Acai berries can be a tasty and healthy food choice, but it is important to have the proper Acai berry information to decide if this South American "superfruit" is right for your diet.
Acai berries are small, dark bluish purple berries that are approximately the size of a grape. In such a small package, these berries pack a powerful punch.
Acai berries are the fruit of the Acai palm tree. They grow in bunches, and two crops can be harvested each year. Once harvested, however, the berries do not keep well and must be powdered, freeze dried, or made into juice.
Where in the World
Acai berries are only found in Central and South America, where they have been enjoyed for generations. The Acai palms grow in marshy areas and along rivers, and they are prominent in rainforest areas.
Acai berries can be included in many delicious dishes, such as fruit smoothies, ice cream, and sauces. Smoothies that include Acai berries often feature berry blends with blueberries, raspberries, and other fruits.
Acai Berry Pills
Because Acai berries have become popular as a dietary supplement, they are available as pills from different manufacturers. Some supplements are pure Acai berries, while others contain different additives - always read labels carefully to be sure you understand what the product includes.
Acai berries are very high in fiber and they can make a delicious gel or paste. Combined with granola, toasted oats, or nuts, it can be a tasty snack. The berries also are high in antioxidants, vitamins A, B1, and E, and essential amino acids.
Acai berries have a rich, strong taste that is similar to dark chocolate and sharp berries. This decadent flavor is luxurious as a juice, smoothie, or another treat. For a more gourmet treat, include Acai berries in cheesecake, jellies, or sherbet.
Acai berries reportedly have many health benefits, including regulating cholesterol, reducing signs of aging, and helping with better sleep. Some studies even indicate that Acai berries may help treat or even prevent cancer, though more study is needed for conclusive results.
Because Acai berry products must be imported, they can be more expensive than other health food items. Capsule supplements are the most expensive and may cost up to $50 or higher per bottle, depending on the bottle size, manufacturer, and any additives.
The Latin name for the Acai berry is euterpe oleracea. When purchasing products that claim to contain Acai berries, check the ingredient list to be sure it does in fact contain the berries, instead of being an Acai-like product.
Other Acai Products
Acai berries also have some astringent and antibacterial properties, and they are beginning to be included in specialty soaps, lotions, and other rejuvenating products.