If you haven’t heard any hype about açaí (pronounced ah-sah-EE or ah-sigh-ee), you’ve missed hearing about one of the newest and brightest super health foods. These little gems have more antioxidants per four-ounce serving than blueberries, strawberries, and red wine combined! Yep, it’s acai superfood!
Açaí berries are produced by a palm tree that grows in the floodplain areas of the Amazon River in Brazil. They taste rather like blueberries with a hint of slightly bitter chocolate. Oh yum!
The berries are about the same size as a blueberry, but are 95% seeds, which are thrown away and just the skin and actual fruit pulp is eaten.
Açaí is rather a quirky fruit, with the biggest part of the calories coming from fat. Yes, fat. One four-ounce serving of pure açaí would have six grams of fat. The thing is, this is one of those good-for-you anti-inflammatory fats, omega-9.
There are also ten times more of anthocyanins, which are antioxidant flavonoids, in açaí than an equal serving of red wine, and they only make up a measly 10% of the total antioxidants in this health food.
Other health benefits of açaí include calcium, essential fatty acids, fiber, iron and vitamin A. It also has phytosterols, a plant component known to reduce cholesterol and produce other good health effects.
Açaí comes in juice, as frozen pulp, bottled smoothies, and in powdered forms that can be found in health food stores and many regular grocery stores. You won’t find the whole açaí berries, however, as they are highly perishable, so are only available in Brazil.
Besides drinking the juice, the pulp can be used in smoothies, added to yogurt or on top of cereal, or eaten alone. It’s best not to heat açaí, as that may diminish some of the antioxidants.
To give your diet a powerful punch of antioxidants, try acai, a member of the superfoods list!