Acai Bowl

Acai Bowl

Two Glasses with Detox Green Smoothie

Acai berries have recently become a popular superfood.

While this berry is small, it is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and many health benefits. This recipe capitalizes on its bold flavour to create a bowl perfect for breakfast or lunch!

Acai berries are high in antioxidants which help prevent the body from free radical damage. Free radicals are made by the body through natural molecular processes and introduced into the body through environmental toxins. If free radicals are not neutralized in the body by antioxidants, they can cause damage and ultimately lead to disease. By neutralizing free radicals due to the high antioxidant content, acai berries help to protect the body against diseases such as cancer and diabetes (1). To learn more about the many benefits of acai berries, check out our acai berry article.

In addition to utilizing acai berry powder, this recipe contains many other healthy fruits. This is helpful as a diet rich in a wide-range of fruits provides a variety of fibres that help diversify the gut microbiome (2).

Kiwi is a particularly important food to highlight when discussing digestive health. Kiwi has been shown to have a positive impact on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms such as abdominal discomfort and constipation. This ability is attributed to its high-water content and rich fibre content (3). Kiwi also benefits the gut microbiome. It contains the proteolytic enzyme, actinidin, which assists with the digestion of protein (3). 

The fruit in this recipe aren’t the only elements assisting with digestion. The hemp seeds and chia seeds are also high in fibre content. The fibre in these seeds simultaneously feed the good bacteria in your gut and add bulk to your stool, helping you easily pass waste (4). 

When a bowl is this colourful, this nutritious, and this easy… it is too good not to try!

 

References:

  1. Florence, T. (1995). The role of free radicals in disease. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Ophthalmology. 23(1), 3-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9071.1995.tb01638.x
  2. Holscher, H. (2017). Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. Gut Microbes. 8(2), 172-184. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1290756
  3. Richardson, D., Ansell, J., & Drummond, L. (2018). The nutritional and health attributes of kiwifruit: a review. European Journal of Nutrition. 57(8), 2659-2676. doi: 10.1007/s00394-018-1627-z
  4. Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and prebioitics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 5(4), 1417-1435. doi: 10.3390/nu5041417

 

Acai Bowl

Acai berries have recently become a popular superfood. While this berry is small, it is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and many health benefits.
Prep Time 7 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 31 servings

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup Oats
  • ¼ cup Almonds crushed
  • tsps Coconut Oil
  • tsps Raw Honey
  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 cups Frozen Berries
  • 1 cup Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Almond Milk unsweetened
  • 2 tbsps Ground Flax Seed
  • 2 tbsps Chia Seeds
  • 2 tbsps Acai Powder
  • 2 tsps Cinnomon
  • ½ cup Strawberries sliced
  • ½ cup Blueberries
  • 1 Kiwi sliced
  • ½ Nectarine chopped
  • 1 tbsp Hemp Seeds

Instructions
 

  • First, prepare the granola on the stovetop by toasting oats and crushed almonds at medium-low heat for approximately 5 minutes. Add coconut oil and honey. Stir to evenly coat ingredients for another 2-3 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and set aside.
  • Place banana, frozen berries, spinach, almond milk, ground flax seed, chia seeds, acai powder and cinnamon into a blender. Blend well until smooth.
  • Divide fruit mixture evenly into bowls. Top with strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, nectarine, hemp seeds and granola. Enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition Per 1 Serving:
 
Calories - 402
Sugar - 30g
Fiber - 15g
Carbs - 60g
Fat - 17g
Protein - 10g
Top 4 Health Benefits of Acai Berries

Top 4 Health Benefits of Acai Berries

Detoxifying vegetables and fruits

A popular superfood in recent years, the acai berry is a round fruit with dark purple skin, yellow flesh, and a large seed inside. Technically, it’s not even a berry! Since it has a central pit rather than multiple small seeds inside, it is considered as a “drupe,” similar to an olive or a plum.  

Acai berries are native to Central and South America, grown largely in the Amazon region of Brazil. Since their shelf-life is very short as a fresh fruit, they are often found sold in stores as a fruit puree, dried powder, or fresh juice. The taste can be described as a cross between a blackberry and unsweetened chocolate.

Acai Berries Are Packed With Nutrients

A 1.5 tbsp (10g) serving of acai berry powder contains:

  • 70 calories
  • 1g protein
  • 5g fat
  • 4g carbohydrates
  • 3g fibre (1)

Most of the fats are unsaturated, including omega 3, 6, and 9. It is also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese (2). 

Acai Berries Are Antioxidant Powerhouses

Many of acai berries’ benefits are likely related to the high levels of polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients found in plant-based foods that are loaded with antioxidants and can lead to an array of health benefits.

The main polyphenol in acai berries is anthocyanin, which is what gives the berry its deep purple colour (3). Anthocyanin has potent antioxidant properties, protecting cells against certain types of damage, as antioxidants play a key role in neutralizing free radicals in the body. This helps protect the body against diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and cancer. (4)

What Are The Top 4 Health Benefits Of Acai Berries?

Acai Berries May Help Protect Against Cancer

Antioxidants in general have cancer fighting properties, since they neutralize free radicals in the body that may otherwise cause harm to your cells. It is recommended to get antioxidants from whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables (5).

Acai berries have also specifically been found to kill cancer cells. One study found that extracts from acai triggered a response in leukemia cells to self-destruct (6). This was a cell-culture model, so more research is needed on humans, but these results are encouraging. 

Acai Berries May Help Manage Cholesterol

Acai may also have heart health benefits. Animal studies have shown that supplementation with acai pulp can reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), since they contain plant sterols that prevent the absorption of dietary cholesterol in the body. (7)

Acai Berries May Help Balance Blood Sugar Levels

Another small study found that after eating acai twice a day for one month, participants had lower insulin and fasting blood sugar levels than when they started (8). There are multiple studies noting that sufficient intake of antioxidants can exert beneficial effects in diabetes patients (9), so it is plausible that a high antioxidant food such as acai berries could exhibit a blood sugar balancing effect as well.

Acia Berries Can Help Support Brain Health

Acai may also be good for your brain as well. The polyphenols found in acai berries can protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation, which can have a positive impact on brain function and cognition. Acai also supports a process used by the body called “autophagy,” which is how the body removes damaged and toxic cells in order to stimulate the growth of new, healthy cells in the brain (10). Think of it as “cellular pruning”. This process can protect against diseases like dementia and cancer.

How to Eat Acai Berries

Acai berries are most commonly found in health food stores as a fruit puree, dried powder, fresh juice or as an acai berry supplement. These can be easily added to smoothies, smoothie bowls or mixed into your oatmeal or yoghurt for an antioxidant boost. 

You might be interested to know that acai is pronounced ah-sigh-EE, so now you can go forth and order your acai bowl with confidence!

 

References:

1. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1064123/nutrients 
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24555649/  
3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15030208/ 
4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7619452/ 
5. https://www.cancer.ca/en/prevention-and-screening/reduce-cancer-risk/make-healthy-choices/eat-well/antioxidants-and-phytochemicals/?region=on 
6. https://news.ufl.edu/archive/2006/01/brazilian-berry-destroys-cancer-cells-in-lab-uf-study-shows.html 
7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20022468/  
8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21569436/ 
9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10580429/  
10. https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.25.1_supplement.213.8