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There are many good reasons to choose acai berry powder for smoothies.
Yes, as we shall see, acai (pronounced ah-sah-EE) is one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidants that nature has provided. And yes, it has flavour and textural qualities that make it the perfect ingredient for making smoothies. Yet there is another reason that we should feel good about consuming acai. Quite simply, acai is good for the rainforest, good for the farmers, and good for the communities they call home.
In this post we examine all of these reasons and then let you decide for yourself if acai really is amazing. Let’s start at the beginning.
What is acai?
Acai is the fruit of the acai palm, a towering tree native to Amazonian forests. A tall thin tree that grows up to 25m, with beautiful slender palm fronds several metres in length. Known as acai berries, but actually stone-fruits like plums or cherries, the inch-round fruits grow individually along grouped branches. Green when growing, purple-black when ripe, the acai berries contain mostly seed surrounded by a thinner layer of pulp.
Where does acai grow?
Acai grows in the forests across the Amazon basin. Largely thought of as a Brazilian superfruit, acai is actually grown in all the areas of the Amazon. Brazil makes up over half of the area, but the rainforest stretches through Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guiana, French Guyana, and Suriname.
How are acai berries harvested?
Acai berries are harvested by hand, by local ribeirinhos using traditional methods. With a palm leaf wrapped around the foot for traction they scale the trees, cut down the huge laden branches, and slide back down again. Then they pack the berries into woven baskets where they are taken by boat to be processed. Acai berries are a staple food in these regions, where they are soaked to soften the skin and then mashed. The fruits deteriorate within 24 hours so those destined for export are pulped and frozen within hours of harvesting.
The rising popularity of acai
Acai berries began to be exported in the late 1990s and have become one of the most economically important products of the region. Across the western world, demand for acai has continued to rise and with it the value. It seems that we just can’t get enough of this little Amazonian superfruit and the purple pulp finds its way into everything from juices and smoothies to soap and skin cream.
More often than not, when popularity of an indigenous product rises (like palm oil for example) it creates a monoculture. With all of the social and environmental issues that go with it. But acai resists mass production and will only survive and thrive within the biodiversity of the rainforest. Helping to rebuild vital ecosystems, rather than destroying them, the demand for acai has had a positive impact on the regions economy. Initiatives supporting sustainable production have sprung up across the Amazon basin, creating a stable income for the forest families.
Why acai is good for you.
But what fuelled this desire for acai, a little fruit from the far flung corners of the Amazon? Its nutrient dense status as a superfood. High in healthy fats (remember this a fruit we are talking about) and low in sugar, acai is a source of low calorie fibre that comes in at about 70kcal per cup.
One of natures most concentrated sources of antioxidants, acai is true glow food; inside and out.
Anthocyanins, that give produce its purple colour, lower oxidative stress and inflammation. By improving blood flow they have a positive effect on everything from wrinkles to heart health and memory.
Acai is full of anti-ageing vitamins A and vitamin E, as well as calcium. Essential fatty acids slow down release of the fruit sugars providing slow steady energy. Fibre keeps you fuller for longer.
Acai berries are a true superfood. Find out just why superfoods are so good for you.
What does acai taste like?
Described as a creamy berry flavour with bitter chocolate notes, acai shares flavour compounds with red wine and cacao. The fats give it the creamy taste and texture that make it so perfect for smoothies, with a rich fruity tartness that can only berries can bring. It has an earthy element, with tones of blackberry, raspberry and pomegranate.
What is the best acai for smoothies?
Although the rise of the acai bowl was built upon frozen acai pulp, it is freeze-dried acai powder that has made its home in our pantry. Highly concentrated, and easy to blend, a little acai powder goes a long way. Avoid juice, even unsweetened with no additives it does not have the nutrient value of pulp or powder.
Take a look at our organic acai berry powder.
How to use acai for smoothies
Add a tablespoon of acai to your smoothies and acai bowls for a pretty purple hue, massive nutrient boost, and fantastic flavour. Acai pairs particularly well with the sweet creamy flavours of bananas, milks and dates. As well as the sharp fruity flavours of other berries. It also likes chocolate. But who doesn’t. Because of its fat content, acai brings a surprising richness to the palate.
So, as you can see, acai is about way more than just the spring in our step or the glow on our skin. And we think that is truly amazing.
Check out our range of superfoods Australia and take advantage of some great value bulk buys.