When next walking through the Amazon rain forests, look up, and you’ll see açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) berries growing in huge clusters near the tops of the palm trees. Similar in appearance to a blueberry, açaí berries contain many health properties; an exciting discovery given that many associate the flavour of açaí with dark chocolate.
The açaí berry is a good source of fibre, antioxidants and heart-healthy fats. Açaí has more than double the antioxidants of blueberries and nearly ten times that of grapes. Antioxidants strengthen our immune system and aid in neutralising damaging free radicals. For that reason, these berries should be part of a healthy diet.
The fibre found in açaí berry skin and pulp can aid digestion, help prevent or relieve constipation and may help support a healthy cardiovascular system. Açaí berries contain amino acids, which help promote muscle performance, boost energy levels, endurance and strength. If that’s not enough goodness, this superfood contain as much vitamin C as blueberries and they are also a source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and E, as well as a source of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.
Harvesting açaí is hard work as the trees have no branches and each cluster of berries needs to be cut and brought down manually in order to preserve the fruit and pulp. The fruit, which is the size of a small grape, is delicate, which means that transporting it is difficult. To add to the expense of açaí, it’s best if the berries are freeze-dried within 24 hours to keep their nutritional profile intact. That’s why you are most likely to find the açaí berry as an ingredient in smoothies, juice or in our refreshing and delicious Açaí Bowl on the menu at Juiced @ The Wicket.
JUICED @ AÇAÍ BOWL
½ cup frozen açaí pulp
a splash of orange juice
½ banana or a small cup of strawberries
a sprinkle of coconut
a sprinkle of granola
banana and strawberries, sliced, for topping
Blend the açaí pulp, orange juice, strawberries and banana together. Pour into a bowl and sprinkle with coconut and granola, and top with fruit.