The Nutritional Makeup of Acai
With all the excitement surrounding Acai it can be hard to believe that a
small 2cm in diameter berry can be a #1 superfood in America as explained by Dr. Perricone on Oprah. However, once
you take a look at the nutritional profile of Acai you will see why it may be one of the
most perfect fruits in the world.
Image from Sambazon
What is in the Acai Berry?
Incredible Antioxidant and Anthocyanins Levels
Simply put, Acai is one of the highest antioxidant fruits in the world. Acai
has 10 times the antioxidant level of grapes and twice that of blueberries. Acai has
10 to 30 times the Anthocyanins of red wine (Our last article
defined Anthocyanins). The ORAC score for 100 grams of freeze dried
Acai powder is over 70,000. An almost unbelievable number when you consider most of the
population consumes less than 1,000 ORAC units a day.
The Acai berry is very rich in healthy Omega fats. Nearly 50% of the Acai berry is fat - with 74% of the
fat coming from healthy unsaturated fats such as Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9.
Rich in Amino Acids and Protein
7.59% of the weight of the Acai pulp is from amino acids. 19 different amino acids have been
identified in Acai. Since amino acids are the building blocks of protein, it is no surprise that
you have over 8 grams of protein in a 100 gram serving of Acai.
Excellent source of Plant Sterols
Three plant sterols (or photosterols) have been identified in Acai - B-sitosterol,
campesterol and sigmasterol. Photosterols have been shown to have numerous health benefits
for maintaining healthy heart and digestive function.
Good source of Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E are all present in Acai. In fact, Acai contain as
much Vitamin C as blueberries and has over 1000 IU of Vitamin A for every 100 grams of Acai. In
addition, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc are all found in Acai.
Good Source of Fiber
For a fruit, Acai has a strong fiber profile. There are about 14 grams of fiber in every 100 grams of freeze dried Acai powder.
You would think anything this healthy must taste terrible - however, just the opposite is true. Acai has
a berry and chocolate flavor that is truly unique and delicious. Acai is used in smoothies, deserts
and can also be eaten by itself.
More to be discovered
Research on the nutritional makeup of Acai is ongoing and there are many aspects of the
fruit that have not been characterized yet. We know there must be undiscovered antioxidants in Acai, because
even though it is high in Anthocyanins - they are not high enough to account for the
incredible ORAC scores.
Buyer Beware: Acai Seeds - Fine for Fuel|
NOT for Food!
The Acai berry is 90% seed, with only 10% of the berry edible. In the Amazon Rainforest, they eat the skin and pulp
of the Acai berry and discard the seed. All the research and nutritional information we discuss above is based on just
the Acai berry skin and pulp. When you hear Dr. Perricone, Dr. Oz and every other expert discuss the amazing nutritional profile
of the Acai berry - they are talking about just the skin and pulp.
Companies that make legitimate Acai products of course use only the Acai skin and pulp. These companies have come up with
creative uses for the Acai seed - they make Acai necklaces and even burn the seeds as a renewable energy source. The one thing
that no legitimate Acai supplier would ever do is crush the Acai seeds and sell them as juice or supplement.
Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that a number of companies are selling Acai products that contain the Acai seed. These
products therefore contain 90% less Acai (as defined by the edible portion) than Acai products that use only the skin and pulp. Consumers
that ingest Acai seed products are consuming a product that has been the subject of very little research and in no way reflects how the
indigenous people of the Amazon Rainforest have enjoyed Acai for thousands of years.
Our recommendation - steer clear of any product that is made with the Acai seed!
Acai is rich in anthocyanins, antioxidants, fiber, healthy omega fats, amino acids, protein, plant sterols,
vitamins and minerals. Acai is also a delicious tasting fruit that has a berry
taste with hints of chocolate. It is clear that Acai has a nutrition and taste profile
that make it a clear superfood.
Now that we understand the nutritional makeup of Acai we can look at our next article...