Acai grows in the Amazon of Central and South America so it is unlikely that you will have access to the fresh fruit for juicing unless you live there. Acai spoils quickly and doesn’t make it to the US fresh so is available dried or pre-bottled juice. So as you can see, I won’t be able to deliver an acai berry juice recipe, but will share its health benefits!
Acai juice benefits have been hyped up recently for having higher antioxidants and nutrition than other berries like blueberries, raspberry, red grapes and blackberry. The good news is, its not just hype, its science. Studies have shown that the overall antioxidant power of acai is higher than any other fruit or vegetable. Part of this antioxidant power is due to the dense concentrations of the phytochemical anthocyanin. Acai is clearly nutritious!
So what is in acai berry juice?
Vitamins and minerals:
Acai berry juice is an good source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and E. It is an excellent source of pro-vitamin A and also vitamin C, depending on the product you are buying. Dried acai can often contain very little vitamin C, depending on how it is dried. Freeze dried acai that has been treated with low heat is the best quality for powders. High quality 100% organic acai juice pulp, will usually contain a good amount of vitamin C, provided it is bottled within 24 hours of harvesting the acai berry.
Potassium is the mineral found with most abundance in acai followed by calcium. Other minerals include magnesium, zinc, iron and copper. The copper content is unusually high for a fruit.
Acai contains a variety of amino acids including Isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, valine, arginine, histidine, alanine, glycine, proline, serine, tyrosine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid.
Acai berry juice contains a surprising amount of fat for a fruit. Close to half the fruit’s content is fat, and mostly unsaturated. Healthy omega 3, 6 and 9 are present.
A research study conducted in a Korean University in 2009 provided evidence that anthocyanins had inhibitory properties for the development of colon cancer. Other studies show anthocyanins to have antioxidant properties to protect cells from free radical damage. Furthermore, anthoyanins may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Fortunately acai berry juice is the fruit with the highest levels of anthocyanins by a long shot.
Acai and weight loss:
Personally I have not seen sufficient evidence that acai alone can help in weight loss. There are plenty of acai supplements on the net claiming acai can help you lose weight, but most seems sketchy at best. David Grotto, RD, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life says “Acai is a nutrient-rich source of antioxidants, much like many other fruits, but there is nothing magical about the fruit to cause weight loss”. With weight loss being on so many people minds, it is no wonder people are trying to cash in on acai’s possible – but not entirely convincing- weight loss benefits.
One final note:
Be careful when looking for acai products. For instance, most of the acai berry juice on the market today contains a very low percentage of actual acai berry juice. I would recommend doing a little research before buying acai products to ensure you are getting the highest quality and quantity of this nutritious berry.
Darren and Veronica