WITH a tart, earthy, ‘blackberry and dark chocolate’ flavour, acai powder is made from the freeze-dried pulp of purple acai berries that grow on palm trees in South America.
Acai is high in anthocyanins — pigments with powerful antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties.
A 2021 review by the University of Beira Interior in Portugal found that consuming anthocyanins (from acai berries and other vibrantly coloured fruit) seemed to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s, heart attacks and potentially some cancers, says Rosie Martin, an NHS dietitian, who also works for Plant Based Health Professionals UK.
Although fresh fruit and veg is ideal, powdered berries do retain a high proportion of their nutrients, she adds.
A 15g (heaped tablespoon) of acai powder is equivalent to 270g berries and provides around 4g fibre (13 per cent of your daily needs) and more than 300 per cent of your daily manganese (for connective tissue formation, bones and metabolism).
If you’re having a lot of acai (powder, frozen pulp or as a supplement) mention this to your doctor, as its high nutrient content can interfere with some medications and MRI test results. BOTTOM LINE: No replacement for a good handful of fresh or frozen berries, says Rosie Martin.