No matter your age, eating food that can boost brain function is always desirable. It becomes an even more prominent issue for seniors who look for whatever edge they can find in the battle against cognitive decline. Acai berries may provide just what they seek.
The “superfruit” is native to the Amazon rainforest region and other areas of Central America and South America. But the popularity of acai berries has become a worldwide phenomenon as more people discover the potential health benefits of this purple fruit. Studies show one of those benefits is the ability of acai berries to fight aging by protecting your brain from the damage that comes with aging.
One such study, from Tufts University in Massachusetts, focused on determining if acai berries could help prevent the oxidative damage to lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids in the brain that can led to the neuronal degeneration and death that are “focal traits” of cognitive decline. Researchers, working with mice, found that the results supported “the putative health effects of açaí fruit species on brain cells.”
Another Tufts study found acai berries helped improve memory in aging rats. The fruit seems to help in autophagy, a process within the brain in which cells that have become toxic or are no longer working are cleaned out. Autophagy tends to work less efficiently as people age.
Acai berries have benefits beyond supporting better brain health. Research indicates acai berries are richer in antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries. They also are nutrient dense, may improve cholesterol levels, and have a potential anti-cancer effect.
For those looking to start a healthy eating habit while under a stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 outbreak, acai berries give you something new to try.
Making Your Own Acai Bowl
Acai berries come from the acai palm tree. Because of the short shelf life of berries, they typically arrive in your supermarket as a powder, juice or purée. Fortunately, the berries have become so well known around the world that recipe ideas are plentiful.
This is the most popular option. To use puree to make an acai bowl, blend unsweetened frozen purée with water or milk to create a smoothie-like base. Then, add your favorite toppings. Healthline recommends sliced fruit or berries, toasted coconut flakes, nut butters, cocoa nibs or chia seeds. As with all acai bowls, the result is thick and substantial enough to eat with a spoon.
Some prefer to combine acai powder in a blender with their favorite fruits and vegetables, such as frozen bananas, raspberries and zucchini. In this vegan recipe, you mix in a tablespoon of almond butter and half a cup of almond milk. After blending, the smooth mixture is transferred into a bowl and topped with your favorite fruits (for this recipe, they used raspberry granola, mango and shredded coconut).
The acai juice is a bit different. Some drink straight from the bottle, although this only works in small amounts. More commonly, people add a small amount into water or tea to add flavor and the acai health benefits. You can also use it to flavor soy milk or even put it in your morning coffee. Acai juice also is perfect for blending with your favorite frozen fruit to create a smoothie.