T Nation

Acai The Superfruit?

Have you guys heard of acai?

It is a fruit found in the Brazilian rainforests that is supposed to be the “superfruit”… Amazing amounts of antioxidants, mood and energy enhancers, and extraordinary health benefits.

Is this hype or have you guys heard the same?

BTW- you can only find it in frozen form as it has a shelf life of 12 days and obviously cannot make it to your local grocer from the Amazon in that time.

I have heard of it, and heard the benefits, but from a paper from the maker of it and a guy giving out samples, so kinda biased.

It is rather tasty in smoothies and shakes though.

You’ve been eating at Juice It Up, haven’t you.

No, I don’t go to Juice it Up, just Henry’s Market…

Read some articles on this fruit… Perfect antioxidant composition, essential fatty acids, more health benefits for the heart than red wine, etc.

The claims are astounding… So astounding in fact that I am bringing it to T-Nation to discover if this is just a publicity push for a “newly discovered” fruit or if it is the real deal and should be incorporated into daily diet like green tea.

Intelligent contribution encouraged.

There is a popular test called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) which is supposed to quantify the antioxidant quality of various foods. People who sell Acai claim it has the highest ORAC value of any fruit at around 6000 or so for 4 ounces. Different people tend to claim different numbers for many fruits depending on what they are selling, and I haven’t ever seen a good non-biased comparison of everything.

Other fruits and vegetables that have high ORAC values include pomegranate, blueberries, strawberries, prunes, raisins, blackberries, raspberries and dark leafy vegetables like kale and spinach (all over 1000 and in no particular order).

Acai may be as great as they say but I suppose the best thing is to eat your 10 servings a day of various fruits and vegetables, whatever is in season and you can afford. After all, variety is the spice of life.

The reason I mentioned Juice It Up is because that is how I was introduced to Acai. If you ever get a chance, try their Acai Energy Smoothie with the “Pro Flex” protein addition. I asked them to let me look at the Pro Flex bottle, and it seems to be a decent protein: no soy, mostly casein and whey, if I recall correctly. And damn delicious. Probably my favorite smoothie of all the ones they offered. Blackberry is damn good also. I used to do one smoothie per day while I was out there (which also happened to coincide with a cycle of Mag-10 I was doing at the time).

Whether Acai has the highest antioxidant absorption thing or not, I would still say your best bet would be to just incorporate it into the rotation of fruits and veggies you eat daily anyway.

[quote]mcalabro wrote:
There is a popular test called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) which is supposed to quantify the antioxidant quality of various foods. People who sell Acai claim it has the highest ORAC value of any fruit at around 6000 or so for 4 ounces. Different people tend to claim different numbers for many fruits depending on what they are selling, and I haven’t ever seen a good non-biased comparison of everything.

Other fruits and vegetables that have high ORAC values include pomegranate, blueberries, strawberries, prunes, raisins, blackberries, raspberries and dark leafy vegetables like kale and spinach (all over 1000 and in no particular order).

Acai may be as great as they say but I suppose the best thing is to eat your 10 servings a day of various fruits and vegetables, whatever is in season and you can afford. After all, variety is
the spice of life.[/quote]

I have always wondered, isnt ORAC measured in vitro not in vivo? It makes sense that the Anti-O’s found in certain foods would be absorbed in different amounts. Meaning that a food may have a lower ORAC score but actually have more bioavaialable Anti-O’s

[quote]ChrisPowers wrote:
The reason I mentioned Juice It Up is because that is how I was introduced to Acai. If you ever get a chance, try their Acai Energy Smoothie with the “Pro Flex” protein addition. I asked them to let me look at the Pro Flex bottle, and it seems to be a decent protein: no soy, mostly casein and whey, if I recall correctly. And damn delicious. Probably my favorite smoothie of all the ones they offered. Blackberry is damn good also. I used to do one smoothie per day while I was out there (which also happened to coincide with a cycle of MAG-10 I was doing at the time).

Whether Acai has the highest antioxidant absorption thing or not, I would still say your best bet would be to just incorporate it into the rotation of fruits and veggies you eat daily anyway.[/quote]

Oh my God, I almost forgot. You have to ask them NOT to add the frozen yogurt. It’s just sugary crap that they add instead of ice cream because as we all know, yogurt is so much healthier than cream. Nevermind that there’s about 200g of sugar per serving.

I first read of Acai in '99-2000 in a grappling magazine. While the anti-oxidant levels were mentioned the attention was given towards the drink and the energetic feeling one gets from consuming it.

Funny that the Amazon is the “ONLY” place to get it from considering that the palm trees outside my old church I used to play at when I was a little kid had lots of these palm trees with these little acai fruits growing on them…and I live in Hawai’i. These trees are still there too.

This place called Planet Smoothie here began selling acai smoothies. I heard they were really good. I tried one and it was okay with a good kick. Samabalzan (or something like that) is now being sold as a brand name acai smoothie drink at most of the natural health food stores where the people there smell stink (neo-hippies). Jamba Juice got into the trend of acai by selling their half-assed attempt in cashing in on this fruit. It tastes like their usual sugary treat, but it lacks the usual kick and energy as Planet Smoothie’s acai dirnk.

I did however, back in 2001, revisit my childhood church and snag some fruit from the trees and washed it and made juice from one batch and ate the other batch of acai like grapes. “Raw” took some getting used to. I will not say it’s a miracle, but it doesn’t have to cost lots of money.

[quote]Helix wrote:
I have always wondered, isnt ORAC measured in vitro not in vivo? It makes sense that the Anti-O’s found in certain foods would be absorbed in different amounts. Meaning that a food may have a lower ORAC score but actually have more bioavaialable Anti-O’s[/quote]

ORAC is measured in vitro so it only tells you the total antioxidant capacity of whatever you’re looking at. Assuming the antioxidants have at least some reasonable bioavailability then the higher the ORAC the lower the oxidative stress on whomever is consuming them. People just like to make a big deal about how high the ORAC value is of whatever they are selling.

I live in Brazil. Here acai is usually blended with banana and guarana. It’s served in a bowl with musli on the side as an optional topping. It’s pretty common post-workout down here.