Acai Berries Offer Nutrition Stable Blood Sugars

HeConnection-Food Facts-Acai Berries Offer Nutrition Stable Blood SugarsAcai Berries Offer Nutrition Stable Blood Sugars – Acai (pronounced Ah-Sigh-Ee) is a fruit packed with an amazing range of nutritional and health benefits. This small berry from the Brazilian Amazon is packed with essential nutrients, making it a nutritional powerhouse.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load of Acai Berry

Typically the glycemic index and glycemic load of berries is just too high for the Roman Diet.  However, one  “berry” that may consumed without the blood sugar spike that often accompanies eating other berries  is the Acai berry (technically Acai is not a berry but a fruit).

The Acai berry has a glycemic index (GI) of 12, which implies they are low in sugar.(1)  Even though 55 and below is considered low-glycemic, in our opinion this is not acceptable for a person with diabetes looking for the best control over blood sugars. We look for foods with a GI of 15 or lower, preferably much lower. A GI of 12 is still higher than we prefer optimally with the Roman Diet aiming for optimal blood sugar control, but it may be workable in moderation for those with more stable blood sugars.

Acai pulp has a glycemic load of 0.5. The glycemic load (GL) is a relatively new way to determine the impact of carbohydrate in our blood. It gives a richer picture than GI alone, since it considers the amount of carbohydrate consumed. A GL of 10 or less is considered low, therefore helping control blood sugar levels. Our goal with the Roman Diet is to find healthy foods with a GL of 3 or lower, so the pulp of this berry fits well within that goal. The dietary fiber in Acai acts like a sponge, helping to slow down digestion.(2)

Health Benefits of Acai Berry

  • Acai berry has very good levels of anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have health-benefiting and disease-preventing properties.
  • Acai berry contains many polyphenolic anthocyanin compounds like resveratrol, cyanidin-3-galactoside, ferulic acid, delphinidin, petunidin as well as astringent pro-anthocyanidin tannins like epicatechin, protocatechuic acid and ellagic acid. Studies suggest that these compounds have anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer functions by virtue of their free radical fighting actions. In addition, tannins are known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties.
  • Unlike other berries and fruits, acai has high caloric values and fats. 100g of these berries provide about 80-250 calories depending up on the preparation and serving methods. In fact, fresh acai berry has been a staple in the diet of native Amazonian for centuries.
  • Primary research studies suggest that ellagic acid in acai has anti-proliferative properties by virtue of its ability to directly inhibit DNA binding of certain carcinogens (nitrosamine toxins in the food).
  • Acai berry is also rich in medium chain fatty acids like oleic acid (omega-9) and linoleic acid (omega-6). These compounds help reduce LDL-cholesterol level and raise good HDL-cholesterol levels in the body and thus help prevent heart disease. In addition, these essential fats help prevent skin dryness by maintaining adequate moisture in the skin.
  • Acai pulp has good levels of dietary fiber. A high fiber diet (considered to be approximately 30-40g per day) reduces your risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. It is also a great way to help you feel full faster.
  • Acai berries contain a good amount of minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme,superoxide dismutase.
  • Further, they are rich in B-complex vitamins, vitamin E and vitamin-K. Contain very good amounts of niacin, vitamin B-6 and riboflavin. These vitamins are function as co-factors and help body in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Athlete Fuel

With exercise, our bodies sweat and lose essential salts and minerals. Having Acai after a workout will provide your body with a good combination of very low-glycemic carbohydrates, protein, fats and minerals. Another benefit of Acai for the athlete is its high antioxidant content. Exercise stresses our bodies, which translates to an increase in free radicals. Acai’s antioxidants may help our bodies handles this added stress.

Acai Seeds – Fine for Fuel NOT for Food! (3)

The Acai berry is 90% seed, with only 10% of the berry edible. In the Amazon Rain forest, they eat the skin and pulp of the Acai berry and discard the seed. All the research and nutritional information we discuss above is based on just the Acai berry skin and pulp.

Companies that make legitimate Acai products of course use only the Acai skin and pulp. The one thing that no legitimate Acai supplier would ever do is crush the Acai seeds and sell them as juice or supplement.

Unfortunately, a number of companies are selling Acai products that contain the Acai seed. These products therefore contain 90% less Acai (as defined by the edible portion) than Acai products that use only the skin and pulp. Consumers that ingest Acai seed products are consuming a product that has been the subject of very little research and in no way reflects how the indigenous people of the Amazon Rain forest have enjoyed Acai for thousands of years.

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