Baskets of freshly harvested acai berries.
The açaí berry, pronounced, ah-sigh-EE, is a Brazilian superfruit that is native to the Amazon region. The small, round blue and purple fruit is similar to a grape in appearance, but much more interesting in character. The fruit comes from the açaí palm and its name derives from the Portuguese adaptation of the Tupian word ïwaca’i, ‘[fruit that] cries or expels water’. Now there’s something you don’t learn every day!
The açaí berry has become a worldwide craze since the early 2000s. Things really took off for the açaí berry in the U.S. when Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz dubbed it a superfood in 2008. The United States and Japan represent 90% of the world’s demand for the precious fruit.
So what’s all the hype about?
1. The fruit is hard to get. Açaí berries live in massive açaí palm trees that can grow over 60 feet. Harvesting is done by hand which can make it incredibly challenging and dangerous to retrieve the desirable fruit. The berries are shipped by boat and spoil rather easily so they must be harvested with a great deal of speed and then frozen or freeze dried. This is why you won’t find them in the produce section of your local grocery store; you will have to look in the frozen section.
2. Packed with more antioxidants than blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries. The açaí berry has 10 times the antioxident level of grapes and 2x that of blueberries. Antioxidants include (anthocyanins, polyphenols, vitamins A, C and E. It’s believed that antioxidants help your body’s cells from getting damaged by oxidative processes. They remove the potentially damaging oxidizing agents from your body. Therefore they have the potential to prevent against heart disease, diabetes, and various diseases related to aging.
3. Açaí berries contain high levels of important healthy fats and amino acids. Nearly 50 percent of the açaí berry is fat, with 74% of that coming from healthy unsaturated fats like Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are considered essential for good health and important for brain development, immune system function and blood pressure regulation. 7.59% of the weight of açaí pulp comes from amino acids and up to 19 different amino acids have been found in açaí.
4. The skin is the key to what makes it so special. Açaí berries wouldn’t be considered a superfruit without their beautiful skin. Similar to most fruits, the skin of an açaí berry contains fiber and various nutrients, and a majority of the antioxidants. You really need the skin if you want to get all the health benefits from açaí.
5. Anti-aging effects. The fruit contains huge amounts of antioxidants which promote cell growth and reduce the negative effects of premature aging. The magical superfruit is currently used in beauty products worldwide for this very reason.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of açaí bowls and eat them fairly regularly for breakfast. My go-to bowl consists of frozen, crushed açaí berry blend topped with granola, strawberries, bananas, and coconut flakes. Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier powder can be added to your favorite açaí bowl or açaí smoothie for an added boost of minerals and vitamins. Check out our Limited Edition Açaí Berry flavor.
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