If the idea of eating magenta purees for breakfast sounds strange, reconsider. Smoothies prepared from mashed acai berries are known as acai bowls, and for good reason—they taste delicious. The acai berry, whose name is pronounced as "ah-sah-ee," is rich in minerals that may help shield against conditions including erectile dysfunction and high cholesterol. The grape-sized berry is so nutrient-dense, in fact, that it has attained the coveted status of superfood. Acai is, of course, not a novel ingredient in American cuisine.
The indigenous South American community known as the ribeirinhos have long relied on this fruit, which is gathered from acai palm trees in Brazil's vicinity of the Amazon River Basin. When martial artists introduced the purple puree to athletes' diets in Rio de Janeiro, it gained notoriety. When two Californians learned about the energy-boosting fruit, they imported it, spread the word about its health advantages, and gradually it gained popularity within the United States. Today, grocery stores and smoothie cafes all throughout the United States carry acai bowls, powders, beverages, and other berry items. Here are some reasons to try or keep consuming the delectable acai fruit.
They Contain a Lot of Vital Nutrients
Acai's inclusion in the superfood category makes sense given that the berries are packed with nutrients that have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including the treatment of high cholesterol, arthritis, obesity, and other conditions. According to the Mayo Clinic, many of these exalted claims haven't yet been scientifically verified, although acai berries do contain vital minerals that specialists vouch for.
According to dietician Allison Tepper of Tepper Nutrition, acai berries have many of the same health benefits as other berries, including being low in calories (about 70 calories per cup of raw berries), high in fiber, which keeps you full for longer, packed with vitamins and minerals, and high in antioxidants, which is one of the main reasons they are considered a superfood.
A Different Experience For Your Tastebuds
The berry known as acai may resemble delicious blueberries or grapes, but it has a distinctive flavor all its own. Expect an earthy, bitter taste that tastes like a cross between rich blackberries and dark chocolate if you eat it fresh in berry form. The flavor experience unfolds in two stages: the initial bite is intensely blackberry-flavored, and after a few period of chewing, notes of dark chocolate appear. This is probably because cocoa beans contain the same polyphenols as acai berries. Acai berries that are raw can have certain drawbacks, though. Between 60 and 80 percent of the fruit is a pit. They are quite fragile, which makes importation difficult.
Because of this, the majority of acai aficionados consume the berry's benefits as powders, pills, drinks, or smoothies. Those acai smoothies and juices also have a sweeter flavor. Acai bowls retain the flavor of the acai berry, as do most smoothies, and then enhance it with yogurt or milk, additional berries, fresh fruit, granola, almonds, peanut butter, and, of course, sugar. The real catch—and potentially harmful health effect—of this fruit in a smoothie is that. A 28-ounce acai-puree bowl from health food business Vitality Bowls has 64 grams of sugar, more than a huge Cinnabon classic roll, which has 58 grams, according to diet-tracking software My Fitness Pal. Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't any healthy choices available. It's one of the explanations nutritionists like Tepper enjoy acai bowls at home.
A Sustainable Food
Nutritional trends can encourage experimentation and healthier eating, but they can also have a negative impact on the environment. Consider almonds. These fashionable nuts need a lot of water, and California, which frequently has droughts, produces 80% of the world's supply of almonds. As a result, Global Citizen advises considering almonds and almond milk as a treat rather than a need because excessive almond cultivation can deplete scarce water resources. Contrarily, acai berries score highly for sustainability. The entire acai tree is often used by farmers to make everything from building materials to woven baskets. Also, according to Global Citizen, only 7% of acai palms are really planted. Most plants in the Amazon grow organically.