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The acai (ah-sigh-EE) berry is a grape-like fruit harvested from acai palm trees, which are native to the rainforests of South America. Acai berries are widely touted as a so-called superfood, with proponents claiming that they are helpful for a variety of health concerns, including arthritis, cancer, weight loss, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, detoxification and improving general health.
Acai berries may be a good source of antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats. But research on acai berries is limited, and claims about the health benefits of acai haven't been proved.
Many fruits besides acai berries provide antioxidants and other nutrients that are important to your health. But if you'd like to try acai, check your local health food or gourmet stores — acai can be consumed raw, in tablet form, in beverages such as juice, smoothies or energy drinks, or in other food products such as jelly or ice cream.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
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