Acerola: What is it and why is it super?

What is Acerola?

Acerola is a tiny red fruit, that looks very similar to a cherry, with a distinct sour taste due to the high vitamin C content. The sweetness improves as the fruits ripens, but the sweeter fruits begin to lose their vitamin C content.


Acerola grows on a small tree and it is native to Central and South America and the Caribbean. Its growing season lasts summer to fall, and to grow the tree needs dry, sandy soil and full sun, as well as high temperatures (it won’t tolerate temperature under -1 ºC and winds). The scientific name for Acerola (or Barbados cherry, West Indian cherry or wilde crepe myrtle) is Malpighia emarginata.


Why is Acerola Good for You?

Acerola became popular because of its high amounts of vitamin C. 100 g of these little fruits contain about 1.677mg of vitamin C which is about 2021% of the recommended daily intake. Besides vitamin C, it contains vitamin A, B1, B2, and B3, as well as carotenoids and bioflavonoids, which are important antioxidants


Because of it’s high vitamin C content, acerola is often used to fight colds and boost immunity. Acerola also is an astringent, which means it tends to shrink or constrict body tissues and could help with skin issues (like blemishes) or digestive issues.

  

The super levels of vitamin C means that acerola several important health benefits, including:

  • Acting as a free radical scavenger
  • Protecting cell parts from oxidative damage
  • Increasing iron (non/haem) absorption
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Contributing to a normal collagen formation and the normal function of bones, teeth, cartilage, gums, skin and blood vessels
  • Contributing to the normal function of the nervous system  
  • Reducing tiredness and fatigue

How Do You Consume Acerola?

Although it has some amazing properties and health benefits, the acerola is a very delicate fruit and plant. The fruit ferments really fast and gets ruined just 3-5 days after harvest. They start to lose their nutritional potency even just a few hours after they are collected. Acerola also does not do well frozen, as it falls apart immediately after being defrosted. starting to experiment the changes just a few hours after is collected.


This is why the fruit is most commonly through supplement forms. Even juices spoil easily. Even though the fresh, organically grown fruit would be the best option, it is difficult to commercially transport and sell these fruits before they spoil. Thus, many people use powdered or capsuled forms of the fruit to tap into its vitamin C powers.


Nutritional facts of acerola:

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy

134 kJ (32 kcal)

Carbohydrates

7.69 g

Dietary fiber

1.1 g

Fat

0.3 g

Protein

0.4 g

Vitamins

Quantity % DV*

Vitamin A equiv.

5%      38 μg

Thiamine (B1)

2%   0.02 mg

Riboflavin (B2)

5%   0.06 mg

Niacin (B3)

3%     0.4 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)

6% 0.309 mg

Vitamin B6

1% 0.009 mg

Folate (B9)

4%      14 μg

Vitamin C

2021% 1677.6 mg

Minerals

Quantity % DV*

Calcium

1%    12 mg

Iron

2%   0.2 mg

Magnesium

5%    18 mg

Manganese

29% 0.6 mg

Phosphorus

2%    11 mg

Potassium

3%  146 mg

Sodium

0%      7 mg

Zinc

1%   0.1 mg


*Daily Value: percentage of the recommended amount for a regular adult that takes 2000 kcal/day.

Source: USDA Food Composition Databases


The bottom line:

Acerola is a little fruit rich in vitamin C, other vitamins and antioxidants. Because of its high vitamin C content it is used to boost immunity and contributes to enhance various bodily functions. It can be a great help to fight a cold or flu. The fresh fruit spoils easily, which is why it is primarily found in supplement form.

If you want an easy way to add the powers of Acerola to your diet, check out our Super Antiox mix. 

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