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Acerola cherry, West Indies cherry, or Barbados cherry, are common names for acerola, which is found in the Western hemisphere.
These berry-like fruits offer several health benefits to humans and have been used for centuries in the field of traditional medicine. In the past, people used to consume acerola to treat liver and digestive maladies, as well as seasonal infections such as the flu or cough.
This article focuses on the health benefits that you can expect from consuming acerola, according to modern science.
The vast majority of acerola's benefits can be attributed to its rich content in vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulator.
Here are four benefits of acerola consumption:
Lower risk of disease
Oxidative stress is defined as the accumulation of free radicals inside the cells, which increases the risk of DNA mutation and cellular death.
Recent research suggests that oxidative stress is involved in the vast majority of chronic diseases, including coronary artery disease, blood hypertension, and diabetes.
When the body cannot neutralize these free radicals (antioxidant deficiency), tissue damage and disease processes kick in.
Fortunately, vitamin C – found in large quantities in acerola – is a potent antioxidant that is able to neutralize reactive oxygen species, which prevents several ailments.
In a 2015 study, researchers found that vitamin C can reduce oxidative stress by up to 30%.
Better control of blood pressure
Chronic blood hypertension is known in the medical community as the silent killer because of all the detrimental complications it can lead to without any warning signs.
This disease is especially harmful to the heart since it can cause left-sided heart failure due to the inability of the heart to push blood against highly resistant vessels.
Scientists noticed that patients with high blood pressure reported lower systolic and diastolic numbers after the intake of acerola
This intrigued them to research the authenticity of this finding, as well as the underlying mechanism.
In a 2002 study conducted on lab rats, researchers deduced that vitamin C promotes vasodilation (relaxation of blood vessels), which reduces arterial resistance, and eventually, blood pressure.
When scientists studied this effect on humans, they found that vitamin C can decrease systolic blood pressure by 4.9 mmHg and diastolic pressure by 1.7 mmHg.
While these numbers might not seem substantial, they could make the difference between life and death!
Decreases risk of cardiovascular disease
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the first leading cause of death worldwide! This disease is the result of the irreversible clogging of the coronary artery – the primary vessel that supplies the heart muscle with blood.
As a result, cardiac cells start to die because of the lack of oxygen and glucose, which leads to life-threatening arrhythmias and death.
While we have better biomedical technology and pharmaceutical drugs to manage patients with CAD, the best approach is still prevention.
In a big meta-analysis, scientists found that participants who take 700 mg of vitamin C on a daily basis had a 25% reduction of risk of CAD compared to those who didn’t take the supplement.
Note that 100 grams of acerola contain 1677 mg of vitamin C.
This effect is attributed to the powerful antioxidant properties of vitamin C, especially since oxidative stress is the main driver of the pathogenesis of CAD.
There is a common belief that taking regular consumption of acerola can help reduce the flu symptoms and other upper respiratory viral infections.
While this statement is not completely true since scientific studies found negligible to no effects of vitamin C on the flu, the reason this myth became a belief is due to the immunity-boosting properties of vitamin C.
Acerola is a great fruit that improves overall well-being due to its high content in vitamin C.
Hopefully, this article helped you gain a better perspective about the benefits of acerola, but if you still have any ambiguities, feel free to ask in the comment section below.
This blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The views and nutritional advice expressed are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. Please always consult your health care provider if you are experiencing any medical conditions. All content on this page has been thoroughly reviewed. Nevertheless, no liability can be accepted for the completeness and accuracy of the information.