If you’ve been on Instagram in the past year, and follow any kind of health blogger, you’ve seen a picture of an açaí bowl. These beautiful masterpieces are fancy smoothies in a bowl packed full of health benefits, thanks to the açaí berry.
Image provided by Rooted Juicery.
We have the country of Brazil to thank for açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) berries, Dr. Oz to thank for the berry’s popularity, and the city of Los Angeles to thank for açaí bowls.
Let’s start from the beginning. The açaí berry is harvested from açaí palm trees, native to the rainforests of South America. Like all berries, they contain antioxidants, but just a lot more of them than other berries. In fact, açaí berries contain double the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries and ten times the amount found in grapes.
We’ve all heard antioxidants are good for us, but why? Enter free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that can lead to cell degeneration and death. Free radicals and cell death have been linked to all kinds of diseases like heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants fight free radicals thus helping our overall health. Beyond high levels of antioxidants, açaí berries are also packed full of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and fiber.
In the states, açaí comes in powdered, dried, or pureed form, instead of the whole fruit. People have been tossing scoops of açaí in their smoothies for a while now, and at some point, some genius on the west coast decided that we should put these açaí smoothies into a bowl and top it with more healthy ingredients. Thus, the açaí bowl was born.
The foundation of açaí bowls is usually some combination of acai, milk (almond, coconut) or fruit juice, fruit, and extra goodies, such as protein or collagen, blended together. That thick mixture is put into a bowl, and layered with all kinds of creatively placed toppings more fruit, granola, nuts, coconut flakes, chia seeds, etc.
Image provided by The Weekly Juicery.
If you want to make your own açaí bowls, the internet is flush with recipes. You can find açaí in single-serving packets in the frozen fruit section at Kroger, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I’m not all about making my own bowl, and would much prefer to buy a premade bowl. Our favorite local spots to grab an açaí bowl are Rooted Juicery, The Weekly Juicery, and Off The Vine.
Where do you go for açaí bowls in Cincy?