Acai Super Berry .A species of the palm tree, the Acai Super Berry, is cultivated for the acai berry and hearts of palm. The word acai literally means “fruit that cries,” or fruit that expels water. It is a berry that rapidly ferments, and because of this we typically find it in dried powder form and frozen puree form. This berry is native to Brazil, Trinidad, and other countries in northern South America.
Mainly growing in swamps and floodplains, it has been a staple of the Ribeirinhos people for thousands of years. There are so many unique descriptions of its flavor: not sweet like a typical berry, bitter, chocolaty aftertaste, earthy, rich, and milky.
I think this is why it lends itself so wonderfully to smoothies and smoothie bowls, because it is a berry of many flavor profiles. Its popularity has grown tremendously with the current focus on healthy eating.
Although Acai Super Berry has been a staple food in the Amazon River delta, its source of energy replacement and “superfood” qualities have recently made it a staple in health and nutrition stores and restaurants. It is said that a family of martial artists included it in puree form for training athletes, and then it began to appear on menus in Rio as an ice cream‑like treat.
Acai was pretty unknown until two Californian surfing brothers were wowed by its energy‑boosting properties and found a way to import the frozen stuff to North America. Its nutrition breakdown is quite remarkable.
In its frozen form, 3.5 ounces (100 g) has 247 calories, and Acai Super Berry has higher antioxidant levels than blueberries. In its freeze‑dried form, 1.75 ounces (50 g) has 265 calories, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, and 16 grams of fat, mostly stemming form oleic acid and monounsaturated fat. The powdered form is particularly rich in calcium and vitamin A.
This tiny berry also offers the highest phytochemical content of any fruit or vegetable. These phytochemicals, especially anthocyanin and phenolic acid, are plant compounds that offer disease‑fighting properties that benefit our health in many different ways. Let’s chat about why the acai berry is so incredibly healthy. Nutrient dense: The acai berry is unique for a fruit. It is high in good fats and low in sugar.
Antioxidant load: Acai Super Berry is loaded with antioxidants.
The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) score typically measures the antioxidant levels of foods. Just 3.5 ounces (100 g) of acai pulp has an ORAC score of 15,405, whereas the blueberry has a score of 4,669 for the same amount. Specifically, the antioxidant anthocyanin may lower oxidative stress and inflammation, promoting brain health. Anthocyanins have been shown to not only enhance but also improve memory, reduce the risk of heart attacks in young and middle‑aged women, and aid in anticancer activities.
Brain function: We’ve touched on how the acai berry may improve brain function, but it definitely deserves a little more attention. Many studies have been done on how the antioxidant in acai, anthocyanin, counteracts the detrimental effects of inflammation and oxidation on brain cells. This inflammation negatively affects memory and learning processes.
One of the main ways that acai has been shown to help with brain function is in its ability to “clean house.” As our brain ages, the process of cleaning up the toxic brain cells that are no longer working properly, known as autophagy, is slowed down and less efficient.
However, acai extract helps stimulate this neuronal housekeeping function. Anticancer: No one food has the ability to stop cancer, but some superfoods have been shown to have anticancer properties. Acai has demonstrated great potential in this area due to its high antioxidant levels.
Cholesterol levels: Studies have shown that the regular consumption of acai pulp can help lower blood cholesterol levels and decrease the chances of heart disease by decreasing LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and improving HDL, or “good,” cholesterol. Skin health: Acai is being used in beauty products because of its high antioxidant levels.
But the fruit is not only topically beneficial: eating acai berries is incredible for increasing skin density and promoting that natural glow we all crave. Superfood is a term thrown around a lot in our vocabulary lately. What is a superfood and how is acai one? Superfood is a nonmedical term that has been popularized by the media.
It refers to foods that have great health‑promoting properties due to their high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, or other nutrients that have been shown to reduce the risk for disease and improve physical or emotional health.
Acai is considered a superfood because it has super‑high levels of antioxidants and helps reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, lowers LDL cholesterol, and improves brain function. How can you use acai in your diet? Acai comes in two main forms: as a frozen pulp (puree) in 3.5‑ounce (100‑g) packets and as a powder.
The frozen pulp is excellent for smoothies, smoothie bowls, ice pops, sorbets, gelato, frozen yogurt, iced tea, and granitas.
The powdered form is great in sweet treats such as brownies, muffins, cupcakes, fudge, granola, waffles, energy balls, and pancakes. In this book, I have broken down our use of acai into three main sections. I’ve started with smoothies, then smoothie bowls, and then miscellaneous sweet treats.
Not only have I included acai in every single recipe, but I have also added other incredible superfoods, including chia seeds, spirulina, baobab, cacao, and maca. These other superfoods can be left out, but they do make each recipe unique and highly nutritious.