The acai is a tall, slim palm tree from which clusters of deep purple berries hang down from the top of its branches. Due to an increasing global market demand, the acai is grown commercially for its fruit from which a healthful oil is extracted.
Native to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and northern South America, the berries resemble grapes, but are smaller in size. Since it acts as a powerful antioxidant, the acai oil extracted from the berries is an ingredient often found in skin lotions, cosmetics, anti-wrinkle creams, and other beauty and skin care products.
History of Acai Use
Use of the acai berry by the Amazonian jungle tribes dates back to the pre-Columbian era. While the amazonian river dwellers have used acai for medicinal purposes for centuries, it is only in recent decades that Western countries, including the U.S., have begun to appreciate the healthful benefits acai offers.
Acai oil is cold pressed from the pulp of the fruit. The berries are hand picked and processed immediately to assure high quality oil. Because the berries are highly perishable, they must be transported by boat to a processing plant where they are processed within 24 hours after being picked.
Acai berries are high in fat, which makes them go sour quickly. Also, exposure to heat after the berries have been harvested can diminish the nutrients and antioxidants the fruit offers. But once acai has been processed under the proper conditions, the antioxidant levels remain high even when the oil is stored for long periods of time.
You can use acai oil as part of your skin care regimen to moisturize, soften, and nourish your skin. Antioxidants and other compounds in the oil help reduce the cellular damage that causes aging. The use of acai oil on the skin:
- Combats free radicals to protect against oxidative damage
- Slows the aging process
- Gives your skin a younger and healthier look
Amino acids in the acai berry slow down the damaging effects that lead to skin aging. Both the antioxidant content and fatty acids in the acai berry help reduce inflammation and the damaging effects of the sun. The fatty acids in the oil also make skin more supple.
The acai berry has a high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) rating, which measures the fruit’s ability to suppress free radicals that damage skin. Although few studies have looked at the antioxidant properties of the polyphenol compounds in acai pulp, numerous studies have shown that flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Known for its natural antioxidant properties, the acai berry boosts the immune system. In fact, acai berries may have higher levels of antioxidants than berries such as cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries.
Although many of the claims regarding the health benefits of the acai berry haven’t been scientifically tested, acai contains high levels of flavonoids, known as anthocyanins, which may help protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Studies suggest that anthocyanins — the pigment that gives acai berries their color — may help protect individuals from a number of chronic diseases.
Acai oil contains the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, which help to control cholesterol by reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol in the blood. Blood sterols in acai contribute to lowering blood cholesterol as well. The oil also contains phytonutrients — chemical compounds in fruits and vegetables — that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits these plant nutrients offer may help prevent the development of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic degenerative diseases. The phytonutrients in the acai berry may also help prevent cancer by causing the death of cancer cells.
Made with acai oil