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Acai berry benefits
The acai berry comes from the acai palm, which is native to Central and South America.
Similar in appearance to a grape but with less pulp, the berry is small, round and has a beautiful black-purple colour.
It has been heralded as the most important non-wood forest product found in the Amazon's river delta and is being increasingly farmed using fair trade principles.
Benefits and properties
Acai berries have multiple usages, especially as a food and drink product or nutritional addition.
The powdered freeze-dried acai fruit pulp contains high levels of dietary fibre, low levels of sugar and a good amount of protein.
It also has elements of vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A and amino acids in it.
With its long list of nutrients and properties, it's easy to see why this is a popular dietary supplement, bringing a sharp fruity flavour to many drinks and dishes.
Acai berries are very high in antioxidants, meaning they make a great addition to detox diets.
Weight loss and energy
Acai berries and related products have been heralded for their assistance in weight loss regimes and their ability to boost energy levels.
While there is little scientific evidence to show that consuming acai berries will cause you to lose excess pounds, it can help to improve your overall health thanks to its high antioxidant levels and long list of nutrients.
As part of an active lifestyle and calorie-controlled diet, they have been known to help promote weight loss and all round better health.
When consumed as part of a healthy and active lifestyle you may notice your energy levels improving.
To keep these up, you should also try to get at least seven hours sleep a night, consume plenty of water and attempt exercising outdoors.
Once the ice and snow has disappeared, why not take advantage of the light mornings and evenings and enjoy the fresh air with a gentle jog or cycle?
Best ways to eat
Acai berries are sold in a variety of ways, from a powder to freeze-dried or even fresh berries.
It can also be found in tablet form, making it a simple nutritional supplement to take on the go.
One of the most common ways to consume acai berries is within teas or smoothies.
You can mix the freeze-dried powders into hot water for a refreshing and calming warm drink, which is sure to give you an energy boost in the morning or help you to relax after a busy day.
It is also frequently used in revitalising smoothies.
You can add a few spoonfuls of the powder into your favourite superfruit blends, or alternatively you could use acai as the main ingredient in a whole new recipe.
For added fibre it's a good idea to use some of the whole berries, which can give a really tasty texture to the drink.
Why not create a berry blend of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and acai berries?
You can add in a banana and a little natural yoghurt to thicken the mixture and ensure you're fuller for longer and if it's a little bitter after tasting then a spoonful of honey should help.