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OTHER ITA SITES:
Acai Berry Found In The Amazon Rainforest
Found in the Amazon Rainforest, the açaí berry is but one of the fruits located there and has recently been dubbed a “super berry”. The rainforest is a perfect location for it, since the açaí berry prospers in swampy or floodplain areas. It comes from a palm tree and is known as the “Tree of Life” to the Brazilians because of its ability to provide an abundance of healthy food.
The açaí berry shares a lot of similarities with grapes. It looks a lot like them and even tastes a bit like them. The berry is the size of a large blueberry, formed like a grape and tastes different to each person. Some would say that it tastes like a wild raspberry, with a hint of grape. Others believe that it tastes like blueberries, ice cream and chocolate. You will have to try it and decide for yourself what you believe it tastes like. It comes off the trees in bunches and offers a variety of benefits, including antioxidants, fiber, fatty acids and more. The antioxidants from the berry are much higher than those found in red wine (at least 20 times more) or blueberries (at least two times more). It is rumored to have the best nutritional value of any fruit on earth.
Because the fruit does not last long after it is harvested, it is mostly available to anyone outside of the Amazon as a juice or frozen. It also cannot be eaten in raw form, but rather in pulp form. That has not stopped its popularity. The dark, purple skin is what contains a majority of the healthy benefits. The natives of Brazil have been passing down recipes to create purees, which you can warm as a sauce over grains or entrees like meat and fish. The açaí berry can also be frozen for a sorbet-like dessert.
The benefits of the açaí berry, as well as the media coverage it has received, have made research into this fruit a top priority. Researchers at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro have discovered that açaí extract can be used to fight infection, like the parasitic infection schistosomosis which affects 10 million Brazilians each year and the common bacterial infection staphylococcus aureus. The University of Florida also did a study which investigated the effect of the berries on human cancer cells. The study showed that the berries triggered a self-destruct response in up to 86 percent of leukemia cells tested. There is still no proof that the berry will prevent cancer. More studies are going on all of the time to research the benefits of this amazing berry.
In Brazil, a majority of the population lives on the açaí berry. In fact, they consume more açaí than milk. Açaí shops, that sell only açaí, can be found on almost every street corner is the more populated areas of Brazil. With the popularity of the açaí berry spreading to Europe and the United States, it will not be long before açaí shops are opening around the world. There are already several companies and websites that offer products using açaí solely or with other fruits or plants.
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