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What is Acai? – Everything You Need to Know About Açaí Berry Benefits

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What is Acai? – Everything You Need to Know About Açaí Berry Benefits

One of the most delicious members of the superfood squad — a.k.a. the cool kids of the food pyramid — is a fruit you’ve probably seen all over your Instagram feed. Açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) is best known for being the not-so-secret ingredient in picture-perfect smoothie bowls, but there’s more to these berries than just their good looks.

Superfood Qualities of Açaí

What is açaí, anyway? Found on açaí palm trees in South American rainforests, açaí berries are a lot like grapes. The seed takes up about 80% of the berry, but the flesh and skin pack plenty of vitamins and other nutrients in the remaining 20%. Not to mention the berries are only about 70 calories a cup.

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1. Antioxidants

Like other berries, açaí are packed with antioxidants that can help build up your immune system and protect your cells against damage from free radicals.

2. Fiber

Full of fiber, açaí berries not only help make your trips to the bathroom regular and healthy, but also help keep you full and your blood sugar steady.

3. Heart-Healthy Fats

It might seem like a diet rich in fish, nuts and avocados is the only way to get enough omega-3 fatty acids, but açaí berries are also a great source. By eating a diet rich in these heart-healthy fats, you could lower your risk of coronary heart disease and improve your cholesterol.

4. Calcium

High in calcium, açaí berries will help keep your bones, heart, muscles and nerves strong and healthy.

acai berries


Health Claims of Açaí

Do these berries live up to their nickname “purple gold”? They are powerful, but don’t depend on them to help fix your health ailments by themselves.

“Although lots of people eat these berries — amongst other foods — for their ‘magical powers,’ you’re not going to find magic in one food,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of and author of Read It Before You Eat It. “The magic comes from a diet that contains a variety of foods that work in concert with each other.”

1. Heart Disease

There’s no proof with açaí berries specifically, but eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables overall can help prevent heart disease.

2. Cancer

Produce-filled diets can also help lower the risk of most cancers, according to the American Cancer Society, but research hasn’t been done on açaí specifically.

3. Weight Loss

You guessed it: Munching on lots of fruit and vegetables — including açaí berries — as well as exercising regularly can help you lose weight.

4. Arthritis

All berries contain anthocyanins that have been found to have an anti-inflammatory effect that can help ease the symptoms, says the Arthritis Foundation.

5. High Cholesterol

Eating more fiber from fruit (e.g., açaí), vegetables, beans and other sources can help lower cholesterol levels.

6. Erectile Dysfunction

There’s no evidence on açaí berries specifically, but researchers in a January 2016 study found eating berries in general might reduce men’s risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED). In addition, being overweight can cause or make ED worse, says the Mayo Clinic. Eating a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables can help with weight loss and hopefully improve symptoms.

7. Anti-Aging

It’s still true: A healthy diet full of fruit, vegetables, protein and healthy fats can help with everything from acne to aging.

acai smoothie bowl


Where to Find Açaí

Because açaí berries can spoil within a day, the best ways to buy them are frozen (we recommend Sambazon’s superfruit packs) or in powdered form (like ).

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