Acerola cherry (Malpighia Glabra L. ) has recently been touted for that buzzword of health, antioxidants, but the acerola cherry is not new, having been enjoyed by people in North, Central, and South America for centuries. In fact, it grows natively in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, and is beginning to be cultivated especially for it’s nutritional potency.
It has been grown in California by farmers since at least the 1960’s. It’s also called Barbados Cherry, West Indian Cherry, Cereza, Cerisier, and Semeruco, so if you’re not familiar with it under the Acerola Cherry moniker, you may know it as one of those.
Doubtlessly, you’ll soon begin to see acerola cherry advertised as the latest superfood, despite the fact that it’s been hanging around for years now. You know the drill. Just send your credit card information for a “free” trial, NOT! Actually though, it will only take a few appearances of some “doctor/trainer to the stars” hawking it’s virtues on the talk show circuit to make that scenario a reality. People will start producing different preparations of the stuff and there you go.
What’s SO Great About Acerola Cherry , Anyway?
Acerola cherry does have much to recommend it, though. It is extremely high in antioxidants, for example, ranking above 11 other common fruits tested in a 2006 Brazilian study. That study found that Acerola cherry had approximately 7.5 times the antioxidant potency on the TEAC scale than the highly touted acai berry that was all the rage this time last year. In addition, it is loaded with vitamin C (itself a strong antioxidant), with almost 30 times the vitamin C of an equivalent serving of orange juice, but has only half the calories and 1/3 the carbs of OJ. Sorry Florida!
Remember, Vitamin C is one of the nutrients that your body can not make for itself, so you must constantly replenish it. It is water soluble, so it is flushed out constantly.
One of the most popular ways to use preparations of Acerola cherry for health, fitness, and weight loss purposes is to blend it in a smoothie, and you know I’m a big fan of smoothies, too. It’s a great way to get a ton of nutrients in one convenient package. One hint for you smoothie makers out there; used crushed ice to make them. They’ll be faster to blend, and much smoother and more consistent. It will supercharge your smoothie with vitamin C and other antioxidants and help speed up your fat burning efforts.
It’s main contribution to helping your fat burning efforts is through the boost your immune system and recovery efforts after high intensity training sessions. So far, it doesn’t have any documented fat burning effects per se that I could find, although a recent 8-week double-blind, placebo-controlled, depletion-repletion trial with submaximal exercise testing study conducted at Arizona State University did discover that people that are deficient in vitamin C burn 25% less fat per equivalent activity than those that are not.
The cherry is loaded with highly anti-inflamatory anthocyanins . That doesn’t mean they never say anything you’d find on Fox News, but it does mean that they help your body heal from injury and fight pain and swelling. If you’re working out hard, you’ll definitely benefit from that.
Where Can I Get Acerola Cherry?
You can get it in tablet/powder form at many health food and nutrition stores, normally as some sort of vitamin C supplement. You can also find freeze dried berry preparations that use only pure forms of the berry. Many times you can find stashes of it at farmer’s markets in southern California and Texas. Here’s a novel idea; plant an Acerola Cherry tree in your yard and harvest the fruit yourself, if you live in a relatively warmer climate that never gets colder than 29F, such as Arizona, S. Cal, Florida, or south Texas. Try the California Rare Fruit Grower’s Ass’n for seeds and more info, but you’ll have to become a member before they’ll send you anything. http://www.crfg.org/seedbank.html
Here is a reasonably priced supplement from Amazon.com Click Here, in case your local Whole Foods Market or farmer’s market doesn’t have any of the fresh stuff (the way to go).
NutsOnline has pure powdered form of the fruit available too,