One of the most delicious members of the superfood squad — aka 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 percent of the berry, but the flesh and skin pack plenty of vitamins and other nutrients in the remaining 20 percent. Not to mention the berries are only about 70 calories a cup.
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.
High in calcium, açaí berries will help keep your bones, heart, muscles, and nerves strong and healthy.
HEALTH CLAIMS OF AÇAÌ
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 BetterThanDieting.com 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.
There's no proof with açaí berries specifically, but diets full of fruit, vegetables, and protein has been shown to help lower the risk of most cancers, says the American Cancer Society.
There's no proof with açaí berries specifically, but eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, as well as exercising regularly, can help you lose weight.
There's no proof with açaí berries specifically, but 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
There's no proof with açaí berries specifically, but eating more fiber from fruit, vegetables, beans, and other sources can help lower cholesterol levels.
6. Erectile Dysfunction
There's no proof with 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 aid in achieving a normal sex life again.
There's no proof with açaí berries specifically, but a healthy diet full of fruit, vegetables, protein, and healthy-fats can help with everything from acne to aging.