In the last few years berries have risen quickly to become the new hip fruit on the block. Not only do they brighten up every meal and taste great, but they’re also incredibly good for your health. We’re big fans here at The Pure Package and try to throw them into every meal possible (within reason!). One of the most cleansing and body-invigorating types is the acai berry. If you’re in need of some inner-cleansing and want to refresh your body with some feel-good energy, then you can’t go far wrong with an acai berry detox.
Despite being pushed by the media as the next best healthy thing, no one seems to know too much about the fruit itself, so we’ve rounded up a selection important things to know about the acai berry. Next time you’re asked about what the ace snack, drink or meal you’re having as part of your detox diet is, you can reel off some sterling facts and feel not only healthy but deeply knowledgeable!
Acai Berry Health Facts
Heralding from the Central and South American acai palm, the small purple acai berry has been used in medicinal dishes for hundreds of years by Native Americans. They’re squeezed full of healthy nutrients including antioxidants, fibre, and monounsaturated fats which help to lower cholesterol. Importantly this means that they aid weight loss, breaking down fat, and boosting energy which all adds up to some seriously useful weight loss assistance without any odd side effects.
Beyond stimulating the production of antioxidants in the liver to get rid of nasty bits (toxins and unhelpful carcinogens) they also contain high levels of anthocyanins. These shield the body from harmful free radicals that develop from the metabolism and UV light exposure. This single fact allows you to put anyone drinking a glass of wine a day for ‘health benefits’ to shame immediately. Compared to a glass of wine, the berries provide from 10 to 30 times more anthocyanins.?
Acai berries being prepared for consumption – Photograph by Lisa Cyr
Acai Berry Recipes and Ideas
Of course, all this nutrient information is fairly unhelpful unless they taste great – and fortunately they do! They can be mixed into salads, eaten as a side dish, combined in yogurt and mixed into cereal, but we reckon that the best way to get them into your meals is in yummy smoothies and blends, all of which make up a brilliant breakfast. If you can get into a routine of having fresh fruit in a regular breakfast, this will work wonders for weight loss with a morning kick-start to your metabolism for an easy and invigorating detox diet.
By now, it should be pretty obvious why we love acai berries. It’s little surprise that since they came to the country (thanks to the joy of freezing) they’ve gone down a storm. Remember, it’s important to store them in a cold place to preserve all the good nutrients. It’s also best to spend a sensible amount on the berries when buying them because they’re carefully harvested by hand from the rainforest. Cheaper is not always better.
With all this talk of tasty berries, we thought we’d share our favourite ways to eat them.
Smoothies are one of the most popular things to make with acai fruit. Simple and quick, just add either the berries, the juice, or the dried powder to yogurt – add any other berries or fruit and juice you like – and blend. Et voila: step one towards a healthy detox diet!
For kids, adjust smoothies by using rice and other ingredients which will give children an important mix of carbohydrates and vitamins.
• ½ cup of rice
• ½ cup of banana or strawberry slices
• 1 100g pack of acai powder or puree
• 1 cup of acai juice
You can turn acai into ice lollies by freezing them, which makes kids of all ages gobble them up.
Delicious and thick acai berry drink – Photograph by keetr
For a main course acai bowls are brilliantly flexible. We love this video of surfer Rob Machado talking about how he makes up his acai bowls. It’s incredibly easy to mix and create your own version of the bowls, and as he explains, if you’re looking to add some calories and taste you can always throw in some natural peanut butter, dependent on whether you’re looking for a detox diet or just for a good meal:
And lastly, if you’re feeling like being adventurous (and a little less healthy!) then we recommend an acai berry martini.
Mix cold vodka with a dash (as big or as small as you like) of acai berry juice as a mixer for a cool summertime drink. Serve in a cool glass. It also goes brilliantly with any drinks that demand the presence of cranberries or dark berries.
What are some of your favourite ways to use acai berries? Let us know in the comments below.