Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Wonders of Acai Berries


Ever since Oprah endorsed the Acai Berry calling it the number one 'super fruit', its popularity in the United States has been going like wild fire.

Acai Berry is a small dark-colored (purple) fruit that grows in clusters and tastes like berries and chocolate mixed together. This wonder fruit grown in the Amazon area of Brazil has been in use by the locals for various benefits until the recent craze for it in the United States following discoveries made by various researchers on its benefits and testimonies from users. The fruit is highly perishable, the reason you will hardly see it in fresh form but frozen or as fruits and in yogurt for they do not last the transit period from Brazil. It has been featured in the Oprah show, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated for Women.

Recent reports in the states have demonstrated the wonders of this ‘Super Food’ which has also help the popularity of the best known acai berry product in the market; Monavie products.

Help Prevent Cancer

The high fiber content in acai berries causes bulky stools. The advantage of this is that, bulky stools in the large intestine is a natural way of cleaning up the walls of the bowels as it is being passed out unlike stools formed by ingestion of refined non fibrous foods that sticks to the bowel walls. Fibrous diet is known to prevent the incidence of cancer of the colon which is a very common occurrence in the United States and other developed countries where the practice of refined fast foods is the norm.

Still on cancer prevention, acai berries ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) level, which measures content of anthocyanins, an anti-oxidant — is the highest among berries in the world. Anti-oxidants help the body fight free radicals. This ability to mob up free radicals has been said to prevent cancer. In cancer patients, prevent its spread.

A laboratory study conducted the University of Florida in February says the acai berry has been killing cancer cells in laboratory tests.

Acai Berry is a Strong Energizer

Niacin is substrate for ATP (Adenosine Triphospate) which is the body’s own form of energy, said to be the body’s fuel, is found is high amounts in acai berries and so less energy is used up by the body to produce ATP by making use of Niacin straight up. So used in energy drinks, it will be different from other forms that makes use of glucose and so starting the process of ATP formation from scratch and in the process using up more energy.

Acai Berry’s Anti-Aging Activities

The ORAC assay done to determine how much anti-oxidants a food substance contain is said to have scored acai berry way above 1000 making it anti-oxidant content the highest and most potent in any form of natural food in the world. Anthocyanins the anti-oxidant acai berry helps prevent the destructive effects of free radicals on the cells keeping our body organs like the skin looking fresh and younger.

Regenerates Your Muscles

Acai berries contain high vitamin B levels and amino acids. The high levels of these nutrients help to keep the muscle healthy as well as build them. So it is highly recommended for those interested in muscles regeneration and hypertrophy. It is one of the highest amino acid containing plants known to man. Essential amino acids are needed in large amounts in the process of wound healing and muscles building for strength. Acai Berry provides a natural alternative to the use of amino acid tablets which is very common among body builders across the country.

Acai Berries as an Immune system booster

By destroying harmful entities in the body through its natural pool of anti-oxidants, acai berries help to keep us healthy and free of illnesses by keeping our immune system free and strong. Free radicals destroy the cell membranes of our white blood cells and immunoglobulin credited with the major function of fighting diseases but in the presence of high anthocyanins content provided by acai berries the white blood cells and immunoglobulin are mopped off of free these radicals helping them perform optimally.

Prevention of Heart Diseases

Acai Berries contains a lot of essential fatty acids like the Omega-6, Omega-3 and Omega-9, and phytosterols. Studies have shown that this ingredients help prevent heart diseases and among those who have suffered heart attack, the constituents in acai have help achieve a positive result during treatment.

Acai Berry Help Digestion

The fibrous nature of acai berry assist in digestion of food in the stomach by helping get rid of toxic entities within the alimentary canal through the bulk stools making way for proper digestive processes. You can only imagine the dangers of lack of proper digestion.

Weight Loss Advantage of Acai Berry

The simple reason that acai berry is fibrous, produces the feeling of easy satiety and makes you eat less of other forms of food helping you loss weight while you stay healthy considering every other nutrient present in acai.

Maintenance of General Body Fitness and wellness

It is rather amazing to note that just one fruit could have so much benefit. However when a full list of the ingredients of the super fruit is obtained it is easy to understand. Acai Berry also contain carbohydrates, iron, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, protein and calcium

So to start living healthy today, include acai berry products in your diet. Amazon Thunder, Fruit Vida International and Monavie are some of the companies selling acai berry products. Acai Juice is now sold on the internet, gyms, wellness centers, sports and fitness clubs etc. A life with acai berry keeps you away from the doctors and saves you medical insurance cost which is continuously on the high these days. Why shouldn’t you, after all, there is now a flavor called Brazilian Acai Berry Sorbet that takes acai berry products to a different level entirely. Produced by Haagen-Dazs for ice creams, promises to bring a whole new chapter in the consumption of acai berry products worldwide.

The Effects of Yoga Inversions on Your Health


It is no longer news the fact that Yoga can keep us alive and free from incessant hospital visits. This is one area of alternative care that orthodox medicine agrees with. While the regular fitness exercises is as beneficial as advertised by increasing blood flow, Yoga achieves same but in a less anaerobic state. The specificity of Yoga makes it a far better way to stay healthy. The twist, conscious breathing, relaxation, and inversions all combine to confer the kind of health non yoga practioners can only hope for.

Let’s take a look at the effects of yoga inversions. These include all forms of yoga practice that involves turning the down-side-up. Examples include shoulder stand (salamba sarvangasana), half shoulder stand (viparita karani), and headstand (salamba shirshasana). While this practice indisputably has a lot of benefits so is the downside of it, details of which we shall take a look into in this expose`.

Yoga Inversions and the Immunes System

There is a network of tubular vessels that runs along with the neurovascular bundles throughout the length and breadth of our body. Its major duty is fluid regulation as it works along with blood vessels. Edema (fluid accumulation) that presents as swelling in the respective part of the body is as a result of fluid accumulation in the lymphatic’s of that part of the body. Veins and arteries possess smooth muscles (longitudinal and circular) responsible for peristaltic movement that helps to propel blood aside from the pumping activity of the heart. None of these mechanisms is available in lymphatics.

The lymphatics are very rich in white blood cells responsible in fighting bacteria and other disease causing micro organisms but they lack the mechanism of peristalses. This prevents adequate circulation of its content- the reason our legs become swollen when we sit down for long periods. It therefore means that proper lymphatic circulation is dependent upon how much we move around. Movement causes skeletal muscles contraction and tightening of the muscles fasciae (the sheet-like covering of skeletal muscles) which in turn help circulate the lymphatic fluids. Regular exercises can achieve this but not between the body extremes. Yoga inversions are the only known effective practice that can ensure that lymphatic fluids circulate adequately from head to toe to equitably distribute the large amount of WBCs for healthy living.

Bacteria infections are prone where there is stasis of body fluids as there provide a good medium for their growth. Proper circulation of lymphatic fluid prevents this.

Improvement of Mental Alertness and Focus with Yoga Inversions

The increased circulation resulting from this practice also increases blood circulation to the brain, delivering higher amount of oxygen needed for combustion. The steady and adequate energy supply to the brain, which results from this, increases our level of concentration and mental sharpness. There are very few effective practices that can keep the brain this healthy.

Inversions improve stamina and the strength of the upper body

Expectedly the regular practice of Yoga inversions builds the muscles of the upper limbs. Following continuous bearing of the weight from the upper body, the muscles of the arm strengthen and overall increases stamina.

Effects of Inversions on Hormones

Inversions upset gravity and the pituitary and pineal gland become activated and synergize to balance hormone levels in the body. This revitalizes and rejuvenates the entire body and ensures adequate growth. Particular usefulness of the practice is found in would-be mothers.

As beneficial as it may be, there are also contraindications of yoga inversions. There are a series of health condition in which if existing, yoga inversions should be entirely avoided or modified. They include pregnancy, neck pain, high or low blood pressure, neck injuries, or in menstruation.

Yoga Inversions and High Blood Pressure

The sudden lower blood pressure after an inversion exercise in the upper body is detected by the baroreceptors (Blood pressure regulators) around the neck and usually attempt to increase the blood pressure to higher levels under normal circumstances. In people with high blood pressure, this adds to an existing high blood pressure and worsens hypertension and may lead to stroke. So it is advisable that people with high blood pressure avoid inversions and instead should adopt other forms of yoga practice or consult an instructor for proper advice.

In low blood pressure, the reverse is possible. During inversions, there is increase blood pressure in the upper body. This is sensed as abnormal by the baroreceptors that subsequently try to reduce same and may result in extremely low blood pressure afterwards leading to dizziness, fainting or cardiogenic shock.

Effect on Pregnancy and Menstruation

The effect on pregnancy is similar as above. Normally, blood pressure increases are recorded during pregnancy and involving in yoga inversions during this period is not advisable. The common problems associated with this are preeclampsia, premature labour, and aggravation of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension especially in first time pregnancies (primi gravidae).

So women should suspend inversions once pregnancy sets in and may resume about four to eight weeks after delivery when progesterone levels would have reduced towards pre-pregnancy levels.

In Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health, B.K.S. Iyengar inversions are advocated during menstruation based on the claims it helps overflow. There are also some schools of thought that are entirely against Yoga Inversions during menstruation. However, none of these claims seems substantiated as many other authors also contradict one another. So women should be left alone to make their individual decisions on inversions during menstruation. Individuals should however observe how they respond to inversions during menstruation and decide for themselves what works.

Neck Injuries and Inversions

It is dangerous for persons with neck injuries to practice inversions. In an event of a slip or further trauma to the neck, the outcome could be disastrous. Same with those with injuries at the back along the vertebra column. This group should avoid inversions until it is all clear from the doctor.

The entire benefits one can derive from yoga inversions far out-weight the disadvantages as long as it is properly done, as well as know when it must be avoided or modified taking into consideration the various contra indications.