When it comes to health and wellness, you are familiar with the usual buzzwords. “Superfood” and “Power-packed” get thrown around a lot. Likewise, the words probably bring to mind images of leafy kale and bright, juicy blueberries. If you’ve ever visited a health-foods restaurant, then you probably also think of Acai berries.When it comes to health and wellness, you are familiar with the usual buzzwords. “Superfood” and “Power-packed” get thrown around a lot. Likewise, the words probably bring to mind images of leafy kale and bright, juicy blueberries. If you’ve ever visited a health-foods restaurant, then you probably also think of Acai berries.
The long, reddish-purple berry that closely resembles a blueberry is rich in antioxidants. In fact, many makeup and cosmetic brands even use it as an ingredient for their skincare! While there is debate as to whether or not Acai specifically promotes weight loss, there is no doubt that berries are part of a healthy diet which can aid in reduced pounds.
What is Acai?
The acai berry comes from the acai palm tree, which is native to Central and South America. The pulp is richer in antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and even blueberries 1.
According to research, Acai really became popular around 2009. One website recorded this shocking find: “According to Spins, a market research and consulting firm for the natural products industry, Americans spent more than $108 million on acai products in the 52 weeks ending Feb. 21, up from just over $62 million the year before. 2.
As you might expect, Acai berries are pretty fragile, so it’s hard to find them whole anywhere but Central and South America. That means most connoisseurs are going to have to purchase powdered or frozen acai pulp to add to smoothies.
While plenty of people like to add powder or frozen berries to smoothies, these antioxidant-rich superfoods can also be added to skincare.
While some fruits can often be high in natural sugar, acai berries remain relatively low. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional profile of 100g of the food 3:
- Calories: 70
- Calories from Carbs: 16
- Calories from Fat: 50
- Calories from Protein: 4
- Vitamin A: 750 IU
- Calcium: 20mg
- Sodium: 10mg
- Dietary fiber: 2g
- Sugars: 2g
Acai berries, like all fruits, have some pretty exciting health benefits. Here are some of the most important ones 4.
Acai helps to prevent cancer
Remarkably, antioxidants found in Acai berries have been shown to kill cancer cells, especially leukemia. Other research proved Acai began destroying cancer cells in less than 24 hours of ingestion. In one exiting study, the berries successfully killed 86 percent of lung cancer cells 5
Acai helps aid weight loss by reducing appetite
Some research indicates acai berry pulp is effective for weight loss for most people. In fact, it has been shown to reduce the negative impact of high-fat diets. If you’ve ever perused your local health food store, you may have noticed supplements boasting their acai contents. This is due to reports illustrating the health benefits of the food. One such study found that 30 days of using acai supplements or eating the berry on its own allowed for lower levels of fasting insulin and glucose.
Acai is useful in treating various skin disorders
Antioxidants have long been known to help boost skin health, and Acai berries are no exception. They can prevent early aging and even help regenerate skin cells. Our ancestors are believed to have used Acai and other antioxidant-rich foods internally and externally to prevent breakdown of skin cells and to avoid dark spots ,wrinkles and fine lines 6.
Acai reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and stroke
Acai berries are high in something called anthocyanin. This antioxidant is also found in red wine and has the ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream! These powerful antioxidants can prevent blood clots and enhance oxygen flow to your blood while lowering the overall risk of stroke and heart attacks 7.
Acai boosts mental function and sharpness
Unfortunately, we can’t always prevent certain things in our bodies from going downhill as we age. Damaged cells accumulate in our brains and can cause Alzheimer’s and other memory and mental related issues. Polyphenols are what give berries their red/blue hues. They activate proteins that can undo damaged cells 8.
Acai aids in healthy digestion
Acai berries detoxify the digestive tract and assist in healthy digestion. The berries are also a great source of dietary fiber. Many berries are high in fiber, but acai is one of the best 9.
How to prepare Acai and incorporate it into your diet
While Acai berries can be eaten on their own, they are typically added into smoothies or smoothie bowls or taken in a supplement form. If you like sweeter breakfasts, the pulp can be added on top of your waffles. When baking, they can easily be added into the recipe in place of other fruits. Acai juice also serves as an ideal substitute for juices or wines in receipts and is a great addition to marinades, sauces and salad dressings 10.
Acai Bowl Recipe
While there are plenty of acai smoothie bowl receipts out there, this one from Bakerita is one of our faves.
- 2 bananas, frozen
- 1 packet unsweetened acai blend
- 1 Cup frozen raspberries
- 1/4-1/2 cup milk of choice
- Raspberries, fresh or frozen
- Dark chocolate, chopped
- Chocolate hazelnut spread
- Shredded coconut
- In a high-powered blender, combine the bananas, acai berry packet, raspberry and 1/4 cup milk. Blend until completely smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup more milk if necessary to blend smooth.
- Pour into a bowl and top with raspberries, dark chocolate, coconut and a drizzle of chocolate hazelnut spread. Enjoy immediately 11.
Make sure to share this post along with your favorite way to enjoy Acai. Now, time to go to the store and load up on antioxidant goodness!