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Eating This Super Fruit May Help Lower Your Cholesterol

A new study appears to show that acai berries may help people with high fat diets keep their cholesterol in check.

The results of the study, conducted by researchers from the Federal University of Ouro Preto in Brazil, were published in the December 2009 issue of the journal Nutrition.

The acai berry , prounounced ah-sigh-ee, 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.

Acai berries, which look like a grape but taste like a tropical fruit, were introduced to the western world during the last few decades and its benefits are just now beginning to be verified by the scientific community.

For this recent study, researchers divided rats into four groups. Two of the groups consumed a regular diet and two of the groups consumed a high fat diet.

The researchers then supplemented one of the regular groups and one of the high fat groups with acai pulp.

After 6 weeks, the researchers observed increases in total and non-HDL cholesterol among the rats on the high fat diet only. On the other hand, the rats in the high fat group plus acai berry pulp saw no change in cholesterol levels.

Both groups of rats on the regular diet saw no change in cholesterol levels, leading the researchers to hypothesize that the acai berry has a cholesterol lowering effect when eaten in conjunction with a high fat diet.

Further research will help verify the findings of the study and determine the mechanisms behind the link between acai consumption and cholesterol.

Although the scientific investigation of acai berries is still in its infancy, it is believed that the high antioxidant content of this "super fruit" may help reduce oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and protect against free radical damage.

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