Until the 1990s, acacia berries were not widely available to western markets and were only consumed in central and South American countries. Brazilians gobble acacia berries like they were going out of fashion; they are sold on street corners, in shops that only sell acacia berries, and are used in many Brazilian dishes. Brazilians consume more acacia berries than they do milk and it is fast becoming one of their top exports.
Research into the health benefits of the acacia berry has prompted its worldwide recognition, which eventually led to European and American businesses marketing and selling acacia products, labeling it the next ‘super fruit’. Scientists in Rio De Janeiro studied the fruit’s ability to fight infection, particularly, the parasite schistosomosis, which 5% of Brazilians suffer from each year. Researchers at the University of Florida studied the relationship between the acacia berry and cancer cells, concluding that the berry significantly affected the lifespan of leukemia cells, causing them to self-destruct. Whether eating acacia berries actually cures cancer has still not been proven, and a claim that science is still a long way off from.
There is no doubt that eating fresh fruit and vegetables is good for you, and it will boost your immune system’s ability to fight infection. Dark colored berries, like the acacia berry, which is a deep, rich purplish color, get their pigment from anthocyanins. They belong to the group of molecules called flavonoids, which is where the focus of much cancer research has taken place in recent years. Flavonoids have high antioxidant activity- the process of neutralizing free radicals in the body that cause cell damage- making them a popular anti-ageing food supplement. The anti-ageing label is the hook that western advertisers have used to sell acacia berry products, and research continues into the berry’s ability to repair cells.
Acacia berries are high in fiber, which the body needs to help regulate itself. Those who are trying to lose weight by changing their diets would certainly benefit from eating acacia berries as they help food move through the digestive tract and support the body’s natural detox routines. However, apples and passion fruits are also good sources of fiber- so whether choosing acacia berries (which are often expensive and travel many food miles) over apples is better, is still debatable.
claim that science is still a long way off from.
Acacia Berry Products
Acacia berries do not stay fresh for long, and will start to turn bad and lose their potency 24 hours after being picked. Eating acacia berries fresh is the best way to benefit from all of their nutrients and minerals, and there is no doubt that they are packed full of them. For most of us though, this is difficult, unless you have a holiday home somewhere in central or South America where acacia berries grow in abundance. Consequently, scientists have figured out ways of turning the acacia berry into capsules, pills ad powders and even gels and as an ingredient in shampoos and soaps.
However, any raw produce that has been processed loses some of it potency- fresh is best as they say. We all know that virgin olive oil is healthier than oil that has been through the refining and heating process. Acacia oil is, incidentally, packed with the same amount of antioxidants that the fresh acacia berry has- and also has a longer shelf life. To conclude, it seems that the science is still undecided on whether acacia berries are indeed any more ‘super’ than other fruits.