Why the açaí?
The açaíThe açaí is a small berry from the açaí palm tree with approximately 1cm (0.50 inch), very common in plains and flooding areas in the region of the Amazon in states such as: Pará, Maranhão, Amazonas, Amapá, Rondônia and Acre. This palm tree has an average height of 20 to 30 meters (65 to 100 feet), with several branches that support between 3 to 8 clusters of fruit. Each cluster can hold up to 900 fruits. The açaí has a purple or black colour, it is very small and with a pit (seed) that takes up about 85% of the size of the fruit. Only 5% of the fruit is edible. Nowadays it is one of the most consumed Brazilian fruits all over the world.
The heritageBefore it became a worldwide known fruit, it was already used mainly by the people from the Amazon region, which inherited this habit from the Amazon natives. In these regions, the açaí is used in numerous ways, in sweet or savoury recipes and even as a side dish for fish and meat, taking a centre stage role in local gastronomy.
Who eats açaí?
The açaí is an excellent alternative for those who choose a healthy diet, with a high content in fat acids (Omega 6 and 9), vitamins and mineral salts.
Because it is an energetic food, it is a great option for sportsmen of all categories, professional and amateurs, competition or leisure.
It is good to eat açaí before your workout to get energy, or after to recover all the essential nutrients, always together with a diet suitable to your needs.
The region covered by the Amazon River has been punctuated by the indiscriminate use of the natural resources. The forest logging for producing wood, creating pastures and exploitation of the palm heart has caused deep transformations in the environment and in the economy.
The forest conservation and the sustainable development is a worldwide goal. The promotion of the açaí allowed for a source of income for the local population, thus creating sustainability in the Amazon by avoiding the logging of the açaí palm to extract the palm heart.
The seeds of the açaí are used in the region’s handicraft, as well as the açaí palm leaves that are used to manufacture purses, nets, hats, bags; even the roofs of some houses are built with the leaves of this palm.
The benefits of the açaí
The açaí is a very well know fruit, not only for the unmistakable flavour, but also for being a superfood. Superfood is a term used to describe food that has a high concentration of essential nutrients, enzymes and/or antioxidant phytochemicals, with great benefits for your health. Its antioxidant ability inhibits the oxidation of other molecules, neutralizing the free radicals, and showing clear anti-aging properties. The anthocyanin, responsible for the purple pigmentation of the açaí, is what makes the açaí a fruit with huge antioxidant ability. According to the study* from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service, the açaí has a ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) 17 times higher than the blueberry and 83 times higher than the grape. It is rich in fat essential oils, Omega 6 (linoleic acid) and Omega 9 (oleic acid), essential as the human body cannot synthesize them, obtaining them by ingestion on a diet. The linoleic and α-linolenic acids are vital to the functioning and normal growth of all the tissues, for reproduction and, in particular, for the formation of the prostaglandins that are responsible for the regulation of several processes associated with inflammation and thrombus, thus preventing cardiovascular diseases and the premature aging of the cells.
Besides other properties, the açaí promotes the balance of the cholesterol levels –improves the balance between the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol). The oleic acid, which you can find in the açaí, is a fat acid monounsaturated acid from the Omega-9 kind, responsible for the reduction of the harmful low density lipoproteins (LDLs – bad cholesterol) in the blood stream, and for the increase of the levels of good high density lipoproteins (HDLs – good cholesterol). Opting for healthy fats is important for controlling the weight and consequently controlling the glycaemia. For people with diabetes, controlling the blood pressure is as important as controlling the blood sugar (glycaemia). The main goals of the diet of a person with diabetes is: obtaining a good control of the glycaemia, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and reaching and keeping a healthy weight in order to prevent the diabetes’ complications. To help controlling these risk factors, it is suggested to reduce the ingestion of fats and salt, and increase the ingestion of fibre. The açaí is rich in calcium and potassium. Its content contributes for strengthening bones and consequently preventing osteoporosis. This fruit is also a source of iron and phosphorus. The absorption of iron in the organism prevents problems like anaemia and guarantees the oxygenation of the body, acting like a fuel so that the haemoglobin, the blood cell, works in the best possible way.
*Source: USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 Prepared by David B. Haytowitz and Seema Bhagwat Nutrient Data Laboratory Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), May 2010
How do you use the açaí?
Delicious ideas to use the açaí
- 160ml of NATIVE Açaí
- 1 Glass of cow or almond milk or 200g of Greek yoghurt
How to prepare:
Mix all the ingredients in the blender and drink it immediately.
- 160ml of NATIVE Açaí
- 1 Big banana (you can use frozen banana)
- 1 Cup of frozen red berries
- 1 Tablespoon of hemp seeds
- 1 Cup of vegetal drink (or more, if necessary)
How to prepare:
Put all the ingredients in the blender and mix.
- 160ml NATIVE Açaí
- 1 banana or other fruit you like as strawberry, papaya or avocado
How to prepare:
Before preparation, take the 160ml package of NATIVE Açaí from the freezer and wait about 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the room temperature). In a bowl, put the 160ml NATIVE Açaí, slice the banana and put it on top. Add some granola and enjoy! You can make several combinations, for example, add some honey or agave syrup, oat, quinoa or chia seed topping instead of the granola… use several types of fruit… use your imagination and your taste!