Salad Menu - The Acai Berry: Is the Health Hype Real

The+Acai+Berry.jpeg

When using one of my freemium email accounts, I used to see ads popping up claiming the health virtues of the acai berry. Because it was mentioned in an advertisement, I dismissed the possibility that there might be something to this berry. Lately, I began wondering if I was missing something here. I decided I needed to know more about this mystery berry.  

What is it?

I haven’t ever seen acai berries sold in my local grocery store, so when I started writing this post, I actually had no idea what they even looked like. From WebMD, I found that acai berries are a maroon-colored berry, about an inch in diameter. They grow on the acai palm tree, a plant native to Central and South America. From pictures that I’ve seen, they appear almost like a cross between a blueberry and a grape. 

Do they offer nutritional benefits?

While acai berries do have antioxidative properties, the same WebMD article cited earlier notes that they haven’t been shown to have any additional super powers in this area compared to other berries like cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. However, all these berries are fairly high in antioxidants, which may protect your cells from aging and damage. The skin of the acai berry also offers fiber and additional nutrients, like vitamin A, C, and E, according to Huffington Post. It seems that the acai berry, like most edible berries, are a good source of nutrition.

The acai berry for healthy skin and hair

Several skincare products use the acai berry and acai oil as an ingredient, citing that it promotes healthier skin, taken both internally and used externally. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help improve issues with acne, psoriasis and eczema, according to purveyors of these products, and the vitamins in it are often associated with good complexion. It also has a whole host of additional nutrients such as fatty acids, folic acid, and zinc that can strengthen and give hair a lustrous shine, according to Huffington Post

Ways to prepare the acai berry

Acai berry bowls are the most common way people eat the acai berry. People add acai berry puree to a variety of different fruits and grains, like oatmeal, blueberries, and bananas. Huffington Post explains why it’s difficult to get acai berries the way you get most berries in your produce section—you typically have to get them as a frozen puree. I also read that you can get them in powdered form sometimes. 

Fortunately, many cities have juice and smoothie bars that make these bowls, so if you don’t want to go to the trouble of finding your source for acai berries and making your own. If you haven’t tried acai berries before, it might be worth letting an expert introduce you to the fruit. 

Do you have a favorite acai berry bowl? If so, please share what you put in it. I’d love to know.