quercetin derivatives and other flavonoids. It is likely that the synergistic effects of these compounds, as present in Acai fruit are responsible for its potent antioxidant activities.

ORAC Scale:-

The Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) test measures the total antioxidant activity of a biological sample. It is a test developed for the USDA by scientists at Tufts University to rate the antioxidant power of foods and supplements and measured. The ORAC scale is used in humans, agriculture, food and pharmaceuticals and food ingredients and is quickly becoming the accepted standard for comparing antioxidant potential in foods and supplements.

Acai Antioxidant Benefits:-

For the average Western man to deal with all the reactive oxygen and free radicals they will encounter on a daily basis, food and beverages in total ORAC value of at least 2000 units per day are needed. It is estimated that 80-90 percent of the world not even half this level of consumption. Acai is known for extremely high on the ORAC scale and provides levels multiple times that of many anthocyanin-rich fruits and vegetables such as cherries, cranberries and mulberries.


As the population ages, 80% of the elderly in western countries at least one chronic metabolic disease will develop. If the USDA says that high ORAC foods may slow aging and prevent metabolic disease is present, is not it time you increased the amount of antioxidants in your diet to prevent this process in the first place?


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