For this month's online
version of Science Corner, we are extracting select highlights from the
With all of what would appear to
be a hyped, to-good-to-be-true story of this magical açaí
berry that has only recently been 'discovered' from the Amazon Rainforest, for
once, science is actually revealing that what this berry can do in our bodies
May very well be even bigger news than what is being touted.
Alexander G. Schauss, PhD, FACN,
recognized as the world's foremost expert on açaí,
recently summed up the awe that
has science in when he stated, "This
is unlike any fruit, vegetable or nut that has been seen before. Because
you can not just explain its profound antioxidant activity by what we understand
In a time when nearly every
disease has at its root unbridled inflammation caused by excessive free
radical damage, daily intake of proper and natural antioxidants is absolutely
essential. Our bodies are under more oxidative stress than ever with
increased stress levels, environmental toxins, processed foods and just our normal activities.
Free radicals react with organic
substrates in our body such as proteins, lipids and, yes, even our very DNA.
Oxidation, much like the rusting of iron, causes damage resulting in disruption
of function that can accelerate aging and lead to disease.
The Oxygen Radical Absorbance
Capacity assay, or simply ORAC score, is a reliable validated method to compare
the antioxidant capacity of a food's ability to neutralize the peroxyl radical
(the most dominant free radical that is produced in our bodies.)
The ORAC assay has been called one
of the most significant developments in analytical science in the last 100
years. It has been suggested that units of ORAC should simply be called
So we will start our look at the açaí
berry with this
anti-aging measure of the ORAC assay. The USDA has analyzed 278 fruits,
vegetables and nuts, comparing their antioxidant capacity using this gold-standard test.
The ORAC of
was so much higher than any other food ever
tested, that they actually believed there
was an error in conduct of the lab test.
So they repeated it multiple times, always
arriving at the same value. Freeze
was then sent to various laboratories across
the US - all to arrived at the same result -
1,027 micromoles of Trolox equivalent per
gram - over ten times that of the previous
known top antioxidant foods - blueberry and
For some perspective, let's look at some
ORAC comparisons with other fresh fruits.
For a typical serving of 100 grams,
cranberries and blueberries would total
approximately 9,000 ORAC units, while açaí
would total 102,700.
With antioxidant protection being so
critical to disease prevention, anti-aging
and general wellness, açaí
brings an unmatched antioxidant army to
combat the prevalent peroxyl radical in
The next chart compares ORAC scores to
common vegetables. We again see açaí
as an outlier.