Nutrition Market

Acai Berries - A Superfruit Packed with Antioxidants

Acai berries are a small round fruit grown on acai palm trees in the Amazon rainforest. Known as a superfood and superfruit, these deep purple berries are packed with antioxidants and nutrients. Here in Australia, acai is becoming an increasingly popular health food and ingredient.

What are Acai Berries?

The acai palm, scientifically known as Euterpe oleracea, produces a deep purple fruit around 1 inch in size. Despite their small stature, acai berries are considered one of the most nutritionally dense foods in the world. Native to Central and South America in places like Brazil, the trees grow in swampy, flooded areas which gives the acai berries their characteristic muddy taste. These antioxidant rich berries have been an essential part of the indigenous diet in the Amazon for centuries.

Acai berries have a unique nutritional profile. Just 100 grams contains healthy fats, fibre, protein, vitamins, minerals and of course a generous serve of antioxidants. It’s this killer nutritional combo that has earned them superfruit status around the world.

So what’s the deal with all the hype? Let’s take a closer look at why acai is considered so good for you.

The Benefits of Acai Berries

There are many scientifically studied benefits associated with eating acai berries and using acai products. Here are some of the top reasons to add these superfruits into your routine:

Packed with Antioxidants

Acai tops the ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) which measures antioxidant levels in foods. The dark purple pigment in the berries comes from anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant that mops up cell damaging free radicals in your body. Anthocyanins are also thought to protect against heart disease and inflammation.

Supports Healthy Ageing

As a potent source of antioxidants, acai berries can help defend your body against oxidative stress and slow down effects of ageing at the cellular level. Antioxidants counteract free radicals which over time degrade cells and lead to age related issues.

May Promote Heart Health

The anthocyanins in acai are linked with improved blood circulation and cholesterol levels, both important for a healthy ticker. Studies also indicate the berries’ antioxidants protect blood vessels from damage.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The antioxidants and plant compounds in acai berries display anti-inflammatory properties which may relieve pain and swelling in the body. Applying acai oil directly onto the skin has been shown to reduce skin irritations too.

Aids Digestion

With a high fibre content, acai could support digestion and promote regularity. As most of the fibre is insoluble it helps move material through the gut, relieving constipation. The berries also contain enzymes that assist in breaking down foods.

Boosts Immunity

Acai is loaded with vitamins A, C and E - all essential for immune system function. It also contains minerals like selenium and zinc which have antiviral effects and further bolster your body’s defences.

Benefits Skin Health

The antioxidants in acai can help mitigate some signs of ageing like wrinkles and skin damage when applied topically. Drinking it may also give your skin an antioxidant boost. Studies are also looking into acai’s protective effects against skin cancer.

Supports Brain Function

Acai is rich in anthocyanins which studies have linked to improving memory and concentration. The berries also appear to enhance communication between brain cells which helps with learning. Antioxidants protect delicate brain tissue from oxidative damage over time too.

Aids Weight Loss

Despite being high in calories and fat, acai’s fiber and plant compounds may encourage weight loss - especially belly fat. Research indicates it ramps up your metabolism which helps burn more calories and shifts fat from storage.

So as you can see, these little Brazilian berries really do pack a nutritional punch. Let’s take a look at some common questions about buying and using acai.

Frequently Asked Questions about Acai

How do you eat acai berries?

Due to their quick spoilage, acai berries are nearly always frozen or made into other products like smoothies and powders. To eat them fresh you need to be in the Amazon rainforests! When frozen or freeze dried, acai has a richer flavour and the nutrients are better preserved.

Popular ways to eat acai include:

  • Acai bowls - blended frozen acai topped with fruit, nuts and seeds
  • Acai smoothie packs - blend with liquid for an antioxidant rich drink
  • Acai powder - adds superfood goodness to smoothies, yoghurts etc
  • Acai oil capsules

Where can you buy acai in Australia?

Being native to South America, acai berries aren’t readily available fresh in Australia. But you can find many acai products in health food stores, pharmacies and online:

  • Frozen acai puree
  • Dried acai berries
  • Acai berry powder
  • Acai oil capsules
  • Acai smoothie sachets

Many cafes and juice bars also sell acai smoothie bowls if you want to taste test before you buy.

When shopping for acai, always check the ingredients list and look for pure, additive-free acai. Beware of juices or smoothies loaded with sugar, preservatives and other nasties.

How to store acai?

To retain the nutrients and quality of your acai, storage is important.

  • Frozen acai puree - lasts 6 months frozen
  • Dried acai berries - store in cool, dark place for 6 months
  • Acai powder - seal container and store for 3-6 months
  • Acai capsules - store in cool environment for up to 2 years

What does acai taste like?

On its own, acai tends to have quite a strong, almost medicinal flavour. The berries have an astringent, bitter taste resembling unsweetened dark chocolate. They also carry an earthy, berry-like undertone.

When blended in a smoothie bowl or juice, other fruits like banana or berries balance out acai’s unique taste profile. Added sweeteners and toppings also make it more palatable for most people.

So if you’re looking to boost your antioxidant intake and overall nutrition, consider adding some Brazilian superfruit goodness into your routine. Thanks to online stores and health food aisles, it’s easy to get your hands on high quality acai products.

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