July 13, 2024

F1000 Scientist

Health to Life

Is Acai Berry Good For Depression?

3 min read

There are many people with depression that take antidepressants, and many of these people do not realize that there are many natural alternatives. Prescription drugs that many doctors give out on a daily basis can be more harmful to their patients than the disease itself. There are side-effects, both in the short term, as well as long term, and some of these medications are highly addictive.

One of the more recent discoveries that has been made is the Acai berry. It comes from the Amazon Rainforests of Brazil, on the Acai Palm. In reality, this berry is smaller than a grape, and most of it is just seed. In fact, only 10% of the berry is actual fruit. However, this small amount of fruit is highly packed with all sorts of nutrients that our bodies need, and while it does not actually cure depression itself, you can use it to treat many of the symptoms without antidepressants.

For one thing, the Acai berry is full of antioxidants that our body needs. It is great for treating a number of symptoms that relate to depression. Some antidepressants are geared towards raising serotonin levels in the brain, and sometimes, these reduced levels are a result of the brain being inflamed. Acai berry reduces inflammation, both in the brain as well as elsewhere, and can bring these levels back to normal. It can also improve the communication of the cells in the brain, and help improve your metabolism.

Antidepressants have other effects on your body, besides treating depression. One of these is its sedative like qualities that can cause you to fall asleep. This is because people who suffer from this disease may have trouble sleeping. Another part of the problem that goes along with depression is weight control. Either they do not eat enough, or they eat too much, causing weight gain, which makes them self-conscious, and adds to being depressed. It can be a vicious cycle.

Depression also affects your energy levels, and using antidepressants really does not help in this area. In fact, some medications can actually make you more lethargic, and cause you to not want to do anything at all. In order to fight the effects of depression, you need to get out and do things, like exercise, and still do activities that you would normally do. Acai berries help boost your metabolism, it gives you energy and gets you going without harmful stimulants.

Some of the symptoms and causes of depression are because of the build up of free-radicals in our system. While we all have these in our bodies, too much can be harmful. If you do not know what a free-radical is then here is a short explanation. Free-Radicals are organic molecules that are unstable, whether it be from natural cell processes, or from external sources, like eating an unhealthy diet, being around pollutions, etc. These molecules are unstable because they do not have enough electrons, and so they try to steal these from other cells in the body, which in turn cause healthy cells to become radicals and so on causing a virtual domino effect. While some are not too bad, the problem is that when there are too many it can speed up the aging process, cause a run down effect, speed up tissue damage, and even cause some diseases. Antidepressants not only do nothing for this, they can in fact create more free-radicals in the body, contributing to these problems even more.

Because these berries are full of antioxidants, which get rid of these free-radicals, taking them can have a good overall effect at treating depression, without the harmful effects of antidepressant drugs. It also has the highest oxygen radical absorbent capacity, or ORAC than any other fruit or vegetable. ORAC is the capacity for absorbing oxygen free radicals in the body, and while some fruits and vegetables do have high levels, about 2,400 for blueberries, the USDA recommends eating 3,000 to 5,000 units daily. Acai berries score more than this, at 5,500 ORAC.

So where can you get Acai berries to help treat your depression naturally and without antidepressants? You can not go out to your local market and get them fresh. They are an extremely delicate fruit and only last about twenty four hours before going bad. You can buy drinks and powders, as well as different kinds of tablets. However, you need to be extremely careful, because some people will try to scam you with inferior quality.

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