Acerola, benefits of fruit rich in vitamin C

Acerola is a fruit very rich in vitamin C and with antioxidant properties that are very beneficial for our health. Find out more about this amazing fruit.

What is acerola?

Acerola (Malpighia Glabra) is a small fruit. Their skin is deep and bright red. It has a round shape and very similar to cherry . It is between 1 and 2 cm in diameter with smooth skin.

Continuing with its description, these fruits have a very juicy pulp , especially when it is ripe. They have an average weight of 20 grams.

It is also known as cherry, manzanita or semeruco or barbados cherry in English. Acerola produces cherry-like berries. However, he only looks physically alike, nothing more.

It is a sour fruit like orange or guava . Therefore, it has an acid taste that is very pleasant on the palate. In addition, it has a single seed inside.

Its consumption helps us reduce fatigue and gives us energy that helps us to be more vital. Likewise, thanks to its high content of vitamin C, it provides us with many other benefits for our health.

The bush of these berries is between 5 and 15 meters tall and belongs to the Malpighiaceae family.

Origin of acerola

This berry is native to Central America where the Amazonian tribes already knew about its health benefits. According to written data, it is known that these foods were taken raw or in juice to treat various diseases.

From here, its cultivation has spread to regions of South America, mainly in Brazil and the Caribbean. The consumption of these products is increasingly widespread in these countries.

Acerola production

These fruits are currently grown in tropical areas of America, Asia and Africa.

The countries with the highest production of this type of berries are Mexico, Colombia, Haiti, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bahamas, Bermuda, the United States (Texas) and some countries in Africa.

Likewise, Brazil is currently the leading producer of acerola (Malpighia Glabra) in the world. It is largely due to its favorable climatic and terrain conditions.

Acerola season

The season in Spain for this fruit is very short. It begins in September, which is when it begins to ripen and usually lasts for about a month.

You can check the calendar of the  fruit season  to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with  more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.

Where to buy acerola?

It is difficult to see this fruit in markets , since its season in Spain lasts very little. It seems that its conservation is really complicated once the fruit is collected. It matures very early and spoils very easily.

There are markets that offer these fruits in a traditional way at the beginning of autumn, although their duration is very short.

When buying these products, it is important to check that the shape of the fruit is not deformed or crushed and that the skin is smooth. These fruits spoil very easily once they ripen.

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We can also find acerola (Malpighia Glabra) as a food supplement in different herbalists throughout the year. The consumption of these products is increasingly used as a natural antioxidant , among other benefits.

Conservation

Conserving acerola (Malpighia Glabra) is difficult once harvested. Due to its high content of vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), it oxidizes quickly when it matures and deteriorates quickly.

For this reason, it is advisable to cool or freeze these products immediately after they are harvested.

How is acerola consumed?

We always recommend eating raw, fresh and seasonal fruit. It is true that these berries are difficult to eat fresh because they are difficult to preserve.

It can be taken as an ingredient in recipes for juices, jams, ice cream, compotes and other preparations. To make these recipes we can use this frozen fruit.

Also, these fruits are commonly found in dietary supplement form due to their nutritional properties beneficial to our health.

The berry spoils very easily within a few days after harvest. In addition, the juice is limited in time without preservatives, as it also expires quickly.

However, we always recommend that eating fresh fruit is always the first option because it is the most beneficial and complete.

Acerola properties

Acerolas have properties of high nutritional value. Its main characteristic is that it has a high content of L-Ascorbic Acid, natural vitamin C. It provides us between 20 and 30 times more vitamin C than orange or kiwi 

Consequently, 100 grams of acerola provides us with between 1000 and 2000 mg of vitamin C. However, we have to bear in mind that the more the acerola maturing process increases, the more vitamins C are lost. As a consequence, it is recommended to consume the acerola freshly picked, since it matures very quickly.

It also provides us with other vitamins such as class A. It provides us with 2 times more pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium than an orange. And it has carotenoids, polyphenols and vitamins like B1, B2, B3.

It also contains flavonoids and anthocyanins. They are powerful antioxidants that will help us fight cell aging by neutralizing free radicals.

It also gives us 2 times more pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium than an orange. It also has carotenoids, polyphenols and vitamins like B1, B2, B3.

Vitamin C is present in this fruit in greater quantity when it is ripe. Likewise, this berry can be frozen preserving all its properties.

Average nutritional value per 100 grams of acerola

Calories32 kcal
Protein0,4 g
Fibers0,90 g
Fats0,3 g
Carbohydrates7,69 g
Football12 mg
Match11 mg
Iron0,2 mg
Potassium146 mg
Sodium7 mg
Zinc0,1 mg
Copper0.09 mg
Selenium0.6 mg
Vitamin A38 µg
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine0,02 mg
Vitamin B2 – Ribloflavin0,058 mg
Vitamin B3 – Niacin0,43 mg
Vitamin C – Ascorbic Acid1675 mg
Folate24 µg
Water91 g

 

Acerola benefits

This berry has multitudes of benefits for our health , among which we can highlight the following:

1. Helps reduce fatigue

These fruits are rich in ascorbic acid which is a natural energetic. Thanks to the fact that it is also rich in vitamin C, it enhances the energetic action of ascorbic acid.

2. Antibacterial effect

Vitamin C helps our immune system and therefore helps to maintain normal defenses. In addition, it helps reduce both the appearance of colds and their duration. [1]

It is also popularly used for its antibacterial effect by containing phenolic compounds. As a consequence, it is an ally for times of cold or seasonal changes that our defenses are lower.

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3. Antioxidant

Thanks to their nutritional composition, they are powerful antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals in our body. It contains more vitamin C than orange and strawberry . It is only surpassed by rosehip. In addition, it is also rich in vitamin A. Both vitamins are powerful antioxidants. [2]

4. Favorable for improving iron absorption

It is widely known that vitamin C helps the correct absorption of iron from food. It is a great help for people with anemia or for women with heavy menstruation.

5. Beneficial for diabetics

Thanks to its antioxidant power, it can help protect blood vessels from oxidation caused by excess sugar. For this reason, the consumption of these fruits is recommended for type II diabetics.

In addition, it contains polyphenols that favor the absorption of sugars from food. A study shows that the antioxidants found in acerola can help ease the removal of sugar from the bloodstream. With this, it is possible to prevent sugar peaks and troughs in people with diabetes. [3]

Although various studies support the benefits of acerola, more research is needed to discover more about the benefits of this fruit for our health.

6. For a healthy heart

It is a natural source of potassium . Therefore, this food can be beneficial for heart health. Also, potassium is a vasodilator nutrient. Therefore, it helps to relieve blood pressure.

Therefore, it is favorable to reduce the risks of suffering diseases related to the circulatory system. [4]

7. A digestive fruit

It is true that acerola does not contain as much fiber as other types of fruits . However, with the amount that it does not contribute, it is enough to help us in our digestive health. 

Dietary fiber helps us regulate intestinal transit and relieves abdominal bloating among other digestive benefits. In addition, it is arable favor to regulate high cholesterol. [5]

Acerola contradictions

In a normal intake of acerola (Malpighia Glabra) , which varies whether it is extract or fresh fruit, no contradictions have been found.

However, it has been proven that a high or excessive intake of these products can cause gastrointestinal problems.

Conclusions

Acerola is a fruit very rich in vitamin C , phenolic compounds and carotenoid pigments. It is a perfect composition for this product to be a perfect natural antioxidant.

It is ideal for the whole family not exceeding a normal dose to avoid unwanted effects described above.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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