Acai bowls have been taking over the smoothie world these days. Unfortunately, not a lot of people actually know what they are! Well, I’m here to change that today :). They are so simple to make and they provide so many awesome health benefits. In addition to all the health benefits, their rich purply color will mesmerize your senses and have your tastebuds begging you for more! So let’s dive into some information about acai bowls, and at the end I will give you a foolproof recipe that you can use to make your own :).
First things first, we need to go over how to pronounce “acai”. I work in a smoothie shop and I can’t tell you how many times people come in and mispronounce the word! It’s quite funny actually….. lol. The real way to pronounce it sounds like “ah – sigh – eee”. Simple as that!
So now… what in the world is acai? Acai is actually a type of berry that grows from the acai palm, native to Brazil, Trinidad, and Northern South America. These trees are tall and slender with large leaves, growing to be more than 25 meters (82 feet) tall! The berries grow on the trees and are similar in size and shape to a grape. They have a deep dark purple color to them and are extremely juicy. They are a staple to Amazonian diets and can be eaten whole, used to make juice, used to make wine and even used in cosmetics!
To buy acai berries, you will most likely not find them in their whole fresh form. Instead, the berries are processed into pulp, freeze dried, packaged, and sold as a powder by most businesses. You can find the powder for at most health food stores near you, or you can PURCHASE IT HERE. This powder is what we will be using to create an acai bowl!
By now you are probably wondering what is so special about this berry? What makes it different from say a blueberry that you can go get in 10 minutes from your local supermarket? Surprisingly, the acai berry packs in an enormous number of health benefits far greater than the berries that we are used to eating!
Antioxidants are natural molecules found in certain foods that help to neutralize free radicals that form in the body. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can cause severe damage to cells and tissues. You can see why antioxidants are important! The acai berry has a higher level of antioxidants compared to common berries such as cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. The main antioxidants that are found in acai berries are the phytochemicals belonging to the anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin groups.
In addition to the high antioxidant levels, acai berries contain a high nutritional profile. Acai berries are rich in oleic, palmitic, and linoleic fatty acids. They also contain sterols, including campesterol, stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol. In addition, acai berries contain 19 of the 20 amino acids! This is amazing, considering vegan diets are often evaluated to ensure all of the amino acids are being ingested. With 19 being provided in just one fruit, there is less worry about whether all of the amino acids are being received through diet!
3. Improvement in Cognitive Function
Medical research has suggested that diets rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can reduce the risk for developing diseases of the brain such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. The antioxidant anthocyanin (rich in acai berries) lowers oxidative stress and inflammation, thus promoting brain health! Anthocyanins have also been shown to improve memory!
4. Improvement in Heart Health
Studies have shown that regular consumption of anthocyanins (the antioxidant in acai berries) can reduce the risk of a heart attack by about 30%. The fiber and healthy fats found in acai berries also help to increase heart health! Combined with a whole foods vegan diet, you will be a superhuman!!!! 😉
5. Cancer Prevention
The anthocyanin antioxidants have also been shown to have anti-cancerous properties. The antioxidant has been shown to activate detoxifying enzymes, prevent cancer cell proliferation, induce cancer cell death, have antiinflammatory effects, inhibit formation of tumors, and prevent cancer cell invasion. These properties have been observed in multiple animal and culture studies! That’s just amazing!
Now that you have some information about the acai berry, let’s get into how to make a delicious acai bowl that you can whip in just 5 minutes to experience all of the benefits that acai has to offer!
All you will need for this recipe is a frozen banana, frozen blueberries, almond milk, acai powder, and some things to decorate your bowl with! I used half a banana, kiwi slices, and granola! You can even top it with my homemade fruit and nut granola ;).
Find the full recipe and instructions below! Enjoy all of the awesome benefits of acai!!!!
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 1/2 tsp acai powder
- banana slices (optional)
- granola (optional)
- kiwi slices (optional)
- chia seeds (optional)
In a blender, combine almond milk, frozen banana, frozen blueberries, and acai powder.
Blend until well combined.
In a bowl, sprinkle a thin layer of granola on the bottom.
Pour acai smoothie into the bowl.
Sprinkle another thin layer of granola on top.
Garnish with banana slices, kiwi slices, and sprinkle chia seeds on top! 🙂