According to a new Brazilian study, taking açai berries regularly could reduce arterial stiffness in overweight and obese individuals.

According to the old spiritual “Dem Bones,” each body part is connected to the next: the forearm bone to the elbow bone, the elbow bone to the shoulder bone, and so on. A healthy weight sets the stage for the bones, muscles, brain, heart, and other body parts to perform smoothly and efficiently for years to come.

Weight gain, especially obesity, negatively impacts almost every area of health, from reproduction and respiratory function to memory and mood. Diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers are among the conditions associated with obesity.

Consuming food rich in polyphenols and anthocyanins, such as açaí-juçara (Euterpe edulis Martius) fruit, may reduce the risk of endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness associated with excess body weight.

Hence, this study investigated the effects of anthocyanin consumption (açaí-juçara fruit) on endothelial function (flow-mediated dilation [FMD]) and arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity) in individuals with excess body weight.

Superfruit Of The Amazon: Acai Berries

Known as acai (pronounced ah-sigh-EE), these berries are harvested from acai palm trees in the rainforests of South America. 

Acai berries have a deep purple color, are about 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter, and have a taste akin to chocolate and berries with a slight metallic finish. The seeds make up about 80 percent of the fruit.

The acai berry has been referred to as a superfood, and its health benefits range from weight loss to improved skin appearance, but not all of these claims have been proven.

Studies have shown a direct link between excess body weight and coronary artery disease. The BMI-CAD Collaboration Investigators performed a meta-analysis of 21 long-term studies, following over 300,000 participants for an average of 16 years. 

Overweight participants had a 32 percent higher risk of developing CAD than those at an average weight; obese participants had an 81 percent higher risk.

While the experts slightly adjusted blood pressure and cholesterol levels to reduce the risk estimates, they stayed highly significant for obesity. 

According to the investigators, only about half of the increased risk of coronary heart disease linked with obesity is caused by excess weight’s effects on blood pressure and cholesterol.

According to one study, the consumption of anthocyanins is strongly linked to protection against oxidative stress, which found that women under 35 can reduce their risk of heart attack by 32 percent. 

Acai also contains fiber and heart-healthy fats that support heart health. Heart-healthy fats increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol and decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

High fiber consumption has been associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk, all-cause mortality, and lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Results of the Study

There were 55 individuals with a BMI of 25 kg/m2 randomly assigned to a non-anthocyanin (N-ATH, n = 25) or anthocyanin (ATH, n = 30) intake group. 

In the ATH diet plan, participants consumed 200 grams of açaí-juçara (anthocyanins 293.6 mg) daily for 12 weeks (20% reduction in total energy intake).

Researchers assessed anthropometric and biochemical parameters, FMD, PWV, and peripheral vascular resistance (PVR) using a generalized estimating equation (Bonferroni posthoc) (p 0.05). No change in FMD was observed.

ATH and N-ATH showed a reduction in PWV from baseline, but The researchers found no significant difference between groups. 

In conclusion, dietary intake of anthocyanins proved effective in protecting individuals with excess weight from arterial stiffness (by PWV), as acai reduced the PVR regardless of the dietary intake of anthocyanins in both diet groups.

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