Acai is a little blue berry that originated from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and on Colombia’s pacific coast. It is considered to be one of the most powerful and nutritious superfoods on the planet and has been used for centuries by the natives of for its amazing health properties. It grows in one of the harshest and most UV ray intense zones on the planet, so the Acai berry must produce high amounts of antioxidants to protect itself and survive. For this reason, the antioxidant-rich Amazonian berry has gotten a lot of mainstream attention over the years and has been labelled as a potent, longevity-promoting superfood with astounding health benefits.
ORAC (Oxidant Radical Absorption Capacity) is a standard measure of antioxidant concentration in foods. Acai has one of the highest ORAC values in the world… just to put things in perspective, Acai scored an ORAC value of 185, in comparison to red grapes at 11, blue berries at 32 and pomegranate at 105.
Acai has also been found to contain high levels of fatty acids (omega 3,6,9), it contains 19 different amino acids that are necessary for building protein in the body, it is high in fibre, low in sugar, rich in minerals and vitamins, especially calcium, phosphorus, beta-carotene and vitamin E. Recent research has shown that Acai fights cancer cells by triggering a self-destruct response in cancer cells. All of these benefits add up to an incredible superfood that is a great energy booster, helps enhance nerve and brain function, promotes a healthy heart, boosts the immune system, improves your skin and helps our body to rejuvenate itself.
Acai is usually available in a powder form; its best to look for organic when possible, and always try to confirm that it has been freeze dried straight after being picked as this will ensure that the high levels of antioxidants have been maintained. I recently purchased raw organic Acai powder from the Garden centre in Dubai by Loving Earth. The packaging states an ORAC value of 182 as it is not pasteurised and was freeze dried straight after picking.
You can mix Acai powder with your oatmeal in the morning, it has a great taste and will sweeten it. You can also add it to your baking or pancake batter before cooking (think kids!). You can even experiment by adding it to your soup!
I add Acai powder to my green smoothie in the morning… it is just delicious!
My smoothie recipe this morning:
• A handful of Curly Kale (or whatever variety you can find),
• 1 celery stick,
• Half an apple,
• Half a carrot,
• 1 tablespoon of Acai Berry powder.
Add water and whizz it all in your blender until its smooth.
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