- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
Nutrition basics (31)
- Phenylalanine in diet soda: Is it harmful?
- Water softeners: How much sodium do they add?
- Diet soda: Is it bad for you?
- see all in Nutrition basics
Healthy diets (11)
- Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Detox diets: Do they work?
- see all in Healthy diets
Healthy cooking (7)
- When the heat is on, which oil should you use?
- Moldy cheese: Is it OK to eat?
- Food poisoning: How long can you safely keep leftovers?
- see all in Healthy cooking
Healthy menus and shopping strategies (8)
- White whole-wheat bread: Is it nutritious?
- Sodium nitrate in meat: Heart disease risk factor?
- Brominated vegetable oil: Why is BVO in my drink?
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Nutritional supplements (18)
- What is wheatgrass — And why is it in my drink?
- Prenatal vitamins: OK for women who aren't pregnant?
- Too much vitamin C: Harmful?
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Acai berries: Do they have health benefits?
What are acai berries, and what are their possible health benefits?
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
The acai (ah-sigh-EE) berry is a grape-like fruit harvested from acai palm trees, which are native to the rainforests of South America. Acai berries are widely touted as a so-called superfood, with proponents claiming that they are helpful for a variety of health concerns, including arthritis, cancer, weight loss, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, detoxification and improving general health.
Acai berries may be a good source of antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats. But research on acai berries is limited, and claims about the health benefits of acai haven't been proved.
Many fruits besides acai berries provide antioxidants and other nutrients that are important to your health. But if you'd like to try acai, check your local health food or gourmet stores — acai can be consumed raw, in tablet form, in beverages such as juice, smoothies or energy drinks, or in other food products such as jelly or ice cream.Next question
What are functional foods?
- Acai. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 2, 2012.
- Marcason W. What is the acai berry and are there health benefits? Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009;109:1968.
- Schauss A, et al. Phytochemical and nutrient composition of the freeze-dried Amazonian palm berry, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (Acai). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2006;54:8598.
- Rufino M, et al. Acai (Euterpe oleraceae): A tropical fruit source of antioxidant dietary fiber and high antioxidant capacity oil. Food Research International. 2011;44:2100.
- Schreckinger ME, et al. Berries from South America: A comprehensive review on chemistry, health potential, and commercialization. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2010;13:233.