Is the Acai berry a miracle food? Why is it that we always want to find a magic food, or group of foods to make us healthy? In this case, the Acai berry (ah Sigh EE) is the latest craze to cure everything with magic anti-oxidant powers. So much so that Americans spent over 108 million dollars last year for this product.
Let's say antioxidants protect you from disease and aging
I promise to address the myth of oxidants in another writing, but for the purpose of discussion — let’s pretend that we want a lot of anti-oxidants in our diet. If we do, and if more is better, does this mean we should spend sixty bucks a bottle for the magic of the Acai berry?
The best antioxidants in order of potency
The great thing about science is we can measure things. We can measure anti oxidant potential, put some berries in a test tube, come up with a number, and compare. To be a nerd about it — there are a number of tests that one can apply to a product to test them: four tests of antioxidant potency [Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), total oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), free radical scavenging capacity by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP)]; (2) a test of antioxidant functionality, that is, inhibition of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation by peroxides and malondialdehyde methods; and (3) evaluation of the total polyphenol content [by gallic acid equivalents (GAEs)] of polyphenol-rich beverages in the marketplace. The results of those tests? Pomegranate Juice had the greatest antioxidant potency composite index among the beverages tested and was at least 20% greater than any of the other beverages tested. Antioxidant potency, ability to inhibit LDL oxidation, and total polyphenol content were consistent in classifying the antioxidant capacity of the polyphenol-rich beverages in the following order:
Concord grape juice
Black cherry juice
Iced tea beverages
The Acai Berry is not the most powerful antioxidant
The acai berry is a scam. Offering free trials while getting credit card information - and, as with all supplements, unregulated (by act of Congress) by the FDA. The Center for Science and the Public Interest issued a warning about these scams: Search for "acai berry scam" online, and see for yourself.
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