Açaí (acai) is a berry grown on the açaí palm tree of tropical Central and South America.
Açaí is well-known for its reddish-purple fruit, which tastes like a blend of berry and chocolate. The açaí berry is a relative of the blueberry, cranberry, and other dark purple fruits. A variety of açaí berry products are available for consumers, including juices, powders, tablets, and capsules.
Research on açaí fruit has centered on its potential antioxidant properties. Açaí fruit has also shown anticancer and anti-inflammatory activity. Early research suggests açaí fruit pulp may be an alternative contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
In overweight people, an açaí product reduced the levels of markers for metabolic disease risk. Additional research is warranted.
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These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Açaí contains high amounts of anthocyanins, a group of polyphenols that lend açaí its deep purple color and contribute to its antioxidant activity. Research has shown that antioxidant capacity in the blood increased after consumption of açaí juice and pulp. Additional research is needed in this area.
Metabolic syndrome (coronary heart disease)
In preliminary study, the effects of açaí pulp were evaluated in overweight people at risk for metabolic disorders. Some favorable effects were found on select metabolic disorder markers. Further well-designed studies are needed before a conclusion may be drawn.