Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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The secrets to longevity remain largely mysterious, but certain steps can be taken to enhance lifespan. One nutrient-dense food that has gained popularity in recent years could significantly improve health markers by acting as a buffer against free radicals. The South American berry can be consumed in smoothies and juices.
Açaí swept the globe as a popular superfood after scientists uncovered its vast antioxidative benefits.
The nutritional breakdown of fruit is impressive, but its main selling point is that it comes with an exceptional concentration of antioxidants.
Research has shown that the antioxidant activity of açaí is uniquely powerful because it is 50 times greater than mangoes, more than five times greater than blueberries’ and twice as much as that of pomegranates.
The fruit is a good source of iron, calcium, carbohydrates, fibre and antioxidants, and is rich in fatty acids, calcium and vitamins.
The berry, native to central and south, may also counter signs of ageing by combating oxidative stress.
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The boom in açaí’s popularity prompted many studies.
This is when scientists discovered its abundance of anthocyanin – which was 10 higher than that of red wine.
Anthocyanin is an antioxidant shown to preserve the brain’s function by acting as a natural “housekeeper.”
A paper published in the American Chemical was one of the first to report evidence of these effects.
“Scientists report the first evidence that eating blueberries, strawberries, and açai berries may help the ageing brain stay healthy in a crucial but previously unrecognised way,” wrote Science Daily about the discovery.
Later findings confirmed the berries’ ability to be absorbed in the human body when consumed both as a juice and pulp.
What’s more, its Vitamin A, C and E, as well as omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids are able to combat the effects of free radicals.
Free Radical theories suggest that ageing is caused by highly reactive oxygen species that turn DNA and protein into toxic junk.
By thwarting free radicals – the fruit may act as a buffer against damaging cellular activity that contributes to ageing.
One study, published in Experimental Gerontology, in 2010 found that açaí extended the lifespan of fruit flies, but no evidence to date provides evidence of these effects in humans.
The findings revealed that female flies experienced a prolonged mean lifespan by 22 percent after supplementation with açaí, but men did not see the same effects.
This was later echoed by a study that saw flies that were genetically predisposed to a shorter lifespan increase their cycle threefold.
According to the National Centre for complementary and Integrative Health, most laboratory studies to date have focused on the fruit’s potential antioxidant properties.
“A juice blend with açaí as the main ingredient has been shown to have an antioxidant effect in people,” according to the Institution.
“A preliminary study suggested that eating açaí fruit pulp might reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels in people who are overweight.”
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