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Originating from the rainforests of Brazil, Belize and Peru, the acai is a small, round, black-purple fruit similar in appearance to a blueberry. Traditionally used as a treatment for diarrhoea, parasitic infections and haemorrhages, acai is a dietary staple for people of the Amazonian rainforest, where is has been harvested for centuries.
With a taste that is described as reminiscent of wild berries and chocolate, the acai berry is as nutritious as it is delicious. Acai have one of the highest antioxidant content of any fruit, are low in sugar and contain good amounts of iron, calcium, fibre and vitamin A. A 50-gram serving of freezedried acai also offers 16g of fat, mostly in the form of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat such as that found in avocados. In addition, acai are very high in anthocyanin compounds such as resveratrol and ferric acid, which gives the acai its red/purple appearance. Also found in red wine, although at much lower levels, anthocyanins are beneficial for maintaining a healthy circulatory system, ensuring proper nerve function and even offer anti-cancer benefits.
The nutritional properties of the acai berry may help prevent health problems such as arthritis, inflammation, erectile dysfunction, neurological diseases and allergies. In recent years, the acai berry has also been promoted as having significant weight loss potential, although scientifically speaking the jury is still out on this.
As acai berries are so low in sugar and acid, they must be picked, processed and frozen before leaving the Amazon. If left unprocessed, the acai will quickly oxidise, turn brown and lose it’s nutritional benefits. As a result, acai berries are rarely available fresh. Instead they are sold in the form of a freeze-dried powder or juice.
With uses that range from cosmetics, anti-ageing skin creams, natural food colourings and food supplements, acai can be a great nutritional booster to add to your diet. Available in large supermarkets and health food stores throughout the world, acai products can be added to smoothies, sprinkled on muesli or even added to salad dressings.
Serving Size: 4 ounces of acai berries (104 grams)
Amt. Per Serving