Next in line is the Acai berry (pronounced ah-sigh-ee). The berry is the fruit of the acai palm, yet another plant native to Central and South America. The palm grows mainly in swamps and floodplains, and can be found in countries such as Belize, Brazil and Peru. The fruit is a small, purple berry, similar to a grape, though with less flesh.
Acai has become common over the last decade or so as a supplement or superfood, with claims of anti-aging and weight loss properties. Whilst some studies have shown that acai is richer in antioxidants than other traditional sources such as cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries, there are limited studies supporting the claimed effects. Therefore the scientific community is still unconvinced of the benefits of consuming acai.
The nutritional breakdown of the berries show that they have a low sugar content, and contain calcium, vitamin A, aspartic acid, glutamic acid and amino acid, though it does have negligible levels of vitamin C. Acai can be purchased in freeze-dried powdered form, as well as capsules, or frozen pulp.
I purchased powdered acai, and have been adding it to smoothies. It doesn’t dissolve, so leaves a slightly gritty texture to the smoothie, similar to if you add seeds prior to blending. I haven’t found the flavour to be overpowering, though it does give a slight tartness.