Have you noticed a new superfood popping up in health blogs, food stores, and maybe even at your local juice shop? Is it, by any chance, called acerola?
Without a doubt, acerola is the new “it girl” in wellness. In fact, The Journal of Food Science and Technology named acerola “an untapped functional superfruit” whose popularity is undoubtedly on the rise.
So what exactly is acerola?
According to the same study, acerola is a small cherry-like fruit that grows from South Texas to northern South America and throughout the Caribbean and other sub-tropical areas and is noted for its “numerous biofunctional properties.”
If you’re wondering what these “biofunctional properties” are, look no further. We got in touch with our team of experts to reveal why acerola is just so good for you.
Acerola is one of the richest sources of vitamin C, containing 50-100 times more than an orange or lemon. Vitamin C can help prevent colds and flu, along with a wide range of other health benefits.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps to prevent free radical damage and helps to prevent certain diseases. It’s also important for the functioning of the immune system, which helps the body fight off infections and viruses.
Acerola cherries contain high amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and riboflavin, making them the ultimate health food.
Jessica Mason, Clinical Dietitian, Kitchen Habit
The high vitamin C content found in acerola contributes to collagen production. As we age, it's natural for collagen production to decrease. This decrease contributes to achy joints, more muscle soreness after exercise, and leaving us prone to injury when working out.
Vitamin C plays an integral role in enhancing collagen production in the body, promoting healthy tendons, ligaments, and joints. This is essential for healthy aging and healthy recovery from either working out or injuries in connective tissue.
Jordan Hardin, Founder, Jordi B Health and Fitness
Acerola plays an important role in gut health, because it contains non-digestible fiber that we, humans, cannot digest. Instead, the gut bacteria takes care of it by degrading it in the colon. One of the by-products of such degradation is short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), including: acetic acid, butyric acid, and propionic acid. These short-chain fatty acids provide many benefits, including:
- Decreasing the pH of the colon (the acidic environment provides the excretion of harmful bile acids, and it provides the growth for beneficial bacteria)
- Improving blood flow in the colon that leads to better nutrient absorption
- Providing extra food for the colon cells
- Inhibiting the growth of pathogens
- Stimulating the immune system
Tati Godoy, Owner, YumThyme
Acerola is good for stress relief and can help combat symptoms of depression. The reason for this is because the fruit is very rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is known to help the stress response of humans, which means eating acerola can possibly help you with coping with the stresses of day-to-day life.
Erik Pham, Managing Editor, Healthcanal
Acerola is higher in vitamin C than even oranges and strawberries – only rosehips outdo it. Vitamin A was also found to be very abundant in the berry.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be stored in the body, so you must take a source of water-soluble vitamins daily. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C help prevent the damage caused by free radicals and certain diseases in addition to vitamin A. Acerola is quite antioxidant-rich, according to recent studies.
Vitamin C is the main health benefit of acerola. Unfortunately, vitamin C is lost as the fruit ripens (and acerola ripens very quickly), so be sure to seek out an acerola source that is pressed and bottled right away (like a health shot).
Jamie Hickey, Personal trainer/Nutritionist, Truism Fitness
Replace your vitamin C supplement
Research shows that the vitamin C in acerola is better absorbed in humans than synthetic ascorbic acid, meaning that you can eat acerola to boost immune health rather than take synthetic supplements. It can be hard to find acerola berries, so your best bet is to find juices or health shots that include it as an ingredient.
Nutritionist Heather Hanks
Since it has solid levels of anthocyanins, acerola can improve the function of brain receptors and prevent memory loss, helping people in the fight against Alzheimer's. Furthermore, acerola is an astringent and thus good for treating skin blemishes as well as digestive issues.
Kristina Hendija, MD
If these benefits sound too good to be true, important to note: they’re not! The immunity-boosting, stress-relieving, brain-enhancing benefits of acerola are just a cold-pressed health shot away with KOR’s Immune+.
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