Best Acai Benefits: Why You Should Be Eating, Drinking, & Juicing Acai

You’ve seen it all over Instagram-- gorgeous, colorful photos of a mysterious purple liquid in a coconut or compostable bowl topped with a rainbow of sliced fruits and in some cases, even orchids. What is this magical creation, you may be asking yourself. I don’t know if it’s a food or an accessory, you may be thinking, but it definitely looks tropical and fun. Answer: it is an acai bowl and it is a food. The acai craze has been taking NYC by storm, and if you have not yet tried acai, now is the time to do it. There are so many acai benefits that you will be singing this little berry’s praises in no time.

What Is Acai?

A fruit? A vegetable? A yoga position? Acai, pronounced ah-sigh-EE, is a deep indigo berry grown in the rainforests of South America. They are about an inch in diameter and grow in clumps along vines in the acai palm trees that line the basin of the Amazon River. Acai berries taste a bit like a mix of wild berries and chocolate, and their pulp has been used by Amazonian tribes for centuries. Traditionally, they would mash them and blend them with manioc-- a starchy root vegetable-- to make a porridge for eating. Medicinally, they would use  the acai berry to treat diarrhea, parasites, hemorrhages, and ulcers. Today you can find acai products in grocery stores, health food stores, smoothie shops, and juice bars. While it is hard to find the berries fresh in the United States, you can easily find acai blended and frozen, in teas, or in juices.

Acai Benefits: World’s Healthiest Berry

Antioxidants

One of the most celebrated benefits of the acai berry is its superb level of antioxidants. Seriously, this little purple berry is so jampacked with antioxidants it’s practically an edible wrinkle cream. Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals in the body and help prevent cell damage. Free radicals are dangerous compounds that can attach and bind themselves to normal cells, thus damaging them. They are often caused by harmful external sources, like smoking, toxins, and pollution. When we ingest foods bursting with antioxidants -- like the acai berry -- their antioxidants are released through digestion and travel through the bloodstream and into our cells.

Acai berries actually boast more antioxidants than blueberries or strawberries and ten times more antioxidants than red grapes. They are extremely high in anthocyanin (antioxidant compounds like resveratrol and ferulic acid), which helps lower cholesterol and fight those nasty free radicals. Acai berries are so powerful that they actually contain more anthocyanin than red wine, 10 to 30 times more in fact. One the best acai benefits is its antiaging properties. Because the acai berry is full of antioxidants, it’s very beneficial to skin care and wrinkle prevention by slowing and sometimes even reversing aging caused by oxidative damage.

Illness Fighter

The acai berry is super high in Vitamin C, which we all know is the best flu fighter around. Is your cubicle mate constantly coughing and sniffling? Are you taking the train to work with thousands of germ infested commuters? Skip the glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and go for an acai bowl instead. Stop reaching for the airborne; acai is the new immune booster to beat. Acai berries may even fight cancer. A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that acai’s polyphenolic compounds reduced cancer cell proliferation by 56-86%. They believe that the acai’s potent phytochemicals penetrated cells on a molecular level, halting the spread of cancer by killing off the tumorous cells before they could multiply.

Weight Loss

Are you feeling the dread of bikini season fastly approaching? Feeling less than stellar about your weight? Are you hitting the gym every day and still not seeing the number on the scale drop? Then your favorite acai benefit might be its abilities to aid weight loss. The UCLA School of Medicine found that taking acai berry supplements could reduce the risks of high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure in adults that were overweight. Another study found that after thirty days, subjects had major reductions in fasting glucose, insulin, and total cholesterol. Pretty incredible, huh? Acai berries are also bursting with fiber, and fiber gets your system rocking and rolling. The more fiber you eat, the more your bowels move. You’ll feel fuller longer too, so you’ll eat less. You’ll also poop more, getting rid of disgusting waste that can accumulate in your colon and digestive tract. So load up on the acai now!

How To Enjoy Acai At Home

french bulldog and acai bowl

You don’t need to fly to the Amazon to get your acai fix. Grab a blender and throw in some of your favorite fruits and veggies with a pack of acai and you have yourself a delicious smoothie snack! Pour it into a bowl and add some of your favorite toppings and you’ve got a healthy, antioxidant-packed breakfast or lunch. Not so creative in the kitchen? Pick up a frozen pack of Acai pulp at your local supermarket and get to blending these easy and tasty recipes.

Better Breakfast Acai Bowl

Serves: 1

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Base:

1 3.5 oz packet of frozen unsweetened acai berry pulp

½ banana (we prepare frozen to keep the bowl nice and frosty)

½ cup almond milk

½ cup blueberries (ditto to the frozen preference)

Toppings:

½ banana, sliced

3 strawberries, sliced

¼ cup granola

1 tbsp all natural peanut butter

1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tbsp chia seeds

Blend your base ingredients together, taking care to make sure everything in the mixture is smooth. Don’t leave any chunks! Pour your acai puree into a bowl and add the sliced banana and strawberries. Line them up nicely! Make it pretty! Add your dollop of peanut butter to the center. Lastly, sprinkle your granola, shredded coconut, and chia seeds around the top. Pull out your phone, open the camera, take a picture. You’ll want to instagram it before you eat it.

Taste The Rainbow Acai Bowl

Base:

1 3.5 oz packet of frozen unsweetened acai berry pulp

½ banana (we prepare frozen to keep the bowl nice and frosty)

½ cup almond milk

½ cup blueberries (ditto to the frozen preference)

Toppings:

¼ cup strawberries, sliced

¼ cup mango, cut into chunks

½ banana, sliced

½ kiwi, sliced

¼ cup blueberries

Now this acai bowl is even more Instagram worthy, if you can believe it. You just need to make sure you arrange everything properly! Start off by blending your base and pouring the puree into your bowl. And the fun part! Arrange your fruits in a rainbow. First line up the strawberries, then the mango, banana, kiwi, and lastly, the blueberries. Isn’t that cute? Forget Skittles. This acai bowl is really tasting the rainbow.

Lean, Green, Acai Machine Smoothie

Serves: 1

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 3.5 oz packet of frozen unsweetened acai berry pulp

½ banana

½ cup spinach

½ cup kale

¼ cup parsley

½ cucumber

½ green apple

½ cup coconut water

1 tbsp almond butter (optional)

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend. How simple! How easy! How tasty! Feeling a little extra famished? Add a tablespoon of almond butter. Add two tablespoons of almond butter if you’re feeling crazy! Add three if you feel like weight lifting! Add four if you’re just a nut for nut butter! Add five…. No, don’t add five. We draw the line at five tablespoons of almond butter. If you feel the need to add a fifth tablespoon of almond butter, you’re not alone, but you need help.

Berry, Berry Beneficial Acai Smoothie

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 3.5 oz packet of frozen unsweetened acai berry pulp

½ cup blueberries

½ cup strawberries

½ cup raspberries

½ cup blackberries

½ cup almond milk, hemp milk, or coconut water

½ cup kefir or yogurt of your choice

Open up the cupboard and pull out your old trusty blender again. Throw all the ingredients in and get to blending! Add a half cup of your favorite kefir or yogurt. Add a whole cup of kefir or yogurt if you’re feeling crazy! Uh oh… here we go again. Do you have a kefir problem? Can you never seem to get enough of the delicious probiotic beverage? You are not alone… But we draw the line at adding more than a whole cup to your delicious acai smoothie.

Get Those Acai Benefits Now

Who doesn’t want better skin, a stronger immune system, and a tinier tummy? Start adding the acai berry to your diet regularly and begin reaping all the amazing acai benefits! Your body and taste buds will thank you because not only is the acai berry great for your health, it tastes delightful too! You’ll soon feel swept away to a secluded island beach and all you have to do is eat (or drink) your acai!