I've seen it everywhere, but I've only recently learned how to say it: Acai berry. You pronounce it ah-sigh-EE or ah-sah-EE. The tropical berry from South and Central America is supposed to have all sorts of potent health powers. Acai is rich in anthocyanins, flavonoids, and antioxidants. This means acai should help protect your body's cells, defending you from harmful, cancer-causing free radicals, and helping to slow the aging process. Acai berries are believed to be higher in antioxidants than other berries, like blueberries and raspberries.
But that's all theoretical. Scientists are looking for evidence that acai actually provides health benefits. But you might want to try them anyway, just in case. Here are a few ways to get your acai on.
Juices: The most common way to get acai is in fruit juices. Since acai is a berry, its juice blends well with other fruit juices. Or you can even just drink it plain. Here are some tips for using acai juice.
Smoothies: Acai smoothies are also popular -- in fact, probably the most common way to have acai berries. I usually see acai in the form of a frozen puree, which should blend well with other ingredients. I'm not so sure about powdered acai -- everything we know about food shows us that you lose a lot of nutrients when you dehydrate fruits and vegetables. Here's an easy acai berry smoothie recipe.
Cocktails: As long as you're going decadent, might as well go all the way. I'm not sure if mixing acai cancels out the toxic effects of alcohol, or if the alcohol cancels out the health benefits of acai ... well anyway, maybe you love a little virtue with your vice. Here's a recipe for an acai berry pisco sour.
Have you tried acai berries?
Image via Lisa Cyr/Flickr