There are a lot of claims around this trendy berry (pronounced ah-sigh-ee), so what’s the truth?
What is it?
Acai is a dark purple berry which tastes like a combo of red wine and chocolate. Grown in South America, it has to be freeze-dried within 24 hours to retain its nutritional value. It’s then blitzed to a powder, or pureed and frozen.
How is it used?
In powdered form, you can sprinkle it on porridge and cereal, mix it into yoghurt or bake it into homemade muffins. Its vivid colour makes frozen acai pulp a popular addition to juices, smoothies and breakfast bowls. Acai capsules have no proven weight-loss benefit.
The nutrition verdict
Recent studies suggest acai pulp has a very high antioxidant capacity — more powerful than cranberries, strawberries or blueberries. It’s also a good source of prebiotic fibre to feed healthy gut bacteria. But claims it can halt ageing or help prevent cancer are a stretch, with more research needed.
Are acai bowls healthy?
The berry itself is naturally low in sugar, but if you’re trying to lose weight, or watch your blood sugar levels, perhaps save café-style acai bowls and smoothies for a special treat. The blend of frozen and fresh fruit, yoghurt, muesli, honey, nuts and seeds can be a concentrated source of kilojoules and natural sugars, so order a smaller portion.
From shop to your table
Creative Gourmet Frozen Organic Acai Puree ($8.00 per 400g)
Per serve (100g): 356kJ (85cal), 1.3g protein, 1.8g sat fat, 2.9g fibre
Loving Earth Acai Organic Superfoods Powder($44.90 per 150g)
Per serve (3g): 68kJ (16cal), 0.3g protein, 0.3g sat fat, 0.9g fibre
Tropeaka Acai Powder($28.00 per 200g)
Per serve (10g): 180kJ (43cal), 0.2g protein, 0.2g sat fat, 0.2g sugars, 0.6g fibre
Available online only at tropeaka.com.au