Acai Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Acai bowl
Acai bowls are one of the most popular ways to enjoy the healthy fruit.

Getty Images / Olga Riabinina

Acai berries—which are pronounced “ah-sigh-EE”—are grape-like fruits that come from acai palm trees in South America’s rainforests.

Acai is often touted as a superfood, and indeed, the berries contain antioxidants (which may protect your body from damaging substances called free radicals), fiber, and other healthy vitamins and minerals. They’re also full of healthy fatty acids. Research indicates that the dark purple fruits, which are about 1-inch round, could be beneficial to your brain and heart health.

Acai is slightly tart, and it’s typically sold as a frozen purée, dried powder, or juice. (The berries, which spoil within a day, are not typically sold in the U.S.) Acai is commonly used to make nutritious smoothies or bowls.

Acai Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for one portion (100 grams) of acai berry puree. This type of puree would typically be added to a smoothie or bowl.

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 5g
  • Sodium: 7mg
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 2g

Carbs

A portion of acai puree (100 grams) typically contains 60 calories and 6 grams of carbohydrates. It has 3 grams of fiber, and no sugar.

Fats

There are 5 grams of fat in acai. The fruit is rich in fatty acids, including oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acids.

Protein

Acai contains 2 grams of protein, which means the fruit should not be your main source of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Acai is an excellent source of many nutrients. A 100-gram serving contains about 1 milligram of iron, and nearly 10 milligrams of vitamin C. Acai is also rich in plant sterols such as campesterol, stigmasterol, and beta-sitosterol, which can help lower your cholesterol.

Calories

According to the USDA, 100 grams of acai puree contains 60 calories.

Here are the calories for some common acai products:

  • 6oz acai bowl: 211 calories
  • 100ml acai juice: 58 calories
  • 6g acai powder: 25 calories

Health Benefits

The nutritional profile of acai contributes to its many health benefits.

May Improve Brain Health

Because acai is rich in antioxidants, it could have protective benefits for your brain.

One animal study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that frozen acai pulp could improve cognitive and motor functions.

Another animal study, published in Nutritional Neuroscience, found that acai helped improve memory in aging rats. This was likely the result of "its ability to influence antioxidant and anti-inflammatory signaling," the study authors wrote.

Note that this research is limited, as it was conducted in animal populations. More research needs to be done in humans.

May Promote Heart Health

A pilot study published in Nutrition Journal found that consuming acai pulp for 30 days helped cut cholesterol levels in people with excess weight.

Plus, acai contains anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that has antioxidant effects and gives the fruit its purple color. A report published in Nutrition Reviews found that anthocyanins fight oxidative stress, which contributes to heart disease.

Another study found that anthocyanins can help prevent high blood pressure, and as a result, lower the risk of heart disease.

May Improve Blood Sugar Levels

The same pilot study in Nutrition Journal reported that acai had a positive impact on participants' blood sugar levels. They saw reductions in fasting glucose and insulin levels following 30 days of consuming acai. The study was small, with only 10 participants, but the authors noted that the promising results warranted additional research.

May Help Prevent Cancer

According to a study in mice—which means it’s very preliminary—acai pulp reduced the
incidence of colon cancer. The study authors noted that the findings suggest “that
the intake of acai may be beneficial for the prevention of human colon cancer.”

Another study, also in mice, found acai curbed bladder cancer. That was probably due to “its potential antioxidant action,” the authors said.

The researchers noted that additional research is needed in humans before drawing conclusions about acai's benefits.

May Improve Arthritis

Anthocyanins, which are abundant in acai (as well as fruits such as raspberries and blackberries) have an anti-inflammatory effect, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Allergies

If you're allergic to pollens and trees, it's possible that you could be susceptible to an allergen in acai. Talk with your doctor if you're concerned.

Adverse Effects

It may be best to avoid acai supplements if you're pregnant or breastfeeding because there's insufficient evidence that it's safe in those circumstances. However, fresh acai fruit is likely safe in these instances.

Also, as always, be careful with acai weight-loss products: The Federal Trade Commission has taken action against some companies that market them in deceptive ways.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, consuming large quantities of acai could affect MRI test results. If you've had acai and you're about to undergo an MRI, give your doctor a head's up.

Varieties

The berries themselves, which spoil quickly, are rarely sold. Acai is imported to the U.S., and it's most commonly available in three forms:

Acai powder: Bags of acai powder are available at most supermarkets. This powder can be blended into smoothies, bowls, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods, and other dishes. It typically contains a concentrated amount of nutrients and fiber.

Acai puree: This is the frozen version of acai, and it tends to be particularly flavorful. People blend it into smoothies.

Acai juice: Lots of grocery stores sell various versions of acai juice; it's often mixed with ingredients like pomegranate or blueberry. Check the label to make sure extra sugar hasn't been added.

When It's Best

Acai is available all year long in supermarkets in its powdered and pureed form. Acai juice is also commonly available.

Storage and Food Safety

You can keep frozen packs of acai in your freezer until you're ready to use them in a smoothie or another recipe. Keep powdered acai in an airtight container in a cool spot. No matter what form you have, make sure to check (and abide by) its expiration date.

How to Prepare

Try using acai puree as the smooth base of an acai bowl; top it with your favorite berries, granola, or shredded coconut. Or, turn the fruit pulp into a tasty smoothie. You can also use acai in desserts, such as oatmeal bites or berry bars. Simply add a spoonful of acai powder to whatever you're baking.

Recipes

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Basu A, Rhone M, Lyons TJ. Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular healthNutrition Reviews. 2010;68(3):168-177. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00273.x

  2. USDA FoodData Central. Pure Acai Berry Puree. Published April 1, 2019.

  3. Tapiero H, Townsend DM, Tew KD. Phytosterols in the prevention of human pathologiesBiomed Pharmacother. 2003;57(8):321-325.

  4. USDA FoodData Central. Acai juice bowls. Published June 17, 2021.

  5. USDA FoodData Central. Acai juice beverage. Published June 17, 2021.

  6. USDA FoodData Central. Acai powder. Published March 19, 2021.

  7. Poulose SM, Fisher DR, Larson J, et al. Anthocyanin-rich açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) fruit pulp fractions attenuate inflammatory stress signaling in mouse brain bv-2 microglial cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2012;60(4):1084-1093. doi:10.1021/jf203989k

  8. Carey AN, Miller MG, Fisher DR, et al. Dietary supplementation with the polyphenol-rich açaí pulps (Euterpe oleracea mart. And euterpe precatoria mart.) improves cognition in aged rats and attenuates inflammatory signaling in BV-2 microglial cells. Nutr Neurosci. 2017;20(4):238-245. doi:10.1080/1028415X.2015.1115213

  9. Udani JK, Singh BB, Singh VJ, Barrett ML. Effects of Açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) berry preparation on metabolic parameters in a healthy overweight population: A pilot studyNutr J. 2011;10:45. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-45

  10. Cassidy A, O’Reilly ÉJ, Kay C, et al. Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;93(2):338-347. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00273.x

  11. Choi YJ, Choi YJ, Kim N, et al. Açaí berries inhibit colon tumorigenesis in azoxymethane/dextran sulfate sodium-treated mice. Gut Liver. 2017;11(2):243-252. doi:10.5009/gnl16068

  12. Fragoso MF, Prado MG, Barbosa L, Rocha NS, Barbisan LF. Inhibition of mouse urinary bladder carcinogenesis by açai fruit (Euterpe oleraceae Martius) intakePlant Foods Hum Nutr. 2012;67(3):235-241. doi:10.1007/s11130-012-0308-y

  13. Arthritis Foundation. Best Fruits for Arthritis.

  14. Science and the acai berry. Women’s Health Research Institute.

  15. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Acai. Updated August 2020.