These little berries from Brazil look exactly like blueberries or blueberries. Hyper-rich in antioxidant active ingredients, vitamins and minerals, they are real health bombs. What are its benefits ? How to consume acai berries? We tell you everything with Florence Foucaut, dietician-nutritionist.
The acai berry is a small tropical fruit with a blue-purple hue native to South America: widely cultivated in Brazil, it is also found in Colombia, Guyana, Venezuela and Ecuador. It grows on a palm tree called Euterpe oleracea or pinot palm, which can measure up to 20 meters in height and which Brazilians call “the tree of life”. This berry grows in clusters at the top of the wild palm tree. The harvest is done by hand, from August to December, by pickers who climb the trees. The fruit measures 1 to 2 cm in diameter and is made up of more than 90% by its stone, while its pulpy and fine flesh is only 1 mm thick. Its taste is very original since we find notes of red fruits, chocolate and spicy flavors, close to cinnamon. There are different varieties of acai: white acai is the most expensive, acai açu is more powerful in taste and acai Roxo is the most common variety.
The nutritional virtues of the acai berry
This small tropical fruit surprises with its richness in nutrients.
The acai berry has an exceptional level of antioxidants
If this small tropical fruit is so well known, it is mainly because of its richness in antioxidant active ingredients. “It contains vitamins A, C and E, minerals such as copper, manganese and zinc, as well as flavonoids and anthocyanidins (the pigment responsible for its beautiful purple color), two substances from the polyphenol family., specifies Florence Foucaut. Thanks to this richness, this berry has a very high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) index (Editor’s note: this is a tool that measures the antioxidant power of foods). “On average, acai has an antioxidant content 10 times higher than black grapes and 4 times higher than pomegranates., adds Florence Foucaut. If this small fruit breaks such records on the ORAC scale, it is mainly thanks to its drying which allows the nutritional substances to be concentrated. This is why this little berry is called a “super fruit”.
The acai berry is a source of protein
This small Brazilian fruit contains 8% protein, a macronutrient essential for the construction of cells, the maintenance of our muscles and the proper healing of tissues.
The acai berry has a high lipid content
This is a rare thing for a fresh fruit: this small berry contains between 4.5 and 6.5 g/100 of lipids (which remains lower than the avocado which displays 12% of lipids, but which distinguishes it from other fresh fruits which generally lack it). These fatty acids are mainly poly and monounsaturated fatty acids (the famous omega-6 and omega-9), the same ones found in olive oil.
The acai berry contains vitamins and minerals
This fruit may be very small, but its richness in nutrients, particularly vitamins and minerals, is nonetheless high. Thus, it concentrates vitamins C, B and E as well as a whole host of minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc.
The acai berry contains little sugar
This small fruit has a very low sugar level (4%), hence its tangy flavor. “Energetic but with a low glycemic index, it is a product that can be consumed by everyone.s”, indicates the nutritionist.
What are the health and fitness benefits of acai berries?
Discover the virtues of these small tropical fruits on our body.
Acai berries prevent the development of many diseases.
Thanks to their richness in antioxidants, acai berries have the property of opposing the deleterious effects of free radicals (responsible for the damage caused by oxidation on our cells) on our body. “They thus make it possible to slow down premature cellular aging, thus participating in the prevention of numerous pathologies including cardiovascular conditions, cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease…”, lists our expert. The berries also help slow down skin aging, allowing us to fight against the signs of aging.
Acai berries treat constipation
Do you often have slow intestinal transit? The acai berry is your ally. These small fruits contain fibers which have the property of making stools swell and promoting their expulsion. So, in 48 hours, your constipation is nothing more than an old memory.
Acai berries maintain good heart health
This small tropical fruit is a source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-6) and monounsaturated fatty acids (omega-9). These lipids are considered “good fats” because they are beneficial to cardiovascular health. “They have the property of reducing the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing the good cholesterol (HDL), making it possible to keep at bay the formation of atherosclerotic plaque responsible, ultimately, for heart attacks., explains Florence Foucaut. These good fats are helped in their tasks by the presence of fiber and antioxidant active ingredients in the flesh of the fruit: the former capture and naturally eliminate the cholesterol provided by the diet while the antioxidant substances protect the cardiac system from the effects of stress. oxidative.
Acai berry provides energy
Another advantage of this little blue fruit: thanks to its content of invigorating vitamin C and group B vitamins, in particular B1 which optimizes energy metabolism, it has no equal in bringing pep to our body and thus coming overcome states of fatigue, both physical and intellectual. Its vitamins are supported by the presence of a large number of minerals: calcium essential throughout life, since it participates in the construction of the skeleton in children, preserves bone density in adulthood and prevents bone loss. osteoporosis in middle age, anti-fatigue iron and magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc with immunostimulating properties. Enough to quickly get our body back on its feet! “It is also a fruit to favor during an episode of convalescence“, recommends Florence Foucaut.
The acai berry is good for the figure
Thanks to a caloric intake of 60 Kcal per 100 g, much less than banana (90 Kcal/100 g), pomegranate (80 Kcal/100 g) or even fig (69 Kcal/100 g), this small fruit is very light for your figure. In addition, thanks to its richness in fiber which swells in the stomach, consuming it allows us to satisfy our appetite quickly and for a long time. Enough to limit food intake during meals and avoid cravings during the day.
The acai berry is the ally of athletes
Low in sugars, rich in proteins and good lipids, the acai berry has everything to please athletes since it helps support their efforts during training phases. But it is also its antioxidant power which is a plus for athletes because sporting activity generates oxidative stress. However, the acai berry, thanks to its richness in antioxidant active ingredients, opposes free radicals and thus allows better recovery of muscle tissues after physical exercise.
Where to find acai berries?
This little fruit is very difficult to find because not only does this berry not grow in our latitudes, but this acai oxidizes very quickly. “A freshly picked acai berry must therefore be consumed within 48 hours of its picking, because beyond that it deteriorates. This is why you will find it more easily frozen, in the form of juice or puree.explains Florence Foucaut.
How to consume the acai berry?
Traditionally, the acai berry is served as an accompaniment to fish, shrimp or meat, accompanied by cassava flour.
In Europe, you will more easily find this little fruit frozen. The berry then lends itself to all your recipe ideas: mixed with a smoothie, a dairy product or a fruit salad, added to cakes or tarts, or prepared as a sorbet or in the famous açai bowl, an energizing preparation to take from breakfast. “It contains acai pulp mixed with banana and honey, to which fresh fruit, nuts and banana slices are added. You can also garnish it with oatmeal and crushed hazelnuts for a variation called açai na tigrela.advises the dietitian.
Acai juice, with its slightly tangy taste, lends itself to making cocktails, while the puree can be consumed for breakfast, dessert or as a snack.
After crushing and cold drying, the fruit is reduced to powder (dry extract). In this form, the acai berry can be used in a variety of ways. “It can be added to soups, fish, shrimp or meat dishes to enhance the flavors, it can also be used in a vegetable milk, a smoothie, a porridge, a yogurt, a compote… It brings flavor. color, a fresh note and good nutrients”suggests our expert.
Finally, acai powder can also be used as a food supplement. Its treatment allows everything…