While these bright, red berries closely resemble cherries, they are actually not related. Acerola berries are known to be one of the richest fresh fruit sources of vitamin C. They contain up to 2,520-mg/100 g, which is more than 50 times that of lemons!
Blood sugar regulation: Acerola may reduce blood sugar levels according to a study that was done in 2006 by Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. The antioxidants extracted from acerola help suppress transport of blood sugar throughout the intestines.
Immune system: Elevated doses of vitamin C increase the production of interferon, a protein that inhibits the proliferation of viruses and stimulates the immune system and halts the growth of tumoral cells. In addition to vitamin C, acerola contains organic acids such as malic acid and flavanoids such as rutin and hesperidin, which contribute to the antioxidant properties of the acerola berries.
Cancer prevention: Due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, acerola berries are beneficial in cancer prevention.
Purchasing, storing, & enjoying:
Purchasing: Acerola berries are not commonly sold in grocery stores, but they can be purchased online or in most natural food stores. They can also be sold in the form of a pill, powder or extract.
Storing: Store berries in the refrigerator where they will keep fresh for up to five days. Extracts, powders, and supplements should be stored in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight.
Enjoying: This fruit must be completely ripe before it can be consumed and even then they are quite sour. Acerola juice is usually blended with other sweeter fruit juices.
Good Source of:
Resources & recipes:
Brazilian acerola sauce: http://flavorsofbrazil.blogspot.com/2010/06/recipe-acerola-sauce.html
Acerola chia lime popsicles: http://www.chefpandita.com/acerola-chia-lime-popsicles/
Hanamura T, Mayama C, Aoki H, Hirayama Y, Shimizu M. “Antihyperglycemic effect of polyphenols from Acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) fruit.” Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2006 Aug;70(8):1813-20.
Nunes Rda S, Kahl VF, Sarmento Mda S, Richter MF, Costa-Lotufo LV, Rodrigues FA, Abin-Carriquiry JA, Martinez MM, Ferronatto S, Ferraz Ade B, da Silva J. “Antigenotoxicity and antioxidant activity of Acerola fruit (Malpighia glabra L.) at two stages of ripeness.” Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2011 Jun;66(2):129-35.
Visentainer JV, Vieira OA, Matsushita M, de Souza NE. “Physico-chemical characterization of acerola (Malpighia glabra L.) produced in Maringá, Paraná State, Brazil.” Arch Latinoam Nutr. 1997 Mar;47(1):70-2.