With a tropical and striking flavor, the typically Brazilian fruit does not only conquer for its taste, but for its high nutritional value . Therefore, in addition to “filling the eyes”, a bowl of açaí can add a number of health benefits .
Native to the Amazon, açaí can be consumed in many ways. In the northern region of Brazil, for example, the fruit turns into mush and is usually enjoyed together with cassava flour.
In other states, the delicacy gained dessert status and turned into a creamy, sweet, cold and thick mass. When compared to ice cream, açaí gains points for being natural and, theoretically, healthy.
But, after all, does açaí make you fat or thin? Is it possible to consume it on a balanced diet? Find the answer to these and other questions below.
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Does açaí make you fat?
Despite their small, delicate fruit, much like purple grapes, acai has gained the status of superfood due to its high nutritional value.
According to nutritionist Luciana Abreu, “açaí is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It is also rich in anthocyanins, a highly antioxidant nutrient that is responsible for its color, as well as monounsaturated fats, polyphenols and fibers”.
The most common way to consume açaí pulp is sweetened and processed , along with guarana and/or other ingredients, such as bananas . This process makes it creamier and easier to consume, but considerably increases the number of calories in the food.
Therefore, anyone who thinks that açaí is naturally caloric is wrong. Fruit in its natural state has, on average, 58 calories per 100 grams . Much less than persimmon or avocado, for example. The sweetened pulp can exceed 110 calories in the same amount as the food.
Thus, if consumed in a balanced way, açaí is not fattening and can, yes, be part of a healthy and balanced diet. The tip, according to the nutritionist, is not to exaggerate the amount: a serving of 80 grams a day is enough to please the palate and nourish the body without harming the diet.
On the other hand, when added to the toppings and sugary syrups, açaí can become a real calorie bomb, surpassing 1,000 calories in a medium bowl.
Acai Benefits for Health
As a result of its nutrients, regular and moderate consumption of açaí brings a series of health benefits, including:
- Improves cognitive function
- Protects against different types of cancer
- Improves athletic performance
- Fights premature aging and depression
- Improves intestinal health
- Strengthens the immune system
- Between others.
In addition, the specialist states that “açaí can be considered as a cardioprotective food , as it acts on the circulatory system and helps maintain good cholesterol levels, in addition to its anti-inflammatory action ”.
She adds that, “because it contains fiber , it helps the bowel to function properly. It can be indicated for the prevention of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and others, due to the type of fat it presents. In general, it helps to combat fatigue and tiredness, common in modern times”.
3 recipes with açaí for those on a diet
So how about escaping the high-calorie options served in restaurants and kiosks and preparing your own açaí at home, with much less calories and more health?! Check out now three easy and tasty recipes with açaí, recommended by the nutritionist, to enjoy without leaving the diet:
Cream of açaí, dates and strawberries
Yield: 3 servings
- 30 g of dates
- 200 g of açaí pulp
- 5 drops of vanilla extract
- 100 g of coarsely chopped strawberries.
Beat the açaí with the seedless dates and the vanilla until smooth. Add the chopped strawberry and let it freeze for 1 hour.
Açaí and kiwi yogurt
Yield: 2 servings
- 200 g of low-fat natural yoghurt
- 100 g of açaí pulp
- 1 tablespoon of xylitol or sugarcane molasses (optional)
- 80 g of kiwi fruit.
Beat all the ingredients, leaving a part of the chopped kiwi fruit to guarantee an even more differentiated flavor.
Açaí and passion fruit juice
Yield: 2 servings
- 100 g of açaí pulp
- 1 passion fruit pulp
- 1 tablespoon of xylitol or sugarcane syrup (optional).
Beat all ingredients with water until you get the necessary consistency (more or less thick, according to your taste).
5 tips when consuming acai
- Avoid oversized portions.
- Prefer to taste the exotic flavor of pure fruit. It’s an excellent workout for the taste buds.
- Avoid including extra products, especially those rich in sugar like syrups and condensed milk.
- Look for brands that sell the pure product. For this information read the labels.
- Choose brands that guarantee quality, as açaí can be contaminated by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi , the agent of Chagas disease.
Once you have access to this information, forget about that old maxim that everything good is fattening. Açaí, in addition to being tasty, is an excellent food.
Although more caloric than other national fruit options, its fruit is loaded with nutrients, making it an excellent option for a healthy and balanced diet.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.