The Many Health Benefits of Acerola Cherry
What Are Acerola Cherries?
Native to the Western Hemisphere, acerola cherries originated in southern Mexico and the Caribbean. The shrub, flowers from April to November, with the fruit ripening in the 3-4 weeks following flowering. The 1-4cm cherries appear green at first and then change to orange-red and finally bright red on full maturation.
These delicious, sweet, and fragrant fruits can be eaten raw or used in cooking. Packed full of goodness, the best way to reap the health benefits of the acerola plant is to consume its fruit. Acerola cherries are a great source of ascorbic acid, a natural form of vitamin C but also contain a multitude of other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin B, beta-carotene, lutein, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid, and pantothenic acid.
These bright red fruits are a rich source of the antioxidant’s as well as various phytonutrients which may be beneficial in addressing and preventing diseases associated with oxidative damage. Consuming just 3 acerola cherries would provide more than the daily minimum requirement of vitamin C for an adult.
What Are Acerola Cherries Good For?
The Acerola cherry is an all-round superfood! Not just for boosting immunity and preventing chronic disease, it may be helpful for treating skin blemishes, and promoting skin elasticity. Delicious and helps you to stay looking young!
These nutrient dense super-fruits are traditionally used to treat liver ailments, diarrhoea, dysentery, coughs, and colds. Rich in vitamin C, it can be used to help with or prevent cold or flu. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, so this tasty fruit is the perfect snack to boost immunity.
Although Acerola Cherries contain an incredible amount of vitamin C, they also contain several other nutritional properties:
Phytonutrients found only in plant food possess many beneficial properties. These compounds have nutritional or therapeutic potential, combating oxidative damage alongside antioxidant nutrients.
The Acerola cherry can be used to aid digestion. Pectin is a resistant fibre and is found in Acerola cherries giving it a potent prebiotic effect. Beneficial bacteria in the body ferment these prebiotics producing beneficial compounds which support immunity.
Malic acid represents 32% of the total acids present in acerola. These compounds assist the absorption of essential minerals we all need to boost our immune system and stay healthy.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant required for immune function, collagen production, and carnitine synthesis which plays a role in transforming fats into energy. Neurotransmitter production also requires the presence of vitamin C.
Health Benefits of Acerola Cherries
This powerhouse of a fruit offers many health benefits. With its antioxidant effects, vitamin C is an essential nutrient which helps the body’s natural defence system. Vitamin C is essential in sustaining proper immune function. In turn, deficiency of vitamin C results in the impairment of immunity and increased susceptibility to infections and illnesses. It is important to maintain adequate levels of vitamin C as infections significantly lower levels of vitamin C due to increased inflammation. Therefore, vitamin C intake appears to both prevent and treat infections.
Vitamin C helps to promote the first line of immune defence by forming a barrier against infection-causing bacteria and environmental toxins in both skin integrity and the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract and blood vessels. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties can not only prevent but can also repair oxidative damage.
Finally, vitamin C shows evidence of regulating blood sugar levels, antimicrobial, liver protective and blood fat balancing effects. With all the health benefits found in Acerola cherries, particularly its antioxidant properties helping prevent oxidative damage, it can reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Other uses of Acerola include:
- athletic endurance
- skin astringent (cream)
Acerola also contains the following nutrients:
- niacin (vitamin B-3)
- riboflavin (vitamin B-2)
- thiamine (vitamin B-1)
How Much Vitamin C is in Acerola Cherries?
The fruit contains more vitamin C than oranges and strawberries! It is also rich in vitamin A. Acerola Cherries have 50 to 100 times more vitamin C than oranges or lemons. 1 cup of acerola juice has 3,870 milligrams of vitamin C. This is far more than the 124 milligrams of vitamin C found in a cup of orange juice.
Vitamin C is an important nutrient needed to maintain and promote the immune system function to help fight infections, viruses, and even cancer.
Are Acerola Cherries better than ascorbic acid?
When consumed in its original state, rather than a processed version, it is more bioavailable and therefore more nutrients can be absorbed by the body. This way the nutritional value goes beyond just increased vitamin C content, the fruit will provide a multitude of healthy nutrients. These nutrients are known to work in synergy with vitamin C in terms of absorption and activity.
Therefore, naturally sourced Acerola Cherry could be a preferable alternative to ascorbic acid alone. Consuming it as a food may help you meet your vitamin C needs. It could also be of great help during cold and flu season by boosting your immune system.
Why not try the PRESS Vitamin C shots today. Try them straight for an instant & powerful, health boost or add them to hot water for a delicious warm drink
Anna Garner-Currie, Nutritionist