I discovered the delight of acai bowls (delicious smoothies thick enough to spoon, covered in a multitude of toppings) when I was in Australia during my gap year – the cafés on the Gold Coast were ace at serving up the most delicious (and most faddy, trendy) dishes. Since then, I’ve only found it at rather pricey London cafés so I decided to take the plunge and buy some acai powder from Amazon and experiment myself. You do need a food processor which is a bit of a faff but if you have one, acai bowls are really fun to make (although they do create rather a lot of washing up!). You can put on some summery music and kid yourself that you’re eating breakfast on a tropical beach!
A little note on the nutrition of acai…
Acai (pronounced ahh-sah-ee) is a berry from Brazil which has been credited as being packed full of antioxidants, substances that have been found to be protective against vascular disease, diabetes and cancer (1)(2). However, many of these studies have only been done in vitro (in a lab) and haven’t been replicated in human studies yet, or are pilot studies (have only used a small number of people so don’t provide strong evidence).
I think the most important thing to remember is that there isn’t a magic bullet to health or any such thing as a ‘perfect food’ – a varied pattern of eating including a variety of fruit and veggies of all colours, proteins, carbohydrates (grain & potato foods), saturated fats and fun foods is probably best.
Acai Bowl Recipe
100g frozen sliced banana
80g frozen mixed berries
1 tbsp acai powder
150ml milk (whichever type you prefer)
2 handfuls of spinach
Optional toppings: almonds, chopped fruit, mixed seeds, granola, chopped coconut, shavings of dark chocolate, cacao nibs – the list is endless!
Add all the ingredients to the food processor or smoothie-maker and blend at high speed until a thick and creamy consistency. You may need to stop blending a couple of times to scrape down the sides of the food processor. If the consistency isn’t creamy enough add more milk or water. Once completely smooth, serve immediately topped with your favourite fruits etc.
Beachy tunes whilst eating aren’t compulsory but highly recommended! (My personal choice at the moment: Summertime Music – Shwayze & Cisco https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UsPxcFcu8Q)
- Schauss, A.G., Wu, X., Prior, R.L., et al. Antioxidant Capacity and Other Bioactivites of the Freeze-Dried Amazonian Palm Berry, Euterpe oleraceae (Acai). J Agric Food Chem. 2006; 54:8604-8610. [Online]. Available at: http://www.vinosalacarta.com/monavie/estudios/2_antioxidant_capacity_and_other_bioactivities.pdf
- Udani, J.K., Singh, B.B., Singh, V.J., & Barrett, M.L. Effects of Acai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: A pilot study. Nutrition Journal. 2011; 10:45. [Online]. Available at: https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-10-45