Acerola, also known as Acerola cherry, is full of vitamin C. It not only has an antioxidant effect, but also strengthens the immune system, improves the skin’s appearance and ensures healthy joints. But the cardiovascular system is also strengthened. In addition, studies have shown that vitamin C is important against cancer and can therefore be used as a preventive measure.
Origin and production of acerola
Acerola is a cherry variety, but it grows on shrubs. It is also called Antilles cherry or maple cherry and has many other names. Due to its particularly high vitamin C content, it can be found as a dietary supplement as well as in numerous cosmetic products and is becoming increasingly popular.
Acerola is widespread in many areas. In addition to Mexico, Guatemala and Texas, the Acerola shrub is also located in Panama, Brazil and Jamaica. However, it differs greatly from the growth form. While in Texas or northern Mexico the shrub is rather tendrilous, there are also small to large shrubs and even trees. As you can see, the occurrence is very different and it thrives in dry conditions as well as on river banks, lowland forests or mountain slopes. The altitude is also broadly diversified, since it has no problems with the climate from the lowlands up to 1600 meters.
The Acerola shrub is evergreen and usually reaches a height of about 3 meters. In exceptional cases, however, it can grow up to 10 meters. The bark of the shrub is rather smooth, but has small cork pores that stand out particularly well. The branches, on the other hand, are covered with trichomes, which fall off as the tree ages.
The inflorescences of the Acerola shrub are doldrums and consist of four to six flowers and the stone fruits are globular. They can be up to 15 mm in size and are smooth. Acerola fruits, on the other hand, can have a special characteristic. All over the world, these fruits belong to the variety with the highest vitamin C content. Up to 4500 mg of vitamin C is contained in 100 grams of fresh juice.
The Acerola fruit, which is edible, cannot be exported because it would spoil quickly. Therefore, the fruit juice is used to produce juice or the acerola powder. The powder was first produced in a spray drying process, but the freeze drying process has now established itself, as it is gentler. In addition, the fruits or acerola products are also used very often as vitamin enrichment as well as an additive for ice cream, jam or to enhance the natural aroma of other fruits.
Ingredients of Acerola
As mentioned above, acerola is full of vitamin C and hardly any other fruit contains so much of this vitamin. Only rosehip, which is also very popular in our regions, can have a comparable vitamin C content. But Acerola has much more to offer and contains many other vitamins, minerals and trace elements. In addition, the extraordinary fruit has an antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, soothing, vitalizing and rejuvenating effect.
Dietary fibres or carbohydrates, on the other hand, are hardly contained in the acerola fruit. With just over 1 gram of fibre and about 8 grams of carbohydrates, the fruit is rather thin and therefore not a good source of energy. However, acerola with the other ingredients can score very well.
Vitamins in Acerola
Acerola has an average vitamin C content of about 1700 mg per 100 grams of fruit. Even if this percentage is well above the daily recommended dose of 100 mg, there is no problem of overdose. The body is unable to store the water-soluble vitamin C and simply excrets excess vitamin C again.
Nevertheless, vitamin C is particularly important for the body and the organism. On the one hand, it cannot be formed by itself and must therefore be supplied through the food and on the other hand, vitamin C is an antioxidant which can protect the body from free radicals. Furthermore, it is important to supply vitamin C naturally, as chemically produced vitamin C has a different effect and cannot be absorbed by the body so well. Therefore, it is better to eat more fruit and vegetables instead of offering the body chemically produced vitamins.
Due to its antioxidant effect, this vitamin can protect the body from cell damage and at the same time support cell regeneration. In addition, premature aging of the skin is slowed down and the inner walls of the blood vessels are smoothed, which means that the blood can flow through without hindrance. Furthermore, vitamin C is important to ensure a good absorption of iron and it is involved in the collagen build-up. It also regulates the hormone balance and renders carcinogenic compounds in food harmless.
But also vitamin B2, B3, B5 and beta-carotene are contained in acerola.
- Vitamin B2: Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is particularly important for the metabolism. It is a precursor of an important metabolic enzyme and therefore has a central role.
- Vitamin B3: Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin and has an important role in metabolism. It is involved in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism and is also of great importance for the regeneration of skin, DNA, nerve cells and muscles. However, vitamin B3 also plays a role in digestion, hormone production and blood circulation.
- Vitamin B5: Vitamin B5, called pantothenic acid, is essential for the formation of coenzyme A. This is an essential component in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and steroid hormones.
- Betacarotene: Betacarotene is the precursor of vitamin A and therefore important for cell growth. Betacarotene is also inevitable for the immune system, eyes and blood cells. It promotes not only the immune system, but also killer cells, lymphocytes and cytokine formation.
Minerals in Acerola
The vitamin-rich fruit also contains minerals. These are important for all metabolic processes and without minerals the organism cannot function. In addition to iron and fluorine, acerola also contains potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium.
- Iron: Even if only a small amount of iron is present in the acerola fruit, this concentration is important. By way of comparison: bananas contain about 0.3 mg iron per 100 grams, whereas acerola contains only 0.24 mg iron per 100 grams of acerola. However, this small amount is important because iron is responsible for the transport of oxygen. Furthermore, iron strengthens the immune system and is involved in the formation of blood cells. In combination with vitamin C, iron is better absorbed by the body.
- Potassium: Approximately 38 mg of potassium is contained in 100 grams of acerola and thus in a relatively high concentration. Potassium is particularly important for the regulation of cell growth and blood pressure. However, potassium is also inevitable for the heart and the transmission of stimuli. It is also important for the release of hormones and insulin to ensure that the sugar metabolism works properly.
- Calcium: Per 100 grams of acerola, 12 mg of calcium is contained. As almost everyone knows, calcium is a bone and tooth mineral that is 99 percent bound there. Therefore, the regular intake of calcium is very important, not only for children and senior citizens. This is the only way to prevent osteoporosis. Calcium is also particularly important for blood clotting and the transmission of nerve impulses.
- Sodium: This fruit has about 2.7 mg sodium in 100 grams of acerola. Sodium is particularly important for the transmission of nerve impulses. But it is also inevitable for the electrolyte balance.
- Magnesium: The magnesium content is 12 mg per 100 grams of acerola. Magnesium is above all a protection against blood clots and thus against heart attacks and thrombosis. But magnesium is also important for physical relaxation, which means that active athletes need more magnesium. In addition, it is inevitable against nervousness and stress and continues to be involved in over 300 enzyme reactions. If it is not taken up regularly with the food and a magnesium deficiency develops, this can show up by concentration weakness and fatigue.
Trace elements in acerola
Acerola contains the trace elements zinc and fluorine. Zinc is particularly important for many enzymes and is needed for cell growth. Zinc is also necessary for the development of genetic material. Furthermore, the immune system is protected by zinc from over-reactions.
Fluorine, on the other hand, is said to prevent dental caries. However, recent studies show that this is not really the case. However, a number of further studies must follow in order to prove this adequately.
Other ingredients in Acerola
The acerola fruit also contains anthocyanins, flavonoids and polyphenols. These are also important for the organism and have the following tasks.
Anthocyanins: This ingredient is primarily responsible for the absorption of UV rays and thus counteracts premature skin aging. Anthocyanins should also have an effect on visual performance and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Vessels are also to be protected by this active ingredient.
Flavonoids: The secondary plant substances have above all an antioxidant effect. They also contribute to well-being, intercept free radicals and protect the cells. In combination with vitamin C and other minerals, the effect of secondary plant substances can be enhanced.
Polyphenols: Polyphenols are particularly important for vessels as they can prevent limescale deposits. This means that the blood can flow freely and thus also prevent heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, they should be preventive against neurodegenerative diseases and have an excellent effect against caries.
All these important ingredients are contained in the Acerola fruit, which shows that this extraordinary fruit can contribute to maintaining health. This was already known many hundreds of years ago, as the fruit was used for a wide variety of diseases.
Effect of Acerola
Acerola has long been used in South America for a wide variety of diseases. It is not only used for fever or colds, but is actually part of the daily diet.
After researching the Acerola fruit, filtering out the ingredients and proving its efficacy, it can be said that the exceptional fruit is capable of combating a wide range of diseases. It not only has an antioxidant effect, but also strengthens the immune system, can prevent cancer and is of great importance for the nervous system. However, it also improves the skin’s appearance, strengthens the cardiovascular system and supports the joints in maintaining good health.
Ingestion and dosage of acerola
Acerola is available in different dosage forms and therefore everyone can decide for himself which dosage form is preferred. Of course, the dosage plays a major role in this process, but this is usually indicated on every package or in the package insert.
Taking Acerola Juice: Acerola juice is the most popular way to do good for your health. It is already sufficient to drink a very small glass of Acerola juice per day to clearly cover the daily requirement of vitamin C. But even if the 100 mg of vitamin C is greatly exceeded, this is not a bad thing. Too much of the water-soluble vitamin is simply excreted. As a rule, a shot glass of Acerola juice would be enough to cover the daily requirements.
Acerola powder: The fruits are processed into powder by a gentle freeze-drying process. This form is, besides the Acerola juice, the most popular way of taking it. About 1 gram of powder should be taken daily, i. e. half a teaspoonful of acerola powder. For example, the powder can be dissolved in juices or sprinkled into muesli, yoghurt or quark. It is also suitable in smoothies and can of course also be dissolved in water. One gram of acerola powder is sufficient to cover the daily vitamin C requirement.
The intake of Acerola capsules: Capsules with Acerola extract are also a popular variant, as they are available everywhere and are a good way to supply the body with sufficient vitamin C, even when travelling. The capsules are mainly taken as a preventive measure for chronic joint diseases. As a rule, one Acerola capsule contains 500 mg of Acerola powder and should be taken twice a day with sufficient water. Another advantage of the capsules is that the acidic taste does not appear.
Tip to take: To neutralize the acidic taste, you should take capsules with a lot of liquid and stir the powder into juices.
Of course, the above mentioned dosage is only a guideline and the package leaflet or dosage on the packaging should be followed.