Beautify with Açaí

I’ve been putting açaí in my smoothies and raw desserts for a couple years now and I love it!! It is a wonderful addition. What has me disturbed is that now I am seeing “acai” everywhere and in everything. The ‘issue’ with this is that these companies are using the the acai berry as a marketing tool to lure customers into purchasing and consuming these products and the acai berry is miniscule part of their product. So, I am going to share the health benefits of this amazonian berry and let you in on what to look for and where on the ingredient list it should be in order for you to receive its full benefits!

The açaí berry is a little berry that grows in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and has been used for centuries by the native people of Brazil for its medicinal properties. It is considered to be a powerhouse for nutrients and antioxidants. It only grows in the tropical regions around the equator, in South America, which means the plant has to have high amounts of protection from the sun’s UV rays, in the form of antioxidants.

A few top health benefits of the açaí berry:

  • High levels of essential fatty acids like Omega-3,6,9 and oleic acid - all of which are great for beautifying your skin and hair

  • Highest known ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) values of any fruit or veggie - promoting longevity

  • Boosts energy levels

  • Contains 19 different amino acids - needed to build healthy proteins in the body

  • Enhances brain and nerve function

  • Rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorus and vitamins like beta-carotene and vitamin E

  • Improves the function of the immune system

  • Promotes cardiovascular health

Always look for your açaí to be:

  1. Organic - it’s pointless to eat something this powerfully healthy and rejuvenating while at the same time pumping your body with chemicals and toxins

  2. Properly Freeze-dried - when buying açaí berry powder you want it to be freeze-dried within hours of harvest in order for it to retain 30-50% of its original antioxidant levels

  3. Fair-Trade - this certification contributes to the sustainability of the rainforest communities, where the açaí berry is grown, by guaranteeing fair wages and improving the quality of life through better health-care, housing and education

  4. As much açaí berry skin as possible - the nutritional components of the berry are found in the skin

I pick up the Sambazon brand of ‘fresh’ frozen açaí berry from my local health foods store or Whole Foods, but you can also find it at Trader Joe’s. They come in little packets that you can throw into the blender to make a delicious smoothie or you can thaw them and mix it with coconut water.

When buying a ‘juice’ that contains açaí look for it to be the: 1st ingredient or one of the first 3 ingredients - as ingredients are listed in order from highest concentration to lowest. Sambazon makes an açaí berry juice where açaí is the first ingredient. This juice is very sweet because of the added agave syrup, but you can water it down (with purified water) to your liking. I water the juice down by half. (The juice contains 24 grams of sugar, per serving,  which is equal to 6 teaspoons! That’s a lot..)

Chocolate Açaí Bowl

2 packets Sambazon açaí, frozen

1 ripe banana

½ cup organic strawberries

½ cup almond milk

2 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp shredded coconut

Blend (minus the shredded coconut) until smooth in texture using a high powered blender, like a Vitamix, or a regular blender. Serve and sprinkle the shredded coconut on top. Enjoy!

If you found this post informative please feel free to share it with your friends and if you tried your hand at the Chocolate Açaí Bowl I’d love to hear about how it went!  

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