Acerola: What is it?
Acerola (Malpighia emarginata) is a native plant grown in tropical regions. It is also commonly known as Indian cherry or Barbados cherry. The origin of the acerola bush is believed to be from southern Mexico and the Caribbean.
If you are looking to increase your intake of vitamin C, you may be wondering which fruits are the best to eat. While fruits like lemons, oranges, and kiwi are undoubtedly foods rich in vitamin C . Acerola is an alternative tropical fruit that you can add to your diet.
The acerola bush produces berries similar to cherries, but it is not a berry. Acerola has a pleasant taste and is a high nutrient food. Traditional uses prevent coughs and colds and stomach ailments such as colitis.
Properties and nutrients
The properties and nutrients of the acerola fruit are similar to those of cherries and other stone fruits. Studies claim that acerola is low in calories and is a food rich in phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. (1) The fruit seeds are edible, where the antioxidant content is highest.
I consume acerola both in its new form and as a powdered supplement because it is very rich in vitamin C. It was historically used to prevent a lack of vitamin C. Eating just three acerola fruits per day can meet the vitamin C needs of one adult per day.
Acerola is also a source of vitamin A and provides small amounts of B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, copper, and zinc. Acerola fruit has amounts of beta-carotene comparable to carrots and sweet potatoes. 100 grams of raw acerola provide the following nutrients:
- 32 calories
- 0.5 grams of protein
- 8 grams of carbohydrates
- 1 gram of fiber
- 1680 milligrams of vitamin C
- 38 milligrams of vitamin A
- 0.8 milligrams of copper
- 0.309 pantothenic acid
- Riboflavin 0.06 mg
- 18 milligrams of magnesium
- 146 mg potassium
Vitamin C in acerola
Acerola has an amount of vitamin C around 50 to 100 times more than the most popular fruits such as oranges or lemons. In addition, it provides other types of antioxidants such as carotenoids and anthocyanins.
This explains why research links acerola consumption to improving skin health, preventing certain cancer types, etc.
These cherries are rich in polyphenolic flavonoid compounds known as anthocyanin glycosides that give the fruit its color. Anthocyanins are more concentrated in the skin of fruits. (5)
Health benefits of acerola
Studies (2) that have compared the nutrients of different fruits affirm that acerola contains more vitamin C than the rest. In particular when grown organically.
According to this study, the acerola fruit has higher amounts of vitamin C than even oranges and strawberries and is only surpassed by rose hips. The benefits of acerola are:
- Stimulate collagen synthesis
Vitamin C is also one of the raw materials necessary to produce collagen. Including this fruit in the diet helps improve the health of the skin and connective tissue.
Vitamin C is essential for keeping the immune system working and helping the body fight infections. Supplementing the recommended amount of vitamin C can reduce the likelihood of mild SARS bacterial and viral infections.
- May reduce the chance of colon cancer
Although there are still more studies, research to date suggests that fruits rich in antioxidants and vitamin C can reduce the likelihood of tumors and certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer. (4)
- Improve the digestion process
Eating acerola regularly can improve the digestion process. This is due to its vitamin A content and plant fiber content. Its nutritional properties make it an effective fruit for preventing diseases associated with the digestive system. (5)
Studies (3) suggest that vitamin C could play an essential role in developing strength with direct intervention in the muscle contraction process. In addition, this is one of the nutrients necessary for the synthesis of carnitine. The molecule transports fatty acids to the interior of the cell and is particularly useful when doing long-term aerobic exercises.
Side effects and contraindications
Acerola is considered a safe food. However, in its supplement form, it may have mild side effects and contraindications. The most common are digestive disorders.
It is recommended not to take any amount of vitamin C more fabulous than 3000 mg per day, the equivalent of 200 g of acerola or two measures of supplements. Otherwise, symptoms of hypervitaminosis C may occur. In addition, some people are allergic to any of its components. The side effects and contraindications of an excess of doing it are:
- Stomach pains, nausea, vomiting
- Frequent urination
- Skin rashes
- Kidney problems
Very high amounts of acerola over long periods can cause kidney stones. Check with your doctor if you experience side or lower back pain. It is recommended to consume the organic type acerola to avoid the side effects of pesticides and fertilizers.
Acerola is an orange-red fruit of tropical origin. Its nutritional properties include its high content of vitamin C and antioxidants. One of the benefits of acerola is to stimulate collagen synthesis and stimulate athletic performance. Acerola is considered a safe and healthy food. However, its consumption in excess, particularly in supplements, can have side effects such as upset stomach or kidney problems.