Everything You Need to Know About Acerola
6 minute read
The Acerola Cherry is a fruit renowned for its uniquely high Vitamin C content, which helps to boost immune function and support healthy hair, skin and nails. Also packed with phytonutrients and brimming with other antioxidants, there are plenty of reasons to make Acerola part of your daily routine. Let's explore.
What is Acerola?
Acerola (Malpighia Emarginata) is the fruit of a shrub-like tree native to Central America & South America, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands.
Also known as the Barbados cherry or West Indian cherry, Acerola is confusingly classified as a berry (despite its cherry-like appearance and nicknames!)
Once only eaten by natives of these countries, Acerola is now enjoyed throughout the world - mainly for its superior nutritional profile and superfood status.
Origins of the Acerola Fruit
Acerola cherries have been foraged from the wild and enjoyed by locals for centuries, both for their great taste and reported health benefits.
More recently, Acerola was given to Puerto Rican families during the Second World War, to plant in "victory gardens" and optimise nutrition in times when food was rationed.
But it was a study by the School of Tropical Medicine in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which catapulted Acerola to fame, having discovered its infamously rich source of Vitamin C.
Where does Acerola fruit come from today?
Fresh Acerola berries can be eaten raw or cooked and are said to be pleasant tasting – with a sweet and fragrant flavour.
Today, Acerola is cultivated in many countries and exported around the world, mainly for its health benefits.
As it is fragile and has a short shelf-life, Acerola is usually enjoyed in supplement form outside of countries where it is grown.
This allows the benefits of Acerola to be enjoyed as a juice, supplement or powder which is far less perishable compared with the fresh fruit.
4 Health Benefits of Acerola
1. Acerola is rich in Vitamin C
You won’t read any article about Acerola which doesn’t mention its incredible Vitamin C content – and for good reason. Acerola is the most potent source of Ascorbic Acid (Vit C) on the planet. 100g of Acerola provides a whopping 1500-4000mg of vitamin C.
To put this into perspective, that’s between 50-100 times the amount you’d find in an orange or lemon – amazing! Studies have shown that Organic Acerola in particular is even higher in this essential micronutrient, which our immune system loves.
Getting enough Vitamin C in our diet is really important for our health. Some vitamin C supplements can cause unwanted side effects, so it is best to get it from dietary sources.
Signs of vitamin C deficiency include severe fatigue, rough/dry skin, easy bruising and painful joints. So if any of these sound familiar, you might like to boost your intake of Vit C and can do so very effectively with Acerola.
2. Acerola is great for hair, skin & nails
Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, one of the key structural proteins in hair, skin and nails. In fact, Vitamin C is often utilised in collagen supplements to optimise their effect and maximise collagen synthesis.
As the body’s natural production of collagen declines as we get older, boosting your Vitamin C intake can help to mitigate this effect and minimise the visible signs of ageing.
Acerola provides Vitamin C in an entirely natural form which is highly absorbable and bioavailable, helping to accelerate collagen synthesis for hair, nail and skin health.
But it’s not just the Vitamin C content of Acerola which makes it a beautifying berry...
- Packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients which repair environmental damage and help to rejuvenate skin cells
- Hydrates the skin by inhibiting transepidermal water loss, something which contributes to skin conditions caused by skin dehydration - as well as exacerbates lines and wrinkles
- Anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce skin redness and improve firmness and complexion
3. Acerola has immune boosting properties
Of course, Vitamin C is synonymous with immune system function and in high doses can help to fight off the common cold and flu.
Studies have shown that adequate Vitamin C intake can help to cure colds and viruses up to 20% quicker.
Research has also shown that high Vitamin C intake stimulates the production of multiple immune cells including Lymphocytes, Phagocytes and T-Cells.
As Acerola is high in Vitamin C as well as having potent antioxidant activity, it is a doubly powerful immune-enhancing food, with antioxidants helping to stimulate immune response by activating immune cells.
Acerola is also packed with phytonutrients including carotenoids, phenolics, flavonoids, and anthocyanins as well as the minerals iron, phosphorus, and calcium. These all work in synergy to support optimal immune function, so there is far more to this nutritious fruit than its Vitamin C content.
4. Acerola Improves Brain Health
Acerola berries are a potent dietary source of plant compounds called anthocyanins, which are neuroprotective. This means that they help to protect the brain from damaging oxidative stress caused by compounds named free radicals. The high levels of anthocyanins in Acerola can reduce the risk of memory loss and associated cognitive decline.
The benefits of Acerola for boosting brain health are also attributed to their ability to reduce inflammation and oxidation in the brain, which in turn keeps brain cells and neurons healthy.
Rheal Superfoods Berry Beauty with Organic Acerola 🌱
Berry Beauty is our antioxidant blend of nature’s best beauty foods. Made with all natural superfood ingredients to nourish the body from within, it provides Organic Acerola along with 7 other powerful superfoods and is a great source of Zinc, Copper and Vitamin C to support healthy hair, skin and nails.
Many of Acerola's amazing benefits come from its potent Vitamin C content. As Vitamin C is water-soluble, it can’t be stored in the body and so it’s best to include it in your daily diet to have a regular intake.
Just one teaspoon of Berry Beauty provides 100% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C and is easily added to water, smoothies, yoghurt, oats and healthy recipes.
Vitamin C Content of Acerola - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814610014019
Vitamin C Content of Acerola Compared with Oranges - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098779/
Vitamin C Content of Organic Acerola - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814610014019
Decreasing Collagen Synthesis as we Age - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1606623/
Antioxidants and Phytonutrients Found in Acerola - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6098779/
Skin Hydrating Properties of Acerola - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673383/
Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Acerola - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673383/
Immune Boosting Properties of Acerola - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16373990/
Vitamin C Stimulates Release of Immune Cells - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25157026/
Vitamin C Antioxidant Activity - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12569111/
Acerola Stimulates Immune Response - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8227682/
Anthocyanins Found in Acerola - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3459459/