WTF Is Acai? Here's A Breakdown Of Everyone's New Favorite Fruit
I'm sure you heard of the mighty acai berry by now.
And by heard of it, I mean you probably don't know it's a berry from South American rainforests, and you have no idea how to pronounce it, but acai bowls definitely blow up your Instagram feed lately, and you're wondering what they're about.
I don't blame you. Those bowls are so pretty! They're heaped with nuts, granola, bananas, strawberries and blueberries, and sometimes, there's peanut butter drizzled on top.
Not following? Here's an example of what those big, beautiful acai bowls look like:
Now that we're all on the same page, let's talk about some questions you may have about this purple berry.
How is it pronounced?
This is a tough one. For years, I went around saying "a-kai," only to learn I was saying it embarrassingly wrong.
Ladies and gentlemen, the word acai is pronounced "ah-sigh-ee."
What's so great about acai?
Acai berries are more special than regular berries in a lot of ways. For example, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all grow on bushes. Acai berries, on the other hand, grow on palm trees in the Amazon.
Acai berries aren't as sweet as regular berries, either; they're dark, rich and can even be a little bitter. But with a some added sweetness (whether you add sugar yourself or get enough of it from toppings), the flavor is strong, unique and delicious.
Now, for the really great stuff: Acai is loaded with health benefits.
Nutritionist Lisa Hayim tells Elite Daily,
Recent results from studies have made the fruit very popular due to its high antioxidant capacity (antioxidants help fight the free radicals in our body, which are the 'bad guys' that disrupt the health of our cells), its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its cardio protective activities. Acai is one of the most studied fruits by researchers right now and is being used in our food, pharmaceuticals and even in our cosmetic industry.
Yep, acai is a superfood. Why wouldn't you want to eat it every day for breakfast?
Where can I get acai?
Since acai berries only grow in the rainforest, you're probably wondering how you can get them out of the Amazon and into your kitchen.
Hayim tells Elite Daily because acai berries start to lose their nutritional qualities just 24 hours after they're picked, they're not quite as easy to ship as other fruits.
Therefore, acai is available in the United States in the form of powder, juice and frozen packs. Watch out, though -- a lot of those juices and packs can be extremely high in sugar. So check out sugar-free versions, like these from Sambazon.
You can always add sugar later.
What can I do with acai?
Frozen acai packs are great for tossing in a blender with some almond milk and banana and topping with anything your heart desires.
If smoothies aren't really your thing and you want to think outside the box, try whipping up a batch of Hayim's acai overnight oats. This recipe is delicious, will keep you full for a while and only contains five ingredients.
Here's what it looks like.
Intrigued? Check out Hayim's full recipe here.
Now that you know everything there is to know about the mighty acai berry, toss it in a blender and brag to your friends about how good you are at pronouncing it.