The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    The next super berry?

    Enter the term acai berry into a Google search, and the

    result? One million hits. Although not all credible, the acai berry is sweeping both the diet and health food markets.

    The recently famous berry has been featured on shows such as Oprah and the Rachel Ray Show.


    Story continues below advertisement

    The acai berry, according to, is a deep purple, grape-sized berry found on acai palm trees in the rainforests of South America. Natives of the Amazon region have had the acai berry as a part of their diet for hundreds of years, using it for its legendary healing powers.

    The fruit is harvested biannually and is considered an important economic asset to populations in the Amazon areas of Brazil. The berry is 90 percent seed, with the remaining 10 percent composed of acai pulp, where the nutrients lie.

    Health Benefits

    When junior Mark Miller was asked about the acai berry, he admitted he’d never heard of it.

    The acai berry has considerable health benefits, according to Although there have been few studies done on the berry, it is considered antioxidant-rich which helps bodies fight disease, according to the site.

    “I don’t really think about antioxidants” Miller said. “I’m pretty young. Maybe when I’m a little older, I’ll start factoring them into my diet.”

    The acai berry is shown to contain twice the amount of antioxidants as the once acclaimed super-food, blueberry, according to

    The acai berry also contains dietary fiber, which lowers the risk of digestive conditions as well as lowers blood cholesterol levels and trace minerals which are vital in maintaining the body’s natural health defense.

    The berries are also known to heighten clarity, like the effects of caffeine.

    Roxie Fransway-Greening of Eau Claire’s Angel Care Healing Touch in Altoona, has been hooked on MonaVie, a highly concentrated acai berry in a liquid.

    “I loved the flavor immediately,” Fransway-Greening said.

    Since taking the directed 6 ounces twice daily, she has lost weight and has constant energy. The acai berry is also composed of essential fats and oils such as Omega 3, which stimulates blood circulation and long-lasting energy creating complex carbohydrates, Fransway-Greening said.

    Where can people get it?

    Lasting energy, a smaller waist line and a healthy immune system might be some of the reasons people would like to include the acai berry into their diets, according to

    However, the berry is not as accessible as one might hope.

    Fransway-Greening said that since the berry has a short shelf life, it cannot be distributed in its original fruit form, but acai pulp can be distributed in juice and powder form. The most popular form of acai products are found in liquid form, usually a compound of acai and other high antioxidant fruits, including pomegranate and blueberry puree.

    Paula Risto, a manager with Sodexo on campus, said the acai berry is an up-and-coming popular trend that seems to be replacing the pomegranate fad, which also contains a high level of antioxidants.

    For most students, buying products such as MonaVie might be a little out of the budget. Not to worry, though. Intermezzos Cafe and Fresh‰ns offer an acai energy smoothie for $3.79.

    Sophomore Hannah Judisch tries to keep healthy by incorporating the antioxidant-rich blueberry into her diet, but has yet to try the acai berry.

    “I’m interested in keeping myself healthy. After researching the acai berry, I might be open to try it,” Judisch said.

    But buyer beware, although the acai berry has been the focus of numerous health studies, there are many “Lose 20 pounds in two days!” advertisements flooding the Internet.

    Judisch also has seen the trends of finding the next “it” high antioxidant food.

    “I had heard about the hype of the pomegranates, but I stick with blueberries because I like them,” she said.

    The acai berry has the best nutritional value of any fruit, according to

    It also has the power to aid in anti-aging, cancer fighting and the lowering of cholesterol.

    Research on this berry is just starting to take off, so people can expect to hear much more about this super-berry in the future.

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