Are acai bowls as healthy as you think?
Recently, the acai bowl boomed on social media as a popular healthy food trend. Its gained a following as its alleged health benefits have been widely promoted, but how healthy is it really?
“In reality, there has been limited research conducted in humans to support any of these claims,” says Hannah Diamond, a clinical dietitian at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. “Here’s what acai berries do contain: fiber, some heart healthy fats, vitamin A and antioxidants,” she says.
Acai berries alone are very healthy, as they contain low amounts of sugar and are higher in antioxidants than other berries. This fruit is native to South America, which unfortunately means that fresh acai berries are not available in the United States. Instead they are sold as a powder, frozen puree, juice and in supplement tablets.
This has resulted in the trendy acai bowl; which has become a popular way to enjoy this fruit. Acai bowls can be either be homemade or purchased at a local juice bar and are usually topped with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds or oats. While they may look pretty on social media, be mindful of what you put in your bowl, as that can affect the overall healthiness of the meal.
When making your own acai bowls at home, Diamond suggests that you should:
- Purchase unsweetened acai puree to avoid added sugar
- Be mindful of the quantity of the toppings you add on, as the calories can add up
Although this “superfood” does have health benefits, keep in mind that “no one food can provide all the nutrients we need, so it’s always important to eat a variety of food from each food group,” says Diamond.
Next time you order or make an acai bowl, be conscious of the ingredients you add to it, as less can be more in some cases.
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