Bordering eight separate countries, the Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. Not only does its massive river basin provide one fifth of the world's fresh water but it teems with uncountable varieties of birds and fresh-water fish. In fact, one third of all living animal and plant species are found in the Amazon.
It is in this lush, flourishing environment that the acai berry grows. According to sources, the native Amazon tribes use almost 2,000 of the 3,000 known rainforest fruits for remedial purposes. The acai berry is one of the most potent and powerful of these fruits.
Despite its use in the treatment of ailments for thousands of years, the acai berry remained virtually unknown to the western world before around 1990. But at last, we too are able to tap into the amazing health benefits that the acai berry possesses.
The acai berry is a natural source of antioxidants, with ten times the antioxidant level of grapes and twice that of blueberries. There is also fibre and protein to sweeten the deal - and of course there is the flavour; acai berry flavour has a taste reminiscent of both chocolate and blueberries.
The acai berry also contains high levels of anthocyanins; the compounds which give red wines some of their health benefits. The acai berry contains a larger amount of anthocyanins than does wine and is also free of the negative effects of alcohol.
And there's yet more benefits to this amazing tropical fruit; the acai berry is believes to be one of the most effective anti-aging foods. It is believed among health food enthusiasts that the anthocyanins and the antioxidants found in the acai berry are responsible for these anti-aging benefits.
Acai berries have also been used to prepare wine rich in minerals, to combat schistosomosis (transmitted by snails) and in the preparation of an antibiotic protecting against 'Staphylococcus aureus' (an infection usually contracted in hospitals). It is a truly amazing berry.
The berry itself is a round purplish berry which is about an inch around. The acai berry looks a bit like a grape and feels like one too. The incredible popularity of this superfood is because of its many health benefits. But the flavour is of course also wonderful. Acai berry is best consumed in the form of juice or incorporated into smoothies.