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Acai Juice Shown to Protect against Oxidative Damage to Cells

An acai rich juice blend may reduce inflammation and raise antioxidant levels, according to a study published in the August 2008 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry has been used medicinally for thousands of years by indigenous tribes in the Amazon rainforest to boost the immune system, fight infection, protect the heart, and control prostate enlargement.

The fruit was introduced to the western world in the last few decades and its benefits are just now beginning to be proved by science.

In this latest study to explore the health benefits of acai, researchers found that the antioxidant rich fruit may reduce oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and protect against free radical damage.

Researchers recruited 12 participants for the small study, half of them were men and half were woman. The mean age of the participants was 34.

Blood samples were taken from the individuals before consumption of the juice blend then one and two hours after consumption. The samples showed a 20% increase in blood antioxidant levels 2 hours after consumption as well as a corresponding decrease in lipid peroxidation, which is a marker for oxidative damage.

Oxidative damage is caused by free radicals which can harm the molecules inside cells and destroy cell membranes, DNA, and proteins. This damage has been linked to a number of diseases including cancer and Alzheimer's, and has also been shown to speed up the aging process.

This study is significant because it shows that antioxidants, in the form of fruits rather than supplements, can be absorbed by your body and are effective in protecting human cells from free radicals. Although larger studies need to be done to verify these results, this study does indicate that drinking beverages rich in antioxidants, particularly acai, may have powerful health benefits.
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