What is Acerola?
Acerola is a fruit from a shrub and is native to tropical areas in South America and the Caribbean. The botanical name is Malpighia glabra. This evergreen shrub grows multiple small flowers. In its place grow small 1 to 2 centimetres in diameter ovoid fruits.
What does an acerola cherry taste like? It has a sweet but sharp taste, which is why it’s commonly used in syrups, jams and juices. Acerola’s primary superpower is its high vitamin C content.
So how much vitamin C do acerola cherries contain? One cup of acerola cherries packs 1,700mg of vitamin C. You’d have to eat 16 cups of oranges to get that amount!
The benefits of acerola are not a recent discovery. The Amazonian Indians were the first to notice the huge beneficial potential of this superfruit. They consumed it notably to fight against certain forms of diarrhoea, dysentery and liver disorders.
Upon their arrival in South America, the Spanish conquistadors developed a keen interest in the properties of acerola. Sailors quickly became accustomed to drinking the juice to prevent a common disease on-board: scurvy. Over the centuries this deadly disease due to vitamin C deficiency has disappeared but the benefits of acerola continue to be a real hit nowadays.
Acerola – an incredible source of vitamin C
Acerola is the best natural source of vitamin C for the nutraceutical industry. The vitamin C level of acerola is 30 times greater than in reputed fruits like oranges. This superfruit has other nutritional properties: levels of vitamin A, vitamin B group and minerals (iron, calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium).
3 Health Benefits of Acerola
Thanks to its high amounts of vitamin C and other essential vitamins and minerals, this tropical fruit has a wide range of health benefits.
Boost your immune system
Acerola contains an abundant amount of vitamin C, which is why it is used to help combat the common cold, flu and Scurvy.
Multiple studies show a direct link between consuming whole foods high in vitamin C and having a strong immune system. This is due to the fact that vitamin C encourages the production of white blood cells, known as lymphocytes and phagocytes. These cells help protect your body against certain infections and viruses.
Because of this, vitamin C consumption has been shown to reduce the longevity of colds by anywhere from 5% to 21%. In older people who required hospitalization for severe cold symptoms, even a dose of 200 mg of vitamin C was shown to reduce the clinical severity of the illness.
Great for skin
Acerola can also provide deep hydration, because it decreases transepidermal water loss, allowing your skin to better retain moisture.
Another vitamin that promotes skin health is vitamin A, which can also be found in acerola cherries. Researchers from Brown University found that people whose diets included high levels of vitamin A had a 17% reduction in risk for getting squamous cell carcinoma – the second most common form of skin cancer.
Improve brain function
Acerola can improve the function of brain receptors and help protect against memory loss and other cognitive disorders.
Due to its high level of antioxidants, acerola can also reduce inflammation and oxidative stress that cause damage to brain cells and neurons.
Though clinical trials are still scarce, plant-derived antioxidants offer promising evidence in slowing down progression of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.