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

Açaí  berries—açaí is pronounced “ah-sigh-EE”—are grape-like fruits that come from açaí palm trees in South America’s rainforests. Açaí 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 healthy fatty acids.

Açaí is slightly tart, and it’s typically sold as a frozen purée, dried powder, or juice; it's unusual to find fresh berries. Açaí is commonly used to make smoothies or bowls.

Acai Nutrition Facts

One portion (100 grams, or just under half a cup) of açaí berry puree provides calories, 1.4g of protein, 18g of carbohydrates, and 0.2g of fat. These berries are not a significant source of any vitamin or mineral. This nutrition information is provided by the USDA; it provides nutritional data for puree only.

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 5g
  • Sodium: 7mg
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Potassium: 105mg
  • Iron: 0.6mg
  • Calcium: 35mg

Carbs

A 100-gram serving of açaí puree typically contains 6 grams of carbohydrates. It has 3 grams of fiber, and no sugar.

Fats

There are 5 grams of fat in 100 grams of açaí berries. The fruit is rich in polyunsaturated fat (4.4 grams), including fatty acids such as oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acids.

Protein

Pureed açaí contains 2 grams of protein per 100 grams, which means the fruit should not be your main source of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

A 100-gram serving of açaí contains about 0.6mg milligram of iron or 3.5% of the daily value (DV) established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It also contains 35mg of calcium (2.6% of DV) and 105mg of potassium (2.2% of DV).

Calories

According to the USDA, 100 grams of açaí puree contains 60 calories. A similar amount (110mL) of açaí juice has about the same number of calories. A 6-ounce acai bowl with other ingredients, such as bananas and granola, provides more calories (one brand's offering has 135 calories). In its powdered form, 6 grams of açaí has 25 calories.

Summary

Nutritional data for açaí berries is limited and is only provided by the USDA for products containing the fruit. Açaí puree contains 60 calories per servings, 2g of protein, 6g of carbohydrates, and 5g of fat. Most of the fat is healthy polyunsaturated fat. The berries are not a significant source of any micronutrient, according to USDA data.

Health Benefits

Products that contain açaí are widely promoted for their health benefits. However, there isn't strong scientific evidence to support the use of açaí for any any health-related purpose, according to the National Institutes of Health. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has taken action against companies that have marketed açaí weight-loss products in allegedly deceptive ways.

The available evidence suggests a relationship between açaí and these potential health benefits. But more consistent research in humans is needed before we know if açaí can produce any significant health outcome in humans.

May Improve Brain Health

Because açaí is rich in antioxidants, it could have protective benefits for the brain. One animal study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that frozen açaí pulp could improve cognitive and motor functions.

Another animal study, published in Nutritional Neuroscience, found that açaí 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 100 grams of açaí pulp twice daily for one month helped cut cholesterol levels in people with excess weight. But the study was extremely limited in that it was conducted using only 10 overweight individuals.

Açaí contains anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that has antioxidant effects and gives the fruit its purple color. One 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 10-person Nutrition Journal pilot study reported that açaí had a positive impact on participants' blood sugar levels. They saw reductions in fasting glucose and insulin levels following 30 days of consuming açaí. The study was very small, 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—açaí pulp reduced the incidence of colon cancer. The study authors noted that the findings suggest that “the intake of açaí may be beneficial for the prevention of human colon cancer.”

Another study, also in mice, found açaí curbed bladder cancer. That was probably due to açaí's “potential antioxidant action,” the authors said. The researchers noted that additional research is needed in humans before drawing conclusions about açaí's benefits.

May Decrease Arthritis Symptoms

Anthocyanins, which are abundant in açaí (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 açaí supplements if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, because little is known about the berry's safety during this time. In addition, supplements may contain other ingredients, such as caffeine, that may be unhealthy.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, consuming large quantities of açaí could affect MRI test results. If you've consumed açaí and you're about to undergo an MRI, let your doctor know.

Varieties

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

  • Powder: Bags of açaí 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.
  • Puree: This is usually sold frozen, and it tends to be particularly flavorful. It's popular in smoothies.
  • Juice: Açaí juice is often mixed with other fruits, such as pomegranate or blueberry. Check the label to make sure extra sugar hasn't been added.

When It's Best

Açaí is available all year long in supermarkets in its powdered and pureed form. Açaí juice is also commonly available. The berries, which spoil within a day, are not typically sold in the U.S.

Storage and Food Safety

You can keep frozen packs of açaí in your freezer until you're ready to use them in a smoothie or another recipe. Keep powdered açaí 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 açaí puree as the smooth base of an açaí bowl; top it with your favorite berries, granola, or shredded coconut. Or, turn the fruit pulp into a tasty smoothie. You can also use açaí in desserts, such as oatmeal bites or berry bars. Simply add a spoonful of açaí powder to whatever you're baking.

Recipes

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14 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.
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