Pictures of Acai bowls and smoothies have taken over Instagram – with their bright and colourful images filled to the brim with fruits, nuts and yoghurts, all hailing the benefits of the Acai berry
But what is Acai, and is it really that good for us?
This new health trend hails from the Acai palm tree native to Central and South America. Producing a small berry, bright purple in colour (making those Instagram pictures pop even more), the acai berry is fast-becoming one of the next big ‘superfoods’.
Overflowing with antioxidants, Acai berries are the newest craze to boast health benefits from anti-aging to weight loss.
But why are they so good for us? Packed full of different types of antioxidants, the Acai berry is specifically known for the antioxidant named anthocyanins. Famed for giving foods their rich blue, red or black colour, anthocyanins can protect against a range of illnesses.
With anti-diabetic, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the ability to fight free radicals in the body, this antioxidant packs the small berry full of praise-worthy health benefits.
Alongside its disease fighting antioxidants, the Acai berry is incredibly nutrient-dense. According to HealthLine, 100 grams of acai pulp contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 70
- Fat: 5 grams
- Saturated fat: 1.5 grams
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Sugar: 2 grams
- Fibre: 2 grams
- Vitamin A: 15% of the RDI
- Calcium: 2% of the RDI
Low in fat and calories, and high in vitamins and minerals, the Acai berry is an incredibly nutritious addition to your diet.
Where can I find Acai?
Because acai berries only grow in South America, the best and easiest way to source the berry is in powders and drinks, such as pure Acai powder or smoothie mixes and fortified protein powders.
With a very strong earthy taste, pure Acai powder is best added to smoothies and drinks. But watch out for sugar levels as many pulps and drinks contain added sugar to soften the taste.
For easy, healthy ways to eat acai we’ve listed some of our favourite recipes below.
You will need two teaspoons of Acai powder, frozen fruit of your choice e.g. banana, strawberries, or kiwi. NB the fruit must be frozen to give the bowl a thicker texture.
Then top with anything from chia seeds and granola to more fresh fruit. Don’t forgot to snap a colourful pic and join the Instagram craze!
Take a handful of raspberries, blueberries and pineapple, 100 ml of water and two teaspoons of Acai powder and blend to make a brilliantly purple smoothie packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. This one has a refreshing sweet kick from the pineapple.
Banana Berry Smoothie
Blend one banana, a handful of blueberries, two tea spoons of Acai powder and 100 ml of oat milk for a creamy and sweet smoothie – just like a nutritious milk shake packed with antioxidants.