Thousands of years ago, Brazilian natives worshiped the healing properties of a dark purple berry indigenous to the rain forests of the Amazon. That berry is the hard-to-pronounce acai (ah-sah-EE) berry which grows on the acai palm trees found throughout northern South America. Thousands of year later, the rest of the world has finally caught on to this superfood superfruit and now it’s everywhere—in health drinks, in protein bars and most popularly as a powder formed from ground freeze-dried berries.
But what is it about acai berries that has the nutrition world in such a frenzy?
Acai berries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the world – even beating out the highly acclaimed blueberry! Among acai’s many antioxidants is one particular nutritional powerhouse called anthocyanin. Commonly found in fruits rich in red and purple colors, anthocyanins have been shown to strengthen cardiovascular heath, boost immunity, rev energy and prevent premature aging (the Brazilians consider the Acai berry a “beauty berry”). And acai berries have more anthocyanins than any other food! In fact, acai’s ORAC level (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is over 3500—hundreds of times higher than your average berry.
Beyond antioxidants, acai berries also pack more protein per weight than almost any other fruit with nearly 8% of it’s weight coming from amino acids (or 8 grams per 100 gram serving). Acai berries are also rich in Omega fats with nearly 50% of its weight being fat, most of which coming from healthy unsaturated fats such as Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. This makes acai berries an excellent food for improving the look and texture of hair, skin and nails.
I like adding a tsp or two of acai powder into my morning smoothies and juices. If you’re purchasing acai juice, be sure to read the label as many companies have jumped on the acai train and produce acai products with excess sugar and additives (or juices that are mostly water or made from other fruits). Overall I consider this superfood a super add-on to any diet, especially those of you wanting to take your health—and beauty—to the next level.
By: Beata Rydyger BSc RHN, She Lives Clean
Banner Control Plugin Activated!