Açai Berries Linked to Improved Vascular Function
Açai is a polyphenol-rich fruit with antioxidant properties. A recent study suggests that drinking smoothies supplemented with açai pulp may improve vascular function and heart health.
Participants in the study included 23 healthy but overweight men between the ages of 30 and 65. They were given a high fat breakfast with either a smoothie made with açai containing 694 mg of phenolics or a macronutrient-matched smoothie that did not contain açai.
Two hours after consumption, the researchers noted a 1.4% increase in flow-mediated dilation in the acai group, compared with a 0.4% increase in the control smoothie group. Flow-mediation dilation is a measure of blood flow and vascular health. Six hours after consumption, the açai group had a 0.8% increase in flow-mediated dilation, compared with a 0.3% decline in the control group.
Researchers from the University of Reading in the UK conducted the study. It was published on September 28, 2016, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Indigenous Amazonian tribes have been consuming açai berries for thousands of years. The berries look like grapes but taste like a tropical fruit. Açai berries were introduced to the western world during the last few decades and their benefits are just beginning to be verified by the scientific community. Preliminary studies suggest that they may help boost antioxidant activity in women, lower heart disease risk, and combat symptoms of metabolic syndrome.