Acerola, the fruit that helps combat tiredness

You may have wondered why you sometimes need a supplement to help avoid burnout during busy periods. The answer is that they prevent our body from exhausting the vitamin reserves we need to go about our daily lives without collapsing on the sofa. The good news is that there are essential vitamins that can be found in very large quantities in some fruits. One of them is acerola.

Acerola (Malpighia punicifolia L.) looks similar to a cherry but at 1-2 centimetres diameter. When it matures in autumn, the acerola fruit can turn red or yellow. It has a bittersweet taste and a meaty texture, with three seeds inside. It is a fruit well known for having a high concentration of vitamin C.

A prized Mediterranean fruit in America

The tree that acerola comes from (Malpighia punicifolia L.)  is a deciduous tree that belongs to the rosaceae family. In autumn, its leaves turn brownish orange. In spring, its flowers are white and emerge as small clusters.

This tree grows well in sunny or semi-shaded places and requires little care, beyond an occasional watering, because it copes well with lack of water. It is resistant to cold and its wood does not burn easily. It is native to the Mediterranean, Middle East and western Asia and grows abundantly in South American countries such as Brazil, the largest producer of acerola today.

What beneficial properties does acerola offer?

Interest in this fruit has increased among the scientific community, and pharmaceutical companies have carried out further studies in recent years. What does acerola contain?

  • A lot of Vitamin C

The vitamin C content of this fruit makes it beneficial for health, as it contains between 1,500 and 4,500mg of vitamin C per 100 grams, which is around 50 to 100 times more than an orange or a lemon (1).

According to the European Food Safety Authority, vitamin C helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue. It also supports healthy immune system function during and after intense physical exercise, when 200 mg of vitamin C per day is added to the recommended intake. From 18 years of age, the EFSA recommends an intake of 110 mg per day for men, and 95 mg for women.

Vitamin C intake is essential for our body, and can have beneficial effects on our health because it contributes to the formation of collagen for healthy blood vessel function, and to bones and cartilage, teeth, gums and skin (2).

According to the EFSA, it is also highly beneficial for maintaining normal energy metabolism levels, the nervous system, for protecting cells from oxidative damage, for regenerating vitamin E in its reduced form and for absorbing iron (2).

Since it has a reservoir of phytonutrients, the fruit exhibits high antioxidant capacity and various interesting biofunctional properties such as a skin whitening effect, and anti-premature ageing activity (3).

  • Other components such as iron and calcium

Acerola also provides carbohydrates with a value of 3.75 grams per 100, iron (with a concentration of 0.24 milligrams per 100 grams); calcium (11.7 milligrams per 100 grams) and phosphorus (17.1 milligrams per 100 grams).

  • Thiamine and riboflavin

Every 100 grams of this fruit contains 0.21 grams of protein, 0.23 g of fats and 8.7 mg / 100 g of pyridoxine, also known as vitamin B6. To a lesser extent, it also provides other vitamins such as thiamine (vitamin B1) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) (4).

How to consume acerola

Acerola can be consumed daily and at any time. Its appetising taste and refreshing texture make it an ideal fruit at the end of a meal, as it acts as a digestive. It can also be consumed as an aperitif, to create desserts and even make acerola liqueur. 

In South American countries it is very popular and is used to make juices, marmalades, ice creams, compotes, jellies, jams, sweets and liqueurs. It can also be consumed as a food supplement, as directed.

Acerola and/or orange: vitamin C every time

To make an informed choice between an orange and an acerola juice, we must remember that vitamin C is oxidizable. Traditional orange or lemon juices tend to lose the fruit’s properties in a few hours; and this loss increases if we remember that most vitamin C is in the peel, which we usually discard.

This means we consume only 26% of vitamin C from squeezing either an orange or acerola fruit. In packaged juices, the properties of juice from an orange can be less, due to the methods used in processing, depending on the product packaging and storage, among other factors.

At Anastore, you can obtain the benefits of this fruit from a range of products that will help you maintain your vitamin C levels at any time of the year: Organic acerola, Incaforce, Anaskin, Selenium and vitamin C and Pro Respiration.

Bibliography

  1. Acerola, an untapped functional superfruit: a review on latest frontiers. Anand Prakash and Revathy Baskaran Corresponding. J Food Sci Technol. 2018 Sep; 55(9): 3373–3384.
  2. Saokar (2013) Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J 4(2): 143-146.
  3. Mezadri T, Fernández-Pachón MS, Villaño D, García-Parrilla MC, Troncoso AM. El fruto de la acerola: composición, características productivas e importancia económica [The acerola fruit: composition, productive characteristics and economic importance]. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2006;56(2):101‐109.