Acai (pronounced a-sigh-ee) is a fruit native to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. It has been consumed in this part of the world for a very long time but has become increasingly popular further afield this century, due to its status as a “superfood”. To be honest, we don’t really buy into the idea of “superfoods” which seem a bit faddy but acai is certainly worthy of attention for its health giving qualities. We use it in our Acai and Summer Berry Chia Fruit Spread and we love it, so here is a quick rundown on this marvellous fruit.
Acai is actually not even a berry. Because they contain pits (like olives) they are technically a “drupe”. They grow on palm trees in Central and South America and need to be processed into a pulp before they can be used (they would not be nice raw). That’s why they are usually available either in a powdered form, or as we like to use them, as a frozen pulp, which helps preserve the nutritional content. Their taste is not particularly sweet and is like a cross between cocoa and blackberries.
The health benefits of acai are numerous. Their main claim to fame is their incredibly high level of polyphenols; an antioxidant found in fruits, vegetables, and drinks such as wine, coffee, and tea. They benefit the body by fighting against the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays, radiation, and some pathogens. Research has shown that diets high in foods rich in polyphenols can even help prevent the development of illness such as cancers, heart diseases, and diabetes, however, it’s important to be wary of such claims, which can be overstated. Some research has also found polyphenols to benefit the body by boosting health in a range of areas including brain functioning, strength, and digestion. Acai is also high in essential fatty acids (similar to olive oil), fibre (which promotes gut health), amino acids (great for stamina), and contain as much Vitamin C as blueberries.
All these qualities have led to a number of claims about the benefits of acai (including their use for weight loss and to improve libido!). Like all healthy foods we recommend them as part of a balanced diet. Our Acai and Summer Berry Chia Fruit Spread is great served on porridge, pancakes, and yoghurt, and can also be used like jam on toast. Why not give it a try!