Updated: Sep 10
Q: What do you get when you cross a pineapple, an apple and a banana?
A: An Açaí berry.
The Açaí berry is not only the newest craze in health food circles but also one of the most potent superfoods available. Loaded with antioxidants, it's been touted as everything from an anti-aging miracle to weight loss wonder. It’s a staple on our menu at Sproutz. But what exactly is this nutritious little fruit that has so many people buzzing?
1. What is Açaí?
Açaí berries are dark purple, round fruits, about 1 inch in diameter. With a yellow flesh surrounding the large seed at its center, they have been called both berries and drupes by different people - but we know them best as delicious treats!
Açaí has a flavor that ranges from sweet to tart. They can be used in a variety of recipes such as smoothies, puddings, jams, juices and more!
2. Where is Acai harvested?
Açaí comes from a native Palm tree of the Amazon. The berries grow on 60-foot-tall Açaí palms in the rainforests of Central and South America.
As you may have guessed from the name, this fruit comes primarily from Brazil - a country known for its healthy lifestyle choices! In fact, many people believe that Brazilians live longer than any other nationality on earth due to their diet and exercise habits which are often influenced by their natural surroundings. Which brings us to # 3 …
3. What are the health benefits of Acai?
Açaí contains more antioxidants and protein than any other fruit. Açaí berries contain 8 grams of protein per ounce, which is as much as most meats.
A rich source of antioxidants and essential fatty acids, the fruit has been used for centuries by locals who believe it fights illness. But it was only recently discovered by foodies and health conscious eaters in the United States.
Acai has more than double the antioxidants of blueberries and nearly ten times that of grapes. What are antioxidants? Antioxidants are molecules that stop other molecules from being oxidized.
Antioxidants are very important. They protect our bodies from damage caused by toxins and free radicals we encounter every day. Furthermore, they help to slow down or prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and more!
Acai has been recognized as one of the world’s highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) foods. ORAC is a measurement of how well antioxidants can neutralize free radicals. The higher the value, the better the body uses it to fight free radicals.
Although the research on Açaí in humans isn’t yet robust enough to make concrete claims, some think it may help decrease cholesterol (source: PubMed®)
Açaí has also decreased cancer-causing cells in mice. Açaí's potential as an anti-cancer agent is not yet certain, but it could be promising. In animal and test tube studies Açaí has shown some promise for being able to inhibit cancer growth in a number of different cancers including breast, skin, colon or prostate cancer cells. More research needs to take place before we can determine what effect this fruit will have on humans though so until then you'll just need to get your antioxidant fix from other fruits like blueberries
4. What’s the best way to incorporate Acai to my diet?
Since fresh Açaí berries have a short shelf life, they’re mainly exported and widely available in three main forms — purées, powders and juices.
At Sproutz in Sunny Isles and Brickell, Açaí is a key part of our menu. In fact, our team in Brazil has developed a proprietary blend of Açaí that you won’t find anywhere else in the U.S.
Açaí bowls are a great way to get your daily dose of fruit, protein and healthy fats. Whether you are recovering from a hard workout, or just in the mood for something healthy and sweet, Sproutz has your back. Our Açaí Bowls and Cups are packed with nutrients, along with delicious flavor.
Life's always better when you're fueling right!