What is Acerola?
Acerola, also known as Barbados cherry, or the more complex scientific name Malpighia Emarginata, is a small flowering shrub speckled with little cherry-sized fruit.
This pulpy fruit is delicious and packed with nutritional value. Native to sub-tropical and tropical regions such as the Caribbean, the fruit of Acerola is loaded with health benefits ranging from cancer prevention to diabetes management.
This edible fruit packs a punch, being a rich source of vitamins and oozing with delicious juice. Acerola is a rich source of vitamin C, a necessary vitamin to boost the immune system and enhance overall health.
Vitamin C is vital when it comes to promoting collagen production, encouraging cell turnover and helping the skin to maintain a youthful, wrinkle-free appearance. Vitamin C is also necessary to maintain the health and structure of your bones and blood vessels.
One of the greatest strengths of Acerola is its antioxidant value, and the vitamin C content will surely provide you with a number of benefits.
Another important vitamin contained in Acerola cherries is vitamin A. It’s important to get enough vitamin A to maintain the integrity of eye health and vision, the immune system, and healthy development.
Although not as abundant of a source of vitamin A and C, Acerola cherries contain nutrients, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, and several B-vitamins. Also found in Acerola cherries are fatty acids, protein, and fiber. All these vitamins and nutrients are essential to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.
Ranging from yellow-orange to bright red, Acerola cherries are a great addition to a balanced diet, whether by consuming the fruit alone or by taking it in supplement form. It’s important to note that once Acerola cherries are harvested, they start to disintegrate, so it’s important to use them right away.
With its strong nutritional value, it’s no wonder that Acerola can provide you with a number of benefits. From boosting the metabolism to providing anti-aging properties, Acerola is a delicious nutritious and beneficial treat.
1) Boosts Immune System
Now that cold and flu season is upon us, it wouldn’t hurt to find a way to boost your immune system and protect yourself against dangerous viruses.
Snacking on a couple Acerola cherries is a great way to get a mega dose of vitamin C and to fortify your immune system. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells and helps to repair any damaged cells ravaged by bacteria and viruses.
By incorporating enough vitamin C into your diet, you also help to repair damaged organs, blood vessels, and tissues.
2) Stimulate Metabolism
For a body to run smoothly, it needs to have a functioning metabolism, to help break down food, utilize nutrients and fats, and to release vital hormones to keep everything in check.
Fortunately, Acerola berries contain B-vitamins, which help to keep your metabolism running at a healthy rate. The B-vitamins found within Acerola berries are riboflavin, folic acid, and niacin. Snack on some Acerola cherries every day to keep things up and running.
3) Keep Diabetes at Bay
If you’re looking for a way to help manage your diabetes, Acerola cherries may be of some service. This tiny fruit helps to regulate the release of glucose and insulin into the bloodstream, helping to prevent spikes and drops in the blood sugar.
Blood sugar that drastically drops or sharply rises is dangerous to diabetics, so it’s important to keep things under control. Even if you’re looking to prevent the development of diabetes, much on a couple Acerola berries as a daily snack to help regulate blood sugar levels.
Maintaining blood sugar levels is not only important to the health of diabetics, but to people free of the disease as well.
4) Improve Digestion
Acerola cherries are a great source of fiber, helping to keep things moving through the digestive system. Although Acerola cherries may not have the highest concentration of fiber compared to other fruits, it’s a great addition to a healthy and balanced diet.
Getting enough fiber ensures that your digestive system keeps running smoothly, relieving constipation, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. Getting enough fiber is not only great for the digestive system, but a good way to maintain heart health.
5) Maintain Heart Health
It’s not just the fiber in Acerola cherries that help keep the heart beating and strong, but the rich potassium content as well. Potassium is essential to heart health because it dilates the blood vessels, increasing the blood flow and therefore taking decreasing the strain and pressure placed on your heart.
This helps to regulate blood pressure and therefore prevent stroke, heart attack, and the onset of heart disease. The antioxidants in Acerola cherries also help to prevent cholesterol from clogging the arteries while helping to block free radicals from damaging the heart.
6) Stop Premature Aging in its Tracks
With all the collagen-boosting antioxidants loaded in these little berries, Acerola is a fantastic and delicious way to prevent the development of fine lines and sun damage. Antioxidants help to scavenge cell-damaging free radicals and help to repair any damage done to cells.
Meanwhile, the carotenoids found in Acerola cherries help to maintain healthy vision and keep the skin healthy and looking smooth. Bioflavonoids help to slow the development of age-related degeneration and help to keep cognition and memory sharp.
7) Possible Cancer Prevention
It’s no secret that engaging in a healthy diet and exercise is one of the many ways you can help to prevent disease and to keep yourself healthy. As previously mentioned, Acerola cherries make a great addition to any healthy and balanced diet.
These juicy little cherries contain an assortment of antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage and help to repair damage already done. By keeping your cells healthy, you help to prevent disease from taking over and dismantling your health.
Some preliminary studies have found that Acerola cherries may help to reduce the risk and spread of lung cancer.
First and foremost, always discuss with your physician the possibility of taking any supplements or talk about how incorporating Acerola cherries into your diet can benefit you.
Acerola cherries and supplements are considered generally safe and non-toxic, however, when taking any supplement, it’s wise to do so with caution. Just because a product is marketed as all natural does not mean they do not have the possibility to cause harm when taken incorrectly or in large doses. Before consuming Acerola cherries in any form, please consider the following:
- When consumed in large amounts, Acerola cherries may cause gastrointestinal upset, leading to such unpleasant symptoms as diarrhea, cramping, and nausea. Please enjoy this snack in moderation.
- Due to the high vitamin C content of this fruit, those suffering from kidney stones or gout may want to consume this fruit with caution or only do so under the supervision of a physician.
- It is currently unknown whether or not Acerola cherries have an adverse affect on women who are pregnant or nursing. It’s wise to err on the side of caution and avoid this fruit while pregnant or nursing.
- Acerola cherries and supplements may interact with blood thinners and therefore should be avoided by those taking blood-thinning medications.
- Acerola cherries and supplements may interfere with hormone therapy.