Açaí
Published: November 27, 2020

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Açaí is one of the most popular superfoods on Instagram today. But are you familiar with the health benefits of this exotic fruit? Did you know that it could boost your antioxidant intake? Açaí is a tropical Amazonian fruit that is rich in anthocyanins, the antioxidant pigments responsible for its purple color.

You can find powder and capsule supplements on the Canadian market. They are used preventively to reduce oxidative damage and delay aging. In addition, açaí has energizing and cholesterol-lowering properties. Are you ready to learn everything there is to know about this potent fruit?

Key Facts

  • This purple fruit from the Euterpe oleracea plant is rich in anthocyanins, carbohydrates, fiber, and unsaturated fats. It has antioxidant, energizing, hypocholesterolemic (glucose-lowering), and anti-aging properties.
  • It can be challenging to find fresh açaí outside the countries where it grows naturally. This is why the berry is generally consumed as a supplement, either in powder or capsule form.
  • You will have to evaluate different criteria to purchase a high-quality supplement. These include the Euterpe species and dosage form of the product, as well as the presence of added ingredients or allergens.

Our Selection: The Best Açaí Supplements on the Canadian Market

Berries tend to decompose very quickly once harvested, so exporting them can be difficult. This is why most people consume açaí through supplements to improve their health or delay aging. In the section below, we have selected the best products currently available on the Canadian market:

Best Keto Friendly Açaí Supplement

Have you been looking for a way to boost your metabolism and get rid of these extra pounds? Isn’t exercising and dieting enough? Well, this açaí and raspberry ketones supplement will help you promote fat breakdown and suppress your appetite!

Forget about cheaply made ketone diet supplements. This açaí and raspberry supplement is non-GMO and gluten free. Moreover, it is GMP certified. Settle for nothing less than the best and try this weight loss raspberry ketones supplement now.

Best Açaí Berry Tea

Stash Tea company derives its name from an entertaining aspect of tea folklore. In earlier centuries, tea was a valuable commodity traditionally transported by clipper ship. The ship’s captain often was presented with some of the finest teas for his personal use. This supply was his “stash,” stowed carefully as his “private reserve.” Today, the term is still used to denote anything put away carefully because of its preciousness.

So sit back and take a sip of luxury with this premium line of teas. Made with high quality tea from some of the finest tea estates around the world. This exceptional tea is 100% organic. And made with 100% natural ingredients.

Best Açaí Supplement Overall

This manufacturer believes the best sources of nutrients come from Mother Nature. Their trained team members carefully select, source and process all raw ingredients to ensure consumers receive the complete health value that comes from nature. They strive to provide the best over-the-counter supplements with natural ingredients to ensure you get the benefits they need without the harmful chemicals.

All this manufactures products are made from carefully selected Canadian ingredients and manufactured in their Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Certified Laboratory located in Vancouver. To ensure you the best quality at a very good price.

Best Açaí Capsules

Açaí has been called a healthy aging superfood due to its exceptionally high concentration of anthocyanins and other polyphenols and the antioxidants vitamins C and E. These nutrients scavenge the free radicals that cause inflammation and ongoing damage to cells, leading to age-related functional decline and the development of degenerative diseases.

This brand brings to you a super strength supplement that delivers you a whooping 500mg of acaí berry concentrate in each capsule. This supplement is also made in Canada and guarantees you a quality product due to their high security standards. They manufacture their supplements to Canadian GMP standards.

Best Organic Açaí Berry Product

These powders consist of a single minimally processed, high quality ingredient. That’s right, only ONE ingredient! Chefs and foodies from around the world are using these beautiful colored powders to create award-winning dishes that sing with natural color. It has a slightly tart flavor perfect for mixing into your favorite juices, smoothies, protein shakes, yogurts, and baked goods.

Subsequently, this product contains only 25 calories per 4g serving. It is 100% organic, and you can mix it into any of your favourite dishes during the day or at night. Each pack comes with 99g of pure açaí organic supercolor powder.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Açaí

As we mentioned earlier, the consumption of fresh açaí is limited to the producer countries, which include Brazil, Peru, and Suriname. In Canada, you can buy frozen pulp or consume these berries in the form of dietary supplements. In the section below, we will delve into the wonderful benefits of these fruits, as well as answer the most common questions regarding them.

Woman smiling at the beach

Açaí is a purple fruit that is rich in anthocyanins, carbohydrates, fiber, and unsaturated fats.
(Source: Maridav: 96159177/ 123rf.com)

What are açaí berries exactly?

The açaí is a tropical fruit from the Amazon region. Two species of palm are capable of producing this berry, but the one with the greatest health properties is the Euterpe oleracea. The açaí fruit is an excellent source of anthocyanins (antioxidant pigments), carbohydrates, fiber, and unsaturated fats (1, 2).

This small, spherical berry has a diameter of 1 to 2 centimeters. The texture of its purple skin is smooth, while the pulp is juicy, sweet, and tasty. In fact, many people say that its taste is similar to that of a blend of chocolate and blackberry. Juices, jellies, powders, and capsules are made from the açaí berries (2).

What is the nutritional profile of fresh and powdered açaí?

Fresh açaí berries contain a significant amount of water, while almost all of it is removed to make powdered supplements. The skin of the berry is hard, which means that only the pulp is edible. In the table below, you can compare the nutritional profile of both fresh and powdered pulp (2, 3).

Average nutritional information Fresh açaí pulp Freeze-dried (dehydrated and powdered) açaí pulp
Calories (per 100 g) 80 calories 480 calories
Proteins (per 100 g) 2 g 8.3 g
Carbohydrates (per 100 g) 7 g 19 g
Fats (per 100 g) 6 g, of which 4.5 g correspond to healthy unsaturated fats (mainly omega 6 and 9) 38 g, of which at least 29 g correspond to healthy unsaturated fats (omega 6 and 9)
Dietary fiber 1 g 31 g

Of the total fats present in açaí berry, half correspond to oleic acid (omega 9), which is also the primary fatty acid in olive oil. While anthocyanins don’t provide calories, these pigments are responsible for the antioxidant activity of this fruit. In addition, açaí berries are rich in vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, calcium, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium (3).

What are the health benefits of açaí?

As we explained earlier, the most important compounds of the açaí berries are pigments called anthocyanins. However, these flavonoids are not the only essential nutrients present in the fruit. As you can see below, various of its unsaturated fats, carbohydrates, and fiber are also linked to health benefits:

  • It has a powerful antioxidant effect. Anthocyanins can neutralize free radicals that oxidize cells, produce diseases (cardiac, neurological, cancer), and accelerate aging (4, 5).
  • It provides energy. Both the fresh pulp and the powder supplement are highly concentrated in carbohydrates, which are the primary energy nutrients. The açaí berries can be taken as a snack before or after physical activity, or during breakfast to get the energy you need for the day ahead (3).
  • It alleviates constipation. Fiber can represent up to 25% of the dry substance. This is why the pulp and powder stimulate bowel movements and help to treat constipation (1).
  • It has cholesterol-lowering properties. The hypocholesterolemic capacity of açaí is attributed to the presence of omega-9 oleic acid, which decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. Besides, dietary fiber and certain phytosterols present in the fruit also contribute to lowering cholesterol (6).
  • It acts as a neuroprotector. The flavonoids in the açaí pulp aren’t simply antioxidants; they also reduce the inflammation linked to metabolic disorders affecting the brain, such as atherosclerosis. Researchers are investigating the neuroprotective role of açaí against psychiatric diseases like bipolar disorder (7, 8).
  • It helps delay skin and organ aging. The index that evaluates the capacity of a food to block the free radicals that make the organism sick and old is called ORAC (oxygen radical absorbing capacity). The açaí has an ORAC index of 18,400, which corroborates its incredibly antioxidant and anti-aging properties (9).
  • It increases the satiety value. Its high fiber content makes the açaí berries remain for several hours in the stomach, extending the feeling of fullness and reducing the appetite. This is observed both when consumed fresh or in the form of powder (1).
  • It improves cardiovascular health. Açaí supplements are antioxidants, lower cholesterol, strengthen blood vessels, and prevent blood clots from forming. All this contributes to your cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of developing heart conditions (10).
  • It protects ocular health. Anthocyanins increase blood supply to the eyes and prevent retinal degeneration induced by oxidative stress and/or inflammation (10).
  • It has antimicrobial properties. Anthocyanins inhibit the development of numerous pathogenic bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (a frequent cause of urinary infections), Listeria innocua, and Aeromonas hydrophilia (10, 11).
  • It helps prevent or treat diabetes. The anthocyanin flavonoids improve insulin sensitivity and prevent diabetic nephropathy, which is one of the most frequent and severe complications of diabetes (10, 12).

Smoothie bowl

In the United States, you can buy frozen açaí pulp or consume these berries in the form of dietary supplements.
(Source: Kondratova: 81075930/ 123rf.com)

What are the differences between açaí and blueberry?

Many people confuse these two berries because their external appearance is very similar. Besides, both fruits are recognized as antioxidant fruits. However, there are numerous botanical, nutritional, and medicinal differences between the two, as you can see in the table below (9, 10, 13):

Açaí Blueberry
Scientific name  Euterpe oleracea  Vaccinium corymbosum
Type of plant Palm trees. They grow in tropical and subtropical areas, mainly in the Amazon region. Shrub. It develops better in cold regions. It is cultivated in North America, South America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia.
ORAC value 18,400 3,200
Calories (per 100 g of powder supplement) 480 calories 330 calories
Fiber content (per 100 g of powder supplement) 30 g 14 g
Fat content (per 100 g of powder supplement) 35 g 2 g
 Protein content (per 100 g of powder supplement) 8.5 g 1 g
Carbohydrate content (per 100 g of powdered supplement) 19 g 73 g
 Average price (per ounce) 2 to 3 dollars Around 4 dollars

While blueberry and açaí are both sources of anthocyanins, the second berries are richer in these pigments and have greater antioxidant properties. In addition, blueberries are low in fat and protein while having a higher carbohydrate concentration. Açaí, on the other hand, provides a considerable amount of unsaturated omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids.

Can açaí berries help with weight loss?

Until now, researchers have found no evidence that some of the açaí compounds can facilitate weight loss or induce oxidation (“burning”) of fats. If you consume powdered açaí daily, this may reduce appetite and help control food intake. However, this is simply a consequence of their high fiber content (1).

Anthocyanins help prevent metabolic complications related to obesity, such as type II diabetes, dyslipidemia (elevated blood cholesterol and/or triglycerides), fatty liver, and cardiovascular diseases. In that regard, açaí supplements may be beneficial for overweight or obese individuals (10).

Willow Jarosh, MS, RDRegistered Dietitian Nutritionist
“The açaí berry diet requires weight loss supplements that include extracts of the açaí berry. Experts agree that these supplements should be used with caution because they’re not regulated like drugs. This diet is costly and focused on weight loss, not health.”

What are the side effects associated with açaí consumption?

These supplements are safe for health as long as you stick to the recommended doses. Even the fresh pulp or juice can be dangerous in excess because this fruit provides high amounts of manganese. This could lead to toxicity. Sustained excessive intake of manganese can cause respiratory and neurological conditions (14).

Are there contraindications to using açaí?

The use of these supplements is not advised in specific situations where we lack evidence to confirm their safe consumption. Besides, these products may enhance the effect of certain drugs or interfere with diagnostic tests. Avoid açaí supplements if you find yourself in any of the following cases:

  • Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childhood (especially in children under the age of eight).
  • Surgical procedure in the near future. The berries inhibit the platelet aggregation your blood needs to coagulate.
  • Hypoglycemic drug (metformin) or anticoagulant (warfarin) treatment.
  • Iron-deficiency anemia. The manganese present in açaí can interfere with iron assimilation.
  • Chronic heart, liver, kidney, or endocrine diseases. In that case, you must consult your doctor before taking any kind of supplement.
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance in the near future, as açaí can affect the contrast.

Woman with fruit bowl

Açaí is one of the most popular superfoods on Instagram today.
(Source: Maridav: 124922678/ 123rf.com)

Buyer’s Guide

Now that you know the benefits of açaí, its nutritional profile, and the different forms available, you’re almost ready to choose the right product. But there are so many supplements on the Canadian market that making a decision can seem daunting. To help you get it right, we have detailed the key shopping criteria in the final section of our article:

Euterpe Species

The açaí supplements you purchase should be sourced from the fruit of the palm Euterpe oleracea, which is the species of greatest nutritional and medicinal value. There are over 20 species of Euterpe in the Amazonian forest, but only two are commercially exploited to sell their fruits: Euterpe oleracea and Euterpe precatoria (1).

While the açaí berries of the plant Euterpe precatoria are equally or even more abundant in antioxidants than those of the Euterpe oleracea, we lack scientific research about the properties of this species. Since it is unknown whether or not its consumption is safe, you should steer clear of it (1).

Açaí bowl

Açaí provides a considerable amount of unsaturated omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids.
(Source: Junqueira: 87940237/ 123rf.com)

Dosage Form

As we have mentioned several times, açaí supplements come in the form of powder and capsules. The latter are a source of antioxidant flavonoids and phytosterols but don’t contain any fiber, carbohydrate, or fat. This means that they are not recommended for relieving constipation, do not provide energy, and cannot help reducing appetite.

The advantage of the capsules is that they are easy to consume, have a neutral taste, and can be kept at room temperature. The powder, on the other hand, must be mixed with some liquid or creamy food before consumption. It has a sweet, sour, and pleasant taste. Commercial açaí juices are not recommended because they generally contain added sugar.

Powdered açaí Açaí capsules 
Recommended daily dose 5 to 10 g (1 or 2 teaspoons) 1 to 3 capsules
Taste Sweet, sour, pleasant Soft, almost neutral
Indicated for – Constipation.
– As a snack before or after exercise.
– Large appetite.
– High blood cholesterol.
– Need to increase antioxidant intake.
– History of cardiovascular disease.
– Need to increase antioxidant intake.
– Diabetes or pre-diabetes.
– History of cardiovascular disease.
– History of inherited diseases affecting eyesight.

Presence of Vitamin C

Most açaí capsules also contain added vitamin C. This is because this vitamin is very sensitive to temperature and oxygen, and the processing through which the fruits go tends to destroy it. If you opt for powder supplements, you should know that they rarely have added vitamin C. This is why you are advised to take it with some food source of the vitamin:

  • Citrus fruits (orange, tangerine, lemon)
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Pineapple

Presence of Allergens

The açaí berries are naturally gluten-free. However, anyone with celiac disease or intolerance to gluten must check the label to make sure that the supplement doesn’t contain this allergen. Açaí is also free of lactose, but cross-contamination is a real risk. Read the list of ingredients carefully before making your purchase.

Other allergens that may contaminate these dietary products include egg, soy, and nuts. By law, the nutrition label must specify the allergens present in any food or supplement. If you suffer from a food allergy and you are unsure about a product, don’t take a chance.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAYws9alFF_/

Summary

The açaí berry (Euterpe oleracea) is an exotic fruit native to the Amazon region, whose supplements are now consumed by people all over the world. The fascination for this berry is due to its excellent nutritional quality and high content in antioxidant anthocyanins. These flavonoids are also responsible for its very peculiar color.

Anthocyanins neutralize oxidative damage, protect cardiovascular health, inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, and prevent diabetes. Açaí also provides dietary fiber, which contributes to treating constipation, and monounsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol levels. Besides, this berry rarely causes side effects when consumed responsibly.

Did you enjoy our shopping guide on açaí? Let us know what you thought in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share this article on your social media. That way, your friends and family can learn more about this exotic superfood!

(Featured Image Source: Acevedo: 107977378/ 123rf.com)

References (14)

1. ‎de Lima Yamaguchi et al. Amazon acai: Chemistry and biological activities: A review [Internet]. 2015.
Source

2. Cymerys M, Shanley P, Vogt N, Brondizio E. Açaí (Euterpe oleracea). En: Frutales y plantas útiles en la vida amazónica [Internet]. 2012.
Source

3. da Silva Menezes E, Torres A, Ubirajara A. Valor nutricional da polpa de açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart) liofilizada [Internet]. 2008.
Source

4. Kang J et al. Bioactivities of açaí (Euterpe precatoria Mart.) fruit pulp, superior antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to Euterpe oleracea Mart.[Internet]. 2012.
Source

5. Del Pozo Insfran D, Brenes C, Talcott S. Phytochemical Composition and Pigment Stability of Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) [Internet]. 2004.
Source

6. Oliveira de Souza M et al. The hypocholesterolemic activity of açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) is mediated by the enhanced expression of the ATP-binding cassette, subfamily G transporters 5 and 8 and low-density lipoprotein receptor genes in the rat [Internet]. 2012.
Source

7. Kang et al. Flavonoids from acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) pulp and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities [Internet]. 2011.
Source

8. Kolinski Machado A et al. Neuroprotective Effects of Açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) against Rotenone In Vitro Exposure [Internet]. 2016.
Source

9. Kolevski G, Ivic Kolevska S. Antioxidants in fruits and and human medical research: An overview [Internet]. 2012.
Source

10. Khoo H, Azlan A, Tang S, Lim S. Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits [Internet]. 2017.
Source

11. Belda Galbis C et al. Antimicrobial activity of açaí against Listeria innocua [Internet]. 2015.
Source

12. Belwal T, Nabavi SF, Nabavi SH, Habtemariam S. Dietary Anthocyanins and Insulin Resistance: When Food Becomes a Medicine [Internet]. 2017.
Source

13. Silva S et al. Health promoting properties of blueberries: a review [Internet]. 2018.
Source

14. da Silva V, de Almeida G, Barbosa F. Açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.): A Tropical Fruit with High Levels of Essential Minerals—Especially Manganese—and its Contribution as a Source of Natural Mineral Supplementation [Internet]. 2014.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Artículo informativo
‎de Lima Yamaguchi et al. Amazon acai: Chemistry and biological activities: A review [Internet]. 2015.
Go to source
Artículo de fuente reconocida
Cymerys M, Shanley P, Vogt N, Brondizio E. Açaí (Euterpe oleracea). En: Frutales y plantas útiles en la vida amazónica [Internet]. 2012.
Go to source
Artículo informativo
da Silva Menezes E, Torres A, Ubirajara A. Valor nutricional da polpa de açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart) liofilizada [Internet]. 2008.
Go to source
Artículo informativo
Kang J et al. Bioactivities of açaí (Euterpe precatoria Mart.) fruit pulp, superior antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to Euterpe oleracea Mart.[Internet]. 2012.
Go to source
Artículo informativo
Del Pozo Insfran D, Brenes C, Talcott S. Phytochemical Composition and Pigment Stability of Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) [Internet]. 2004.
Go to source
Artículo informativo
Oliveira de Souza M et al. The hypocholesterolemic activity of açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) is mediated by the enhanced expression of the ATP-binding cassette, subfamily G transporters 5 and 8 and low-density lipoprotein receptor genes in the rat [Internet]. 2012.
Go to source
Artículo informativo
Kang et al. Flavonoids from acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) pulp and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities [Internet]. 2011.
Go to source
Artículo de medio reconocido
Kolinski Machado A et al. Neuroprotective Effects of Açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) against Rotenone In Vitro Exposure [Internet]. 2016.
Go to source
Artículo informativo
Kolevski G, Ivic Kolevska S. Antioxidants in fruits and and human medical research: An overview [Internet]. 2012.
Go to source
Artículo de medio reconocido
Khoo H, Azlan A, Tang S, Lim S. Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits [Internet]. 2017.
Go to source
Artículo informativo
Belda Galbis C et al. Antimicrobial activity of açaí against Listeria innocua [Internet]. 2015.
Go to source
Artículo de medio reconocido
Belwal T, Nabavi SF, Nabavi SH, Habtemariam S. Dietary Anthocyanins and Insulin Resistance: When Food Becomes a Medicine [Internet]. 2017.
Go to source
Artículo de medio reconocido
Silva S et al. Health promoting properties of blueberries: a review [Internet]. 2018.
Go to source
Artículo informativo
da Silva V, de Almeida G, Barbosa F. Açaí (Euterpe oleracea Mart.): A Tropical Fruit with High Levels of Essential Minerals—Especially Manganese—and its Contribution as a Source of Natural Mineral Supplementation [Internet]. 2014.
Go to source
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