Similar to a cross between a grape and a blueberry, the acai berry is a small, reddish-purple drupe consisting of a cluster of seeds, with only around 15 percent or so being edible, harvested from tall, slender palm trees found around the Amazon River basin of South America. These berries are also quite perishable, but have significant nutritional attributes when eaten fresh. Because acai berries are so low in sugar and acid, they must be picked, processed, flashpasteurized, and frozen quickly before being transported out of the Amazon.
It's found in large supermarkets and health food stores throughout the world, usually as a juice or tea rather than fresh, simply because getting them out of the Amazon with the nutrients still intact is a complicated process.
This little berry's list of attributes includes a high level of antioxidant activity similar to cranberries, but more than what's been found in blueberries and strawberries. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) values measuring the antioxidant power of acai fruit pulp/skin powder reportedly have the highest ORAC value among fruits and vegetables, or 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes.
Acai berries contain excellent amounts of iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A. They also contain anthocyanin compounds such as resveratrol and cyaniding and ferulic acid, which not only give fruits and vegetables their distinct color, but also team up with flavonoids to defend the body against harmful free radicals. In fact, acai berries contain 10 to 30 times more anthocyanin power than red wine. Beneficial fatty acids such as oleic acid, one of the same oils found in olive oil, is another strong point, and healthy levels of dietary fiber keep the system functioning smoothly.
Main export country:
How to eat:
Make into juice, smoothies, jelly, liqueur, etc.
Acai juice, acai ice cream, acai green tea
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