What Is Acai? 6 Awesome Things You Need to Know About This Super Berry

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What Is Acai? 6 Awesome Things You Need to Know About This Super Berry

What is Acai

Everyone knows that eating multiple servings of fruit each day is an important part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. (We’re sure you’ve seen that triangular food pyramid before.) Though there are many other food types that should be included, such as vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, different fruits are packed with distinctive vitamins, minerals, and chemical compounds that are essential to a complete diet. 

Perhaps you understand that your fruit intake is an important part of your overall health, but you’re bored of your typical fruit choices and are wondering if there’s anything new and exciting to try in the world of fruit. You’re in luck! Acai, a unique and nutrient-packed berry, is sweeping the wellness industry. 

What is acai, you may ask? Well, the berries are nicknamed “purple gold” which should give you an initial indicator of how great their benefit is. Let’s dive into some more details about this incredible fruit, its uses, and its health benefits. You’ll shortly be going acai-crazy.

Table of Contents: 

What is Acai? History and Origins


Acai berries are small, dark-colored berries (they look a lot like blueberries) that come from the acai palm, which primarily grows in the Amazon area of South America. In addition to containing natural sugars and fiber, acai berries have a higher healthy fat content than most berries, which helps to keep a high level of satiety. 

The acai berry has a shorter shelf life than other similar fruits, which means it can’t be transported in its freshest state to other areas or countries outside where it’s grown. This means that unless you’ve visited the Amazon region, you’ve likely only eaten acai as a frozen purée or in freeze-dried powder form. It can spoil in a day, so like we mentioned, it’s hard to transport.

Another way in which acai differs from most berries is the fact that acai berries have pits. In fact, the acai pit is usually large enough to make up as much as 80% of the berry itself. This is similar to other foods like dates, apricots, and even olives. However, since acai is typically used in the same contexts as other berries, it’s considered to be a member of the berry category.



Native Uses of Acai

Acai has become extremely popular in the United States as a soft-serve–style snack or a refreshing beverage, but what is acai’s purpose in its native region? Since before recorded history, acai berries have been an essential part of the diets of indigenous tribes in the Amazon region of South America. In fact, acai may make up as much as 25% of the daily food intake of an indigenous person in the area. 

Acai berries are hard and difficult to eat straight off the tree, even if they’re completely ripe. To make them easier to consume, indigenous Amazon tribes will soak them in water until the tough skin becomes soft and mash them up to create a paste.


What Is Acai’s Flavor Profile?

In their most natural state, acai berries have a unique taste that sets them apart. While most berries taste sweet when ripe, acai berries have an earthy, bitter taste that contains hints of dark chocolate and blackberry. 

However, since most people consuming acai aren’t consuming fresh acai berries, the taste that U.S. residents generally associate with acai is a refreshing mixture of fruity sweetness and tartness. 

Both frozen acai purée and fresh-pressed acai juice have added sweeteners and extra ingredients to help bring out the pleasant notes in the acai berry.


Similar Foods to Acai

acai berries on a tree

The most similar fruits to acai are other pitted fruits like apricots, peaches, and dates. However, most fruits that U.S. residents are familiar with don’t have the same flavor profile as acai and are only similar in their type of plant. 

Acai berries grow from trees called acai palms, making them similar to other fruits that grow from palm trees, such as coconuts and bananas. The flavor profile of acai as we know it in the U.S. can be described as tropical and sweet, which means it pairs great with other tropical tastes like pineapple, coconut, and mango.

Potential Health Concerns with Acai

Most healthy people shouldn’t have any adverse effects from eating acai. Like any food, however, you should refrain from consuming too much and creating an imbalance in your diet. You can ask your doctor about a healthy level of daily fruit consumption for your health needs. 

Some people with specific allergies may have a negative reaction to eating acai or foods that contain acai. If you are allergic to pollen, ask your doctor whether acai is safe for you, as this berry could potentially aggravate your allergy. 

Though acai itself is considered to be a health food, most acai products that we consume in the U.S. have added ingredients due to the fact that fresh acai berries aren’t available outside of where they grow. This means that you should always be checking the listed ingredients of the acai-based products you consume to make sure they don’t contain any additives that could cause negative health effects for you. 

What is acai’s sugar content? Though fresh acai berries tend to have an earthy, bitter taste that is unlike the flavor of other ripe fruits, these berries still contain a relatively high amount of sugar. Additionally, the most common acai-based products like acai bowls and pressed juices typically have some added sugar or are mixed with other fruits. If you are watching your sugar intake for health reasons, you may want to enjoy your favorite acai products in smaller quantities.


Health Benefits of Acai

What is acai’s value when it comes to boosting your health and wellness? There is a wide variety of distinctive health benefits associated with acai berries and their regular consumption. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common benefits of including acai in your regular diet.

Packed with Antioxidants

“Antioxidants” is a buzzword that’s been sweeping the health and wellness industry for many years now. Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances that play a significant role in stopping or slowing the damage caused in our body by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that are naturally produced as a reaction to stressors. 

According to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, acai berries contain a significant amount of anthocyanins, a specific form of antioxidants that are typically found in plants. The more antioxidants you consume in your diet, the better your internal systems are equipped to fight off the harmful effects of stress and environmental hazards on your body. 

Antioxidants can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body, which has been shown to ease the symptoms of those who suffer from chronic pain.


Better Heart Health

The antioxidants found in acai berries aren’t only effective at fighting off the free radicals caused by stress in your body. Anthocyanins are also associated with the reduction of LDL cholesterol, which is known as bad cholesterol. 

This means that regular consumption of these antioxidants alongside other healthful habits like exercise and stress reduction can help to boost your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease in the future. This could include lower risks of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and blood clots.


Clearer Thoughts and More Mental Sharpness

Aside from the other helpful benefits of antioxidant consumption, these powerful compounds have been shown to improve brain function when regularly included in your diet. Antioxidants can potentially counteract brain aging and protect brain cells from oxidative stress, improving brain function and longevity. 

The brain regulates itself through a process called autophagy, which cleans out unusable or damaged brain cells to make room for new, healthy cells to be created. Typically, the autophagy process becomes less efficient as you age, but consuming antioxidants, keeping up habits like exercise and a healthy diet, and stimulating your brain regularly can help to keep this process working properly.

Smoother Digestion

Acai berries are packed with fiber, which can be a significant benefit to those who consume them, whether they eat the berries in their freshest state or as acai-based purées and juices. They act as a cleanser for the colon and other intestines and keep the body in tip-top shape. Regular fiber consumption can help to keep the digestive system working smoothly and relieve bloating, constipation, and other digestive issues.

Stronger Immune System

How Acai helps your immune system

Acai is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, but one of the most important is vitamin C, which helps to keep the immune system strong. They have equal to or often times more Vitamin C than blueberries. Antioxidants also play a role in strengthening the immune system by combating free radicals and helping to prevent many types of disease.

More Energy Throughout the Day

When most people think of food items that boost their energy, they think of coffee and other products that contain caffeine. Though acai is caffeine free, the berry’s extract has been connected to increased energy and reduced fatigue, according to a study in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism journal.

Where Can I Get Acai?

Now that you understand a bit more about the health benefits you could enjoy by including more acai in your diet, you may be wondering where you can find some yourself. 

Since fresh acai berries can’t be purchased outside of the areas in which they grow and thrive, you likely won’t be able to find a container of these berries in the fruit section of your local grocery store. However, many health food stores carry frozen acai berries, pre-made acai purée, and acai powder.

Best Ways to Eat Acai

There are many ways to consume acai, and they’re all delicious! Many health nuts enjoy acai bowls, which consist of an acai-based fruit purée topped with a variety of different fruits, nuts, seeds, and drizzles, depending on your preference. 

Fresh-pressed juices that contain acai extract are another popular way to consume this superfood. Though acai’s tropical, tangy flavor tends to mix best with sweet, tropical fruits like mangos and pineapples, it can be a delicious addition to a variety of different juice blends.

Acai powder can be consumed in a variety of ways. You can sprinkle it into smoothies to add a tangy flavor and some quick nutrients, or you can blend it with milk or water to enjoy a light, refreshing beverage.

Which Toppings Should I Add to My Acai Bowl?

Acai Bowl Toppings

When it comes to the best toppings to add to an acai bowl, the possibilities are nearly endless. Acai & frozen fruit pure works as a delicious base for a variety of different flavor profiles, whether you’re looking for a sweet treat or something a bit more substantial. 

If you want to create the most nutrient-dense and satisfying meal possible from your acai bowl, you should include nut butters, chopped nuts, or hemp seeds to combine healthy fats and protein with the vitamins and carbohydrates provided by the acai. Looking for a simple, healthy dessert? Top your acai base with some chopped fruit and drizzle honey on top!

Fresh Acai Delivered Right to Your Door with Clean Juice

In many places, frozen acai and other forms of this nutrient-packed berry can be difficult to find at typical grocery stores. If you want to include acai in your daily diet but finding acai near you is too much of a hassle, we’ve got you covered at Clean Juice.

Order one of our acai bowls online! We have over 120 locations in the US and probably have a store near you. 


Disclaimer: The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. Consult your doctor before using any health treatment, including natural remedies, and tell your doctor if you have a serious medical condition or are taking any medications. 

Like any food, however, you should refrain from consuming too much and creating an imbalance in your diet. You can ask your doctor about a healthy level of daily fruit consumption for your health needs. 

Some people with specific allergies may have a negative reaction to eating acai or foods that contain acai. If you are allergic to pollen, ask your doctor whether acai is safe for you, as this berry could potentially aggravate your allergy.