What Is Açaí?: Health Benefits, Recipes And (Ahem) Pronunciation

21/01/2015 16:19 GMT | Updated 21/01/2015 17:59 GMT

As anyone who follows a foodie or nutritionist on Instagram will know, healthy breakfast bowls filled with an unidentified purple ingredient are very en trend.

But despite appearances, it's not beetroot or Ribena giving that deep purple hue. It's açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-ee), a superfood fruit so jam-packed with goodness that it's not only healthy but can apparently make you more attractive.

Got your attention? Thought so.

I mean, if it's good enough for Victoria Beckham, it's good enough for us.

chia

What Is It?

Açaí is an Amazonian fruit from Brazil. It's been used for thousands of years by the country's inhabitants, but has only recently made its way across the Atlantic into our lives (and bellies).

But because that little berry has to pack its bags and travel so far to get here, experts says it's best to use pure freeze-dried powder.

"Açaí berries are highly perishable and the oils in them can turn rancid if not properly preserved," explained Katya Igumentseva, founder of Organic Burst. "Freeze-drying is the most of effective method without any heat or chemicals."

Health Benefits

Açaí is packed with 19 amino acids, rich in cell-protecting antioxidants (three times higher than goji berries and 10x higher than blueberries) and scores low on the glycemic index (meaning it burns energy slowly).

"In addition to boosting immunity and protecting against chronic diseases, açaí berries are good for the heart and lower the risk of neurological diseases," says Angela Haupt, writing for HuffPost Healthy Living.

Wondering what makes the berry so purple? That'll be the polyphenols. The deeper the colour, the higher the levels of polyphenols.

Polyphenols are what makes açaí so fantastic for a radiant complexion, explains Igumentseva.

"Açaí is one of the few fruits (apart from olives) that is rich in essential fatty acids omegas-3 -6 and contains omega-9 oleic acid, this in combo with Vitamin E and a high ORAC score of 70,000 (which is the method of measuring antioxidant capacity) helps replenish nutrient stores after exercise," she adds.

How To Eat It

You can mix açaí powder into smoothies, porridge, yoghurt or other recipes. It's great to replenishing the body after exercise.

Why not try making your own açaí bowl?

Acai Bowls