There has been a multitude of recent research concerning the health-restorative benefits of a number of power foods and fruits—including acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee), apple extract, blueberries, grape seed extract, noni juice and pomegranate, to name a few. All appear to contain nutrients with powerful medicinal properties. Research has confirmed that these supernutrients can combat cancer and diabetes, reduce cholesterol and inflammation and help prevent heart disease.
These foods are super because of their high orac value. Orac is the abbreviation for oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a measurement of the antioxidant capacity of a given food. Antioxidants protect cells from free radicals, which are nasty molecules that damage DNA and accelerate aging and muscle wasting.
While health officials are alerting the public about the medicinal benefits of these superfruits, sports physiologists have begun alerting the sports nutrition community about their recovery-accelerating and fat-reducing benefits. In fact, over the past few years the acai berry has been well publicized for its high orac value, as well as its amino acid content.
Because acai has an orac value around 5,500, researchers are excited about its ability to help maintain health, energy and vitality. Also, based on the results of a growing body of evidence, acai has the ability to assist the body in fat-loss via its effects in speeding up the metabolic rate, without disrupting or overriding normal metabolic processes.
Additionally, acai’s high amino acid content makes it a valuable aid in muscle repair and growth while slowing the catabolism, or muscle wasting, that typically occurs during high-intensity workouts.
Finally, because of acai’s ability to speed up the metabolic rate, users have reported renewed energy and vitality following a workout.
In a related study researchers at Stockholm University found that five weeks of drinking 150 milliliters per day of tomato juice standardized with 15 milligrams of lycopene, substantially reduced levels of 8-dihydro-2”-deoxyguanosine, a key marker of oxidative stress. Studies indicate that this inflammatory chemical can elevate to levels 42 to 82 percent above normal during periods of intense exercise.
The researchers reported that after five weeks at the dose ranges cited above, the activity of 8-oxodG was barely detectable. So tomato juice’s antioxidants appear to turn off inflammatory signals that inhibit recovery and accelerate muscle fatigue, giving it a definitive role in accelerating recovery from intense workouts.