Having lost nearly two stone during my illness last year I was keen to build up my muscle mass and begin rebuilding the strength I had lost when I was sick. Living With An Invisible Illness is difficult because although I appeared ‘frail’ and ‘gaunt’ many people assumed that I was anorexic or not ‘ill’ at all and I sunk into an inevitable hole of depression, disgusted at the fact that I could count my ribs which visibly poked through my clothing. Although I was naturally petite before my illness, I became unable to keep food down because of my stomach and digestive tract issues and was left taking a series of medications that doctors claimed would help me get better. Of course it didn’t and for months I was getting worse but I never gave up trying to get better and slowly the nausea alleviated and the weight came piling back on. At 7st 5 I am still underweight but I am confident that in time I will reach my target weight of 8 stone by September. Still that is not to say that I am completely better because I am still sick a lot but what helped me cope was not medication- which I threw out a month ago because it did not help me one bit- but instead gradually un-shrinking my stomach through new eating schedules that incorporated a ‘little but often’ motto. Even when it caused me a lot of pain I pushed through and began making smoothies and eating more fresh fruit and vegetables to boost my immune system. One of the greatest finds I ever made was ‘Focus Supplements’ , a site dedicated to introducing ‘gut friendly’ , immune boosting supplements, powders and vials. Because I have a sensitive stomach due to my IBS, Gilbert’s and digestive tract issues I was recommended to sample Focus Supplements Acai Berry Powder
Rich in antioxidants, acai berry is renowned for its ability to keep our digestive system clean and in optimal function. The berries have powerful detoxification capacities in the human body and are a well-known traditional source of dietary fiber. Because I have problems with going to the toilet due to my IBS and defunct digestive tract, the acai berry powder acts as a natural ‘internal cleanser’ and reduces the blockage in my gut. In other words it helps me to go to the toilet with more ease and less pain than I am accustomed to, whilst reducing the daily stomach cramps that I get due to my digestive issues. Having always been a fan of acai berry and goji berry juice, using acai berry powder was the natural alternative that I sought to aid me with basic functions and I found it irritated my stomach less than the medication I was previously given.
Despite its health benefits it is fair to say that acai is one of the most underrated berries and should be given more exposure because to me it is far more palatable than spinach and kale as well as having a higher level of plant oxidants than both vegetable groups. And that is not the only benefit of taking acai berry supplements; high in iron, calcium, fibre and vitamin A, acai berries fights off harmful organisms because it boasts a powerful combination of Vitamin C and ellagic acid, an immune-system-boosting combination that has been shown to suppress the growth of cancer. Although acai berries should never be seen as a ‘cancer cure’ studies have shown that daily acai consumption reduces cancer cell proliferation by 56-86%. In fact my own aunty who always and still leads a healthy lifestyle, testified that fresh fruit including acai that is low in citrus acid and green leafy vegetables helped ‘not cure’ but overcome her obstacle of stomach cancer. Today my aunty stands strong and undefeated and I want to follow her lead by making a turnaround in my diet with the introduction of fruit, vegetables and anti-oxidant supplements to help me grow stronger and gain weight.
Due to its high fibre content I found that one spoonful of acai berry powder was enough to cleanse and improve my immune and digestive system and found that two spoonfuls irritated my stomach so be mindful of your intake if you have a sensitive stomach like me. During the first sampling session I tried two spoonfuls which had a quite strong but not unpleasant smell and turned the smoothie (recipe coming soon) a light maroon shade. The taste was very subtle, with slight berry undertones but mostly tasted like powdery milk. However within the next hour I had quite painful stomach cramps (which I often get with high fibre products) and it took a while for my stomach to become less aggravated. I had learnt my lesson and knew that one spoonful would have more of a gentle effect on my stomach and I was right. Although I still got stomach cramps I found that it helped lubricate -excuse the graphics- defecation more efficiently and the pain subsided a lot quicker than using two spoonfuls. Because the taste was again almost non-existent I added some frozen berries and apple juice to see if the taste would become more noticeable but all I could taste was the strength of the other berries. For me I don’t see the subtle taste as a bad thing because it still had a range of proven benefits that even worked with my own dietary issues and for that I commend Focus Supplements. Over a course of two weeks I sampled one teaspoon of acai berry every second day and found that not only did it help me go to the toliet and soothe my irritated stomach but it also sharpened my concentration skills and like Teami Energy boosted levels of stamina and energy. Because I had more energy it reduced my daily ‘brain fog’ which on average takes six hours to reduce and with the inclusion of acai berries reduced it to only three hours and hid the fact that I was having less sleep that week. Which leads me onto my next point; some work shifts I have to get up at 4 AM for and because I am not usually able to sleep until 1-2 Am it meant that I was sleeping an average of three hours over the course of a week, which left me infallibly exhausted and nauseous.
When I become extremely tired my skin becomes very drawn and my jaundice ( due to my Gilbert’s and its inability to break down red blood cells) is a lot more noticeable. With that being said I found that taking acai berry shakes and sipping them to and from work gave me the boost of energy I needed and also improved the tone and texture of my skin. Breakouts were reduced, dark circles slightly diminished and for the first time in a while my skin was glowing and not due to oiliness either!Pros– High in anthocyanins, associated with the ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream.-Rich in plant sterols that provide cardio-protective benefits to our cells.-Prevents blood clots, improves overall blood circulation, and relaxes the blood vessels- High in iron, calcium, fibre and vitamin A. Cons– Taste is very subtle which again is not an issue for me but to some who prefer stronger tastes try adding more berries or even leafy green vegetables to add flavour.
What Are Your Thoughts On Acai Berries And Do You Have Any Recipes To Share?