Top 5 Health Benefits of Chlorophyll

Top 5 Health Benefits of Chlorophyll

Detoxifying vegetables and fruits

Firstly…

What is chlorophyll?

We have all heard of chlorophyll before… but what is it and why is it in all the health food stores claiming to have all these health benefits? Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants their green color. It is required for photosynthesis, as it captures sunlight and, in combination with carbon dioxide, creates oxygen and energy in the form of sugars.

You could think of chlorophyll as “plant blood,” since structurally it is similar to hemoglobin, the protein found in our red blood cells. The only difference between these two molecules is that chlorophyll’s central atom is magnesium, while hemoglobin’s central atom is iron. (1)

If you’ve ever eaten a plant with a green hue, you’ve already eaten chlorophyll before! Foods rich in chlorophyll include spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, chlorella, spirulina, alfalfa, parsley, and broccoli. Basically, the greener the vegetable is the higher the chlorophyll content.

Chlorophyll contains antioxidants vitamin C, E, and A; vitamin K; minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium; as well as essential fatty acids.

Although many plants contain abundant amounts of chlorophyll, when taken in supplement form, you can receive much more potent effects.

Top 5 Health Benefits Of Chlorophyll

  1. Prevent cancer and cellular damage

    Chlorophyll has been found to have antioxidant effects, meaning it can protect the body from free radical damage. (2)

    Free radicals are tiny molecules that come from both our environment and can be produced innately within our bodies. Free radicals “bounce” around causing damage inside our systems. Over time, the damage from free-radicals can lead to end-stage diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants, on the other hand, are able to neutralize free radicals, preventing the damage they cause and helping to prevent many diseases including cancers.

    Because of the antioxidant effects, chlorophyll has the potential to help prevent (and possibly manage) different types of cancer. For instance, one study looking at human colon cancer cells found that chlorophyll can inhibit DNA damaging agents, therefore having the potential to be used to treat this cancer, either alone or alongside other cancer treatments (3). One animal study looking at pancreatic cancer cell growth found that supplementing with chlorophyll resulted in a significant reduction in tumour size (4). Another animal study found that chlorophyll has the potential to reduce the incidence of liver and stomach tumours (5).

    Also, chlorophyll is very alkalizing to the body, which makes for a unfavourable environment for cancer cells to flourish as they much prefer more acidic environments.

  2. Wound healing

    Chlorophyll has been used in ointments since the 1940s to accelerate wound healing (1). A review looking at different ointments for wound healing found that those that contained chlorophyll were more effective than other treatments, however more research is needed to confirm these findings and to understand the exact mechanisms of action. (6)

  3. Reduce inflammation

    One active component in chlorophyll, called chlorophyllin, has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. One study showed that chlorophyllin inhibited intestinal inflammation (9) Some of the anti-inflammatory effects of chlorophyll are likely part of the reason it is effective at speeding wound healing!

  4. Improve blood quality

    Chlorophyll may support the cleansing and building of red blood cells in the body. Studies show that this might be helpful to address hemoglobin deficiency disorders such as thalassemia. One study looking at people with thalassemia found that use of wheatgrass, which is very high in chlorophyll, reduced the number of blood transfusions they required. (7)

  5. Eliminate odours

    The consumption of chlorophyll has been known to have a deodorizing effect. It was used in the 1940s and 1950s to control fecal odour for those with colostomies and ileostomies when taken orally (1). Although more research is needed, a recent study looked at the use of chlorophyll with people with trimethylaminuria, a metabolic disorder that produces a fishy odour. They found that chlorophyll use significantly decreased the foul odour, potentially increasing their overall quality of life. (8)

    Chlorophyll is also known to bind to toxins, helping to carry them out of the body, which may be responsible for some of its deodorizing effect. Chlorophyll is becoming a more popular ingredient in natural toothpastes in recent years, though taking it internally appears much more effective.

How To Use Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll can be found at health food stores as a supplement, usually in the form of tablets or liquid. If using the liquid form, you can simply add it to water, or if you don’t like the taste, try adding it to a smoothie.

Some fat is needed to metabolize chlorophyll. Specifically, it is thought that even a small amount of healthy fats can help the body process chlorophyll better if you consume it during meals.

You can also experience the benefits of chlorophyll by eating chlorophyll-rich foods. Spinach, parsley, green beans, arugula, and leeks are all quite high in chlorophyll, ranging from 7.7 mg to 23.7 of chlorophyll per serving. So, incorporating salads with a lot of deep green foods, or having steamed broccoli or grilled asparagus as a side are all great choices!

Chlorella, a green algae which we’ve written more about here, also has high levels of chlorophyll and can be taken in powder or tablet form. (1) Even if you or your kids struggle with eating green foods, check out our recipe for a Detox Green Smoothie with Chlorella to help you incorporate it into your diet!

Summary

Chlorophyll has been used for decades to support wound healing when used topically, and for deodorizing effects when taken internally. It also has anti-cancer properties, may help reduce inflammation, and can assist in building red blood cells in the body.

How will you incorporate more chlorophyll into your diet?

References
1. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/chlorophyll-chlorophyllin
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14644357/ 
3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19585502/
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6051000/ 
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3486520/ 
6. https://www.o-wm.com/content/enzymatic-debriding-agents-an-evaluation-medical-literature
7. https://www.tusbrotesverdes.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/reynolds-2005.pdf 
8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15043988/ 
9. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2018.01671/full 
10. https://chlorophyllwater.com/pages/what-is-chlorophyll

 

Top 10 Foods For Thyroid Health

Top 10 Foods For Thyroid Health

Detoxifying vegetables and fruits

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland, located at the base of the neck. Thyroid hormones are essential for growth and metabolism. Every single cell in the human body has receptors for thyroid hormone, so the effects of poor thyroid function affect a wide range of body systems from the digestive system to the neurological system, and musculoskeletal system to reproductive systems. (1)

Common thyroid disorders can include hypothyroidism (low thyroid function), Grave’s disease (an autoimmune condition where the thyroid is overactive), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune thyroid condition), thyroid nodules (growths on the thyroid gland), thyroid cancer and goiter (an enlarged thyroid).

Approximately 10% of Canadians have thyroid disease (2). Additionally, other thyroid disorders or dysfunction (that is, conditions and symptoms not severe enough to be labelled a “disease”, but that still impact health and quality of life) affect approximately 1 in 3 Canadians (3). Irregular thyroid function can have wide-ranging, seemingly unrelated symptoms, which is why thyroid issues go undiagnosed and/or untreated so frequently. (4)

Could you have an undiagnosed thyroid disorder?

There are actually over 300 symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.

  • Common symptoms include:
  • fatigue
  • loss of the outer third of the eyebrows
  • reproductive issues such as difficulty becoming pregnant and/or difficulty carrying a pregnancy to term
  • menstrual issues including painful periods, heavy bleeding or irregular cycles
  • depression/anxiety
  • constipation/diarrhea
  • joint and muscle pain
  • dry skin
  • weight gain/loss
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty regulating body temperature including always feeling cold, or hot flashes
  • poor memory or concentration

This broad range of symptoms, in addition to difficulty accessing functional testing through one’s family doctor, can make it difficult to obtain a proper diagnosis.

Can dietary choices support thyroid health?

It can take many years, even decades, for a sluggish thyroid to become weak enough to become a diagnosable disease. Whether you want to support your thyroid or want food to help support or address a thyroid condition, then nutrition has a vital role in supporting thyroid hormone production and conversion. We are here to help you with some thyroid supportive foods that contain specific nutrients that play a key role in thyroid health. (5)

Top 10 Foods for Thyroid Health

#1. Brazil nuts

The thyroid gland is the organ with the highest selenium content, and selenium is known to play an important role in converting T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) into T3 (active thyroid hormone), decreasing Reverse T3 (which can block T3 hormone receptor sites), and decreasing anti-thyroid antibody levels (antibodies the body produces to attack itself). (6, 7)

For most people, eating just 1 – 3 Brazil nuts daily can easily meet their selenium needs.

#2. Liver

Grass-fed beef liver is the richest source of B12 and Vitamin A around. This is important because these nutrients are critical for thyroid hormone production and regulation. Adequate intake of Vitamin A improves cellular sensitivity to thyroid hormones. (8)

#3. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens are high in detoxification-supportive fibre, sweeping waste out of the digestive tract. Supporting the body’s natural detoxification pathways (including the colon) assists in reducing the amount of harmful toxins circulating in the blood by carrying them out of the body through waste. Circulating toxins can increase systemic inflammation, trigger autoimmune flares, and can even potentially be damaging thyroid tissue. So, ensuring adequate intake of fibre is an effective way to support the body’s natural detoxification, which in turn supports thyroid health. Additionally, leafy greens are a great source of magnesium as well, aiding in the conversion of inactive T4 to the active thyroid hormone T3.

#4. Berries

Berries are high in antioxidants. Studies show those with thyroid dysfunction have higher levels of harmful free radicals, the antioxidants found in berries offer great protection to neutralize those free radicals. Berries’ are another food that is high in fibre content to help aids in detoxification as well.

Plus, berries are delicious! Check out our Berry Beet Smoothie Bowl for a twist on a classic smoothie.

#5. Turmeric

This simple spice has powerful anti-inflammatory effects that can calm down an active autoimmune response that is often the cause of damage to the thyroid gland. Curcumin is the active component of turmeric responsible for this action. Curcumin also has the benefit of offering pain relief. Many thyroid-disease sufferers struggle with pain in their thyroid, body pain, headaches, and more as a result of their condition. Curcumin may serve as a pain-management option while they work to correct the underlying imbalance(s) causing the thyroid condition.

We have loads of turmeric recipes, but one of our favourites is this anti-inflammatory Turmeric Latte!

#6. Seaweed

Seaweed such as kelp, nori and wakame, also known as sea vegetables, are a great food source of iodine which the body uses as a building-block for thyroid hormone production. These food sources of iodine also contain selenium, which is required to support iodine uptake. In essence, selenium improves how efficiently your body can absorb the iodine consumed from your diet. (9)

#7. Bone Broth

Bone broth is known as “liquid gold” for good reason. Most people recognize that bone broth is a source of easy to absorb essential minerals.

A cup of bone broth also contains many amino acids, which have gut healing benefits. Gut healing is an important consideration because most thyroid disorders are autoimmune in nature and often have roots in impaired digestive function. Bone broth is also a source of glutamine, used by the intestinal and immune cells for energy.

#8. Avocado

Avocados are a source of a wide variety of micronutrients, vitamins, and healthy fats. Avocados’ high fat content is made up of mostly health-promoting monounsaturated fats. Teaming these fats up with high fibre improves blood sugar balance and increases satiety. Blood sugar balance is critical for those with a thyroid dysfunction because the hormone insulin that is responsible for signalling our cells to take in sugars from our blood has an inversely proportional relationship to thyroid hormones. That is, as blood sugar goes up, insulin goes up as a result, and thyroid hormone production goes down.

#9. Oily Fish (Salmon, Sardines)

These oily fish are high in specific types of omega-3s. Some such omega-3s include EPA (eicosapentanoic acid), which is hailed for its anti-inflammatory effects, and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) which supports the nervous system, including the brain. Both fats can be utilised by every single cell membrane in the body to improve cell signalling and down-regulate systemic inflammatory responses. Systemic inflammation is a common contributing factor to most diseases, including thyroid conditions. As such, reducing systemic inflammation can help support thyroid function.

If you’re looking for some recipe inspiration, check out our Walnut Crusted Salmon.

#10. Fermented Foods

Coconut kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and other fermented foods provide a wide variety of beneficial bacteria. These beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, are critical not only for gut health, but also for regulating immune function (which is responsible for autoimmunity). (10)

Plus, the fermentation process increases the bioavailability of existing nutrients by breaking down the anti-nutrients including phytates that can bind to essential nutrients and cause irritation within a compromised gut. As concluded in Knezevic et al. 2020, “Gut microbiota also influences the absorption of minerals that are important to the thyroid, including iodine, selenium, zinc, and iron.” (11)

Summary
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, suspect you may have a thyroid condition, or just want to maintain your thyroid health… we encourage you to consume these 10 healthy foods to support your thyroid health.

If you’d like to make implementing the recommendations above easier, get your copy of our 1-Week Thyroid-Supporting Meal Plan today.

Or, to take things a step further, if you’re interested in functional thyroid testing above what is offered at your family doctor’s office, please connect with one of our naturopathic doctors. You can also connect with our nutritionists to learn more about how nutrition strategies – ranging from micronutrient balancing to autoimmune protocols or specific therapeutic foods – can be applied to improve thyroid function.

 

https://thyroid.ca
https://thyroid.ca/thyroid-disease/
https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/thyroid-disorders-1.814623
https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2017/06/06/hypothyroidism-can-go-undetected-sometimes-for-years-before-proper-diagnosis/
http://www.whfoods.com
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5307254/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23046013/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23378454/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4049553/
https://www.thepaleomom.com/the-health-benefits-of-fermented-foods/
https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/6/1769/htm

 

 

Top 5 Health Benefits of Turmeric

Top 5 Health Benefits of Turmeric

Detoxifying vegetables and fruits

Turmeric is a plant native to Southeast Asia, grown primarily in India. Its an underground stem, which has an appearance similar to ginger. Turmeric has been used since ancient times as a culinary spice and in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. In fact, it’s use in treating various health issues such as respiratory diseases and skin conditions can be found back to as far as 500 B.C. It has a vibrant yellow-orange colour and earthy flavor, and is one of the main ingredients in curry powder.

Fresh or powdered turmeric is often used in cooking. Because of its growing popularity it can often be found in smoothies and hot drinks. Although nowadays, turmeric and its extract, curcumin, are also available in supplement form.

The main active component of turmeric is curcumin, which has been found to have a wide range of health benefits (1). It is this compound and its health benefits that are making turmeric and curcumin supplements very popular. Turmeric and curcumin have also been well researched with many positive results. They have been found to be anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-microbial and is high in fiber, vitamin C and iron.

What are the advantages of consuming of turmeric, you ask?

Below, we have a look at 5 health benefits of turmeric:

  1. Powerful Antioxidant 

    Free radicals are formed by toxins in our environment, air, food that we eat and even through exercise. If there are too many free radicals in the body, then this can cause cellular and tissue damage and contribute to the onset of illness and disease. Antioxidants help prevent cellular damage by protecting your body from free radicals. Not only does curcumin itself act as an antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals in the body, it can support the functioning of glutathione, a potent antioxidant produced by the body. (2)

  2. Anti-Inflammatory

    Turmeric and curcumin can help protect the body against chronic inflammation that contributes to diseases such as arthritis, cancer, and heart disease. In one study of people with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was found to be more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug. (3) In a review of the effects curcumin has on osteoarthritis, participants reported improvement in pain, physical function, and quality of life after taking curcumin, with decreased use of pain medication. (4)

  3. Supports Brain and Neurological Health

    Research has supported curcumin’s use with concussion and various other neurological and brain conditions. The reason being is that curcumin can cross the blood brain barrier and works as an antioxidant by protecting the loss of neurons, one of the main processes that occur in the development of Parkinson’s disease. (11). Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a growth hormone found in the brain that plays an important role in learning and memory. Curcumin has been found to increase brain levels of BDNF, helping to protect against brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s (5). It may even help reverse some of these effects, with research suggesting it can help enhance cognitive functioning, such as with memory and attention (6). Curcumin has also been found to have an antidepressant-like effect, providing a natural alternative to medication in some cases (7).  

  4. Cancer Prevention

    Due to its high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory effects, curcumin has the potential to help prevent against many forms of cancer. Evidence suggests curcumin can prevent or slow the growth of tumours, destroying cancer cells and reducing its overall spread. (8)

  5. Protects Against Cardiovascular Disease

    Curcumin has also been shown to lower your risk of heart disease. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, it can help decrease cholesterol levels to protect against atherosclerosis, and it can also prevent cardiovascular complications related to diabetes. Research showed that supplementation of curcumin before and after a coronary bypass surgery reduced the incidence of myocardial infarction post surgery. A 2017 of over 600 patients demonstrated a significant reduction in LDL (“bad” cholesterol”) and triglyceride levels with turmeric supplementation. (11) Animal studies have also found it can prevent heart failure. (9)

You are what you absorb!

Despite all these benefits, curcumin on its own is not easily absorbed by the body. But the good news is, by taking turmeric with a bit of black pepper, you can enhance how well the body absorbs the active component of turmeric by up to 2000%! So, when cooking with turmeric, make sure to sprinkle some pepper onto your dish as well. Turmeric and curcumin supplements should also contain black pepper or it’s active component, piperine, for optimal results. (10) Since curcumin is also fat-soluble, it is best to have with a meal that contains fat or oil.

How To Use Turmeric

Turmeric is a very versatile spice. Try:

  • Incorporating it in soups and curries
  • Sprinkling on roasted vegetables with a dash of black pepper
  • Add it to scrambled eggs or fritatas
  • Use it to flavour rice or other whole grains
  • Use in a marinade for chicken or fish
  • Try a turmeric latte or “golden milk.” 

Side Effects of Turmeric

Although turmeric has wonderful health properties it may have some side effects that you need to be aware of. It can lower blood pressure, which may not necessarily be a bad thing if you struggle with high blood pressure, but could be a challenge for individuals with already low blood pressure, or certain thyroid conditions. For a small percentage of individuals, turmeric may irritate the digestive tract which can potentially cause diarrhea or an increase in acid production, which in turn could lead to annoying heartburn.

Turmeric does contain oxalates, so it may contribute to kidney stone formation and should be avoided if you are at risk of kidney stones or are on a low-oxalate diet. People that have allergies to yellow food colouring or ginger are also likely to be allergic to turmeric. 

Summary

This spice packs a mighty health punch! It is a great option to incorporate into your meals with the help of some black pepper to increase absorption or get the concentrated benefits of taking it in supplement form. So, whether you’re new to consuming turmeric or not, we hope this article provided some insight into the powerful disease-fighting benefits that turmeric offers! 

 

References

1. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric  
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15650394/  
3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22407780/  
4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27703331/ 
5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006899306027144  
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3281036/ 
7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0166432812006997  
8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12680238/  
9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19233493/  
10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9619120/  
11. https://10faq.com/health/turmeric-benefits/6/ 

 

Acai Bowl

Acai Bowl

Two Glasses with Detox Green Smoothie

Acai berries have recently become a popular superfood.

While this berry is small, it is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and many health benefits. This recipe capitalizes on its bold flavour to create a bowl perfect for breakfast or lunch!

Acai berries are high in antioxidants which help prevent the body from free radical damage. Free radicals are made by the body through natural molecular processes and introduced into the body through environmental toxins. If free radicals are not neutralized in the body by antioxidants, they can cause damage and ultimately lead to disease. By neutralizing free radicals due to the high antioxidant content, acai berries help to protect the body against diseases such as cancer and diabetes (1). To learn more about the many benefits of acai berries, check out our acai berry article.

In addition to utilizing acai berry powder, this recipe contains many other healthy fruits. This is helpful as a diet rich in a wide-range of fruits provides a variety of fibres that help diversify the gut microbiome (2).

Kiwi is a particularly important food to highlight when discussing digestive health. Kiwi has been shown to have a positive impact on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms such as abdominal discomfort and constipation. This ability is attributed to its high-water content and rich fibre content (3). Kiwi also benefits the gut microbiome. It contains the proteolytic enzyme, actinidin, which assists with the digestion of protein (3). 

The fruit in this recipe aren’t the only elements assisting with digestion. The hemp seeds and chia seeds are also high in fibre content. The fibre in these seeds simultaneously feed the good bacteria in your gut and add bulk to your stool, helping you easily pass waste (4). 

When a bowl is this colourful, this nutritious, and this easy… it is too good not to try!

 

References:

  1. Florence, T. (1995). The role of free radicals in disease. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Ophthalmology. 23(1), 3-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.1995.tb01638.x
  2. Holscher, H. (2017). Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. Gut Microbes. 8(2), 172-184. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1290756
  3. Richardson, D., Ansell, J., & Drummond, L. (2018). The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: a review. European Journal of Nutrition. 57(8), 2659-2676. doi: 10.1007/s00394-018-1627-z
  4. Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and prebioitics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 5(4), 1417-1435. doi: 10.3390/nu5041417

 

Acai Bowl

Acai berries have recently become a popular superfood. While this berry is small, it is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and many health benefits.
Prep Time 7 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 31 servings

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup Oats
  • ¼ cup Almonds crushed
  • tsps Coconut Oil
  • tsps Raw Honey
  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 cups Frozen Berries
  • 1 cup Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Almond Milk unsweetened
  • 2 tbsps Ground Flax Seed
  • 2 tbsps Chia Seeds
  • 2 tbsps Acai Powder
  • 2 tsps Cinnomon
  • ½ cup Strawberries sliced
  • ½ cup Blueberries
  • 1 Kiwi sliced
  • ½ Nectarine chopped
  • 1 tbsp Hemp Seeds

Instructions
 

  • First, prepare the granola on the stovetop by toasting oats and crushed almonds at medium-low heat for approximately 5 minutes. Add coconut oil and honey. Stir to evenly coat ingredients for another 2-3 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and set aside.
  • Place banana, frozen berries, spinach, almond milk, ground flax seed, chia seeds, acai powder and cinnamon into a blender. Blend well until smooth.
  • Divide fruit mixture evenly into bowls. Top with strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, nectarine, hemp seeds and granola. Enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition Per 1 Serving:
 
Calories - 402
Sugar - 30g
Fiber - 15g
Carbs - 60g
Fat - 17g
Protein - 10g
Top 4 Health Benefits of Acai Berries

Top 4 Health Benefits of Acai Berries

Detoxifying vegetables and fruits

A popular superfood in recent years, the acai berry is a round fruit with dark purple skin, yellow flesh, and a large seed inside. Technically, it’s not even a berry! Since it has a central pit rather than multiple small seeds inside, it is considered as a “drupe,” similar to an olive or a plum.  

Acai berries are native to Central and South America, grown largely in the Amazon region of Brazil. Since their shelf-life is very short as a fresh fruit, they are often found sold in stores as a fruit puree, dried powder, or fresh juice. The taste can be described as a cross between a blackberry and unsweetened chocolate.

Acai Berries Are Packed With Nutrients

A 1.5 tbsp (10g) serving of acai berry powder contains:

  • 70 calories
  • 1g protein
  • 5g fat
  • 4g carbohydrates
  • 3g fibre (1)

Most of the fats are unsaturated, including omega 3, 6, and 9. It is also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese (2). 

Acai Berries Are Antioxidant Powerhouses

Many of acai berries’ benefits are likely related to the high levels of polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients found in plant-based foods that are loaded with antioxidants and can lead to an array of health benefits.

The main polyphenol in acai berries is anthocyanin, which is what gives the berry its deep purple colour (3). Anthocyanin has potent antioxidant properties, protecting cells against certain types of damage, as antioxidants play a key role in neutralizing free radicals in the body. This helps protect the body against diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and cancer. (4)

What Are The Top 4 Health Benefits Of Acai Berries?

Acai Berries May Help Protect Against Cancer

Antioxidants in general have cancer fighting properties, since they neutralize free radicals in the body that may otherwise cause harm to your cells. It is recommended to get antioxidants from whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables (5).

Acai berries have also specifically been found to kill cancer cells. One study found that extracts from acai triggered a response in leukemia cells to self-destruct (6). This was a cell-culture model, so more research is needed on humans, but these results are encouraging. 

Acai Berries May Help Manage Cholesterol

Acai may also have heart health benefits. Animal studies have shown that supplementation with acai pulp can reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), since they contain plant sterols that prevent the absorption of dietary cholesterol in the body. (7)

Acai Berries May Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels

Another small study found that after eating acai twice a day for one month, participants had lower insulin and fasting blood sugar levels than when they started (8). There are multiple studies noting that sufficient intake of antioxidants can exert beneficial effects in diabetes patients (9), so it is plausible that a high antioxidant food such as acai berries could exhibit a blood sugar balancing effect as well.

Acia Berries Can Help Support Brain Health

Acai may also be good for your brain as well. The polyphenols found in acai berries can protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, which can have a positive impact on brain function and cognition. Acai also supports a process used by the body called “autophagy,” which is how the body removes damaged and toxic cells in order to stimulate the growth of new, healthy cells in the brain (10). Think of it as “cellular pruning”. This process can protect against diseases like dementia and cancer.

How to Eat Acai Berries

Acai berries are most commonly found in health food stores as a fruit puree, dried powder, fresh juice or as an acai berry supplement. These can be easily added to smoothies, smoothie bowls or mixed into your oatmeal or yoghurt for an antioxidant boost. 

You might be interested to know that acai is pronounced ah-sigh-EE, so now you can go forth and order your acai bowl with confidence!

 

References:

1. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1064123/nutrients 
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24555649/  
3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15030208/ 
4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7619452/ 
5. https://www.cancer.ca/en/prevention-and-screening/reduce-cancer-risk/make-healthy-choices/eat-well/antioxidants-and-phytochemicals/?region=on 
6. https://news.ufl.edu/archive/2006/01/brazilian-berry-destroys-cancer-cells-in-lab-uf-study-shows.html 
7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20022468/  
8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21569436/ 
9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10580429/  
10. https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.25.1_supplement.213.8