Acai berries are small, round-shaped, deep purple berries about the size of a grape. They are indigenous to the rain-forests of the Amazon. They are hailed for its high nutritional value. They are rich in antioxidants, amino acids and omega fatty acid which prevent aging. They are also known to boost energy and strengthen our immune system. Surprisingly, these little berries are richer in protein than an egg.
Many research studies reveal that they can manage blood sugar and are beneficial to lower cholesterol level. It is due to these benefits that they have gained popularity as a super-food in the world. People include this fruit in their diet to flush out toxins from their body, to lead a healthy organic life. In India Acai berries are found as food supplements. Popular online sites sell acai berry supplements making them are easily available.
Just a few clicks and a bottle containing about 60 capsules costing around 980 rupees (not exact) can come at your door step. Like the two sides of a same coin, these berries too have a list of side effects one needs to be aware of before making it a customary element in his/her diet.
The Side Effects are as Follows:
People who are allergic to Arecaceae family of plants like palms and dates should avoid acai berries. They can result in breathing problems, hives, rashes, swelling of the tongue, mouth or lips. People who have pollen allergies should also avoid these berries as they might aggravate the allergy.
2. Not Safe For High Blood Pressure Patients:
Though acai berries are known to manage blood pressure, but various research studies have revealed that people having high blood pressure should avoid acai berries as it might increase the blood pressure level. If there is a drastic increase of blood pressure level, it can prove fatal to an individual.
3. Gastrointestinal Problem:
Acai berries are also known to be the cause of several gastrointestinal problems like stomach ache, bloating, liver inflammation etc. excessive amounts of intake of acai berries can lead to accumulation of vitamins and protein which even cause diarrhea.
4. Liver Inflammation:
Consumption of acai berries is therapeutic for the liver. But overdosing of acai berries can cause liver inflammation. It is because of Echinacea which is a herb used in acai berry supplements which affects the liver. This can even lead to liver damage. Moreover, acai berries alters the proper functioning of enzymes released by the liver which can result in an increase in the secretion of bile.
5. Not Safe For Pregnant And Lactating Women:
Well, acai berries are apparently good for pregnant women. But since an acai berry supplement is made up of various ingredients, it can prove unsafe for your child. If you suffer from gestational diabetes, it is safe to keep away acai berries from your diet. As acai berries can cause allergies and are high in calories, it is not recommended for moms to be.
6. High In Calories:
Acai berries are high in calories and rich in proteins. So it can give us instant strength and stamina. But when taken in large quantities, it can lead to weight gain and higher body fat percentages. It can increase the chance of diabetes and heart disease.
7. Not Safe For Blood Sugar patients
Acai are sweet in taste and hence it is not recommended for blood sugar patients. Some might be misguided by the fact that they are beneficial to diabetic patients owing to its low carbohydrate content. But it is not so. The supplements of acai berries are also dangerous for diabetic patients.
8. Toxin Flush: A Myth
Most stores selling acai berries use this term ‘toxin flush’ to lure consumers into buying. But one must be aware that most acai berry supplements can lead to gradual building up of plaque and toxins in the body. This can lead to acne, candida and even fatigue.
9. Interacts With Chemotherapeutic Medications:
Acai berries are rich in anti-oxidants. So they can interact with the radiation and chemotherapeutic drugs. So patients undergoing chemotherapy should be warned against the consumption of not only of acai but also other berries.
10. Not Safe For People Who Take Blood Thinning Medication:
Doctors have often prescribed acai berries to the ones who suffer from cardiovascular diseases as it prevents the formation of blood clots and promotes better functioning of the heart. It is because of its blood thinning properties. So, people who already take blood thinning medication like warfarin should avoid this fruit as it can be responsible for further thinning of blood causing heavy bleeding.
11. Transmits Chagas’ Disease:
Chagas’ disease is a parasitic disease caused by Trypanosoma cruzi. It is also known as trypanosomiasis. It has been proven that acai berry aids in oral transmission of this disease by the triatomine’s stools on the fruit or insects accidentally crushed during the process of making juice or food supplements.
Besides all these, the other side effects include head ache, reduced vision, partial deafness and respiratory troubles. People taking drugs like aspirin and aleve should also refrain from taking this fruit or its supplements as there are chances that they might interact with each other. Though it is not recommended for people who does not want weight gain, it is also not prescribed for under weighed individuals as acai berries as it diminishes appetite and hence induces weight loss.
Acai berries are, undoubtedly, one of the most nutritious fruits which has gained the status of ‘superfood’. However, it is seen that the side effects occur more when food products made out of acai berries and food supplements are eaten.
Hence, if you are interested in including acai berries in your regular diet, try to consume the fruit in its natural form. And since most side effects are found when they are consumed to excess, so keep consult a dietitian or a herbalist to know the correct dosage of these berries and enjoy its goodness!