RECIPES // My açai bowl

Since it’s been a long time since I posted something about food, I decided to share my açai bowl recipe. It took me a while to fine-tune it (I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of berries and milk), but this is the final result!

Let’s kick-start your day with a bowl of happiness.

What do you need?

  • Açai, of course. Whereas some people prefer to use the frozen açai purée (which you find in the freezer section of most organic food stores), I like to use açai powder instead. Mine is the Amazonia ‘Shine brighter’ organic açai powder which I bought at Passion café in Ibiza. The good news is that you can also buy açai powder online or at you favourite organic food store (e.g., from brands such as Nutridia).

Açai powder is a rich source of vitamin A, omega fatty acids, amino acids, protective antioxidants, and dietary fiber. If you want to know more about the health benefits take a look at the end of this post!

  • If you are using powdered açai, adding 250 grams of frozen blueberries and raspberries (I use the mixed 250 grams portions from Delhaize) is an ideal option
  • Fresh blueberries and raspberries (as much as you want)
  • Roasted unsweetened almond milk
  • One big banana
  • Your favourite granola
  • Toppings: chia seeds and hemp seeds

How to prepare?

For the base of your açai bowl: put the berries, half a banana, and 3 to 5 teaspoons (depending on how much you like the taste of açai) of açai powder in the blender. Of course you want the base to be thick and thus ‘scoopable’ (not watery). Therefore, you need to make sure that you blend your base until it’s smooth with as little liquid as possible. Start with adding 1/3 cup of roasted almond milk, blend and gradually add some more milk if needed. One trick to make sure your base is thick enough is to take the frozen berries out of the freezer (no longer than) 10 minutes in advance.

If your base is ready, dish the mixture into two beautiful bowls (mine ar from Noya via DHONT leef mooi). Top with the leftover banana, fresh blueberries and raspberries, your favourite granola (mine is the homemade granola by Claudia Dunselman for Marqt) and the hemp and chia seeds.

And last but not least: enjoy!

Why açai?

Given that I am a scientist at heart, I have the automatic tendency of looking things up on the Web of Science. From a quick search, I learned that açai may have several benefits for your overall mental and physical health.

  • Açai berries are loaded with anti-oxidants (e.g., Odendaal & Schauss, 2014) that neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals throughout the body (if free radicals are not neutralized by antioxidants, they can damage cells and lead to a number of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease).
  • Açai berries may thus have anticancer potential (Alessandra-Perini, Perini, et al., 2018; Alessandra-Perini, Rodrigues-Baptista et al., 2018; Jobim et al., 2019).
  • Açai berries may also have antidepressant and anti-aging effects (da Silveira Vasconcelos et al., 2019; Schauss, 2016; Souza-Monteiro et al., 2019).
  • The consumption of açai has shown to reduce muscle stress and to improve effort tolerance in athletes (Carvalho-Peixoto et al., 2015).
  • The consumption of açai may boost brain function (Carey et al., 2017; da Silveira Vasconcelos etal., 2019; Schauss, 2016).

However, given that most evidence to date is limited to animal research, additional studies are warranted.

References

Alessandra-Perini, J., Perini, J. A., Rodrigues-Baptista, K. C., de Moura, R. S., Junior, A. P., dos Santos, T. A., … & Machado, D. E. (2018a). Euterpe oleracea extract inhibits tumorigenesis effect of the chemical carcinogen DMBA in breast experimental cancer. BMC complementary and alternative medicine18(1), 116.

Alessandra-Perini, J., Rodrigues-Baptista, K. C., Machado, D. E., Nasciutti, L. E., & Perini, J. A. (2018b). Anticancer potential, molecular mechanisms and toxicity of Euterpe oleracea extract (açai): A systematic review. PloS one13(7), e0200101.

Carey, A. N., Miller, M. G., Fisher, D. R., Bielinski, D. F., Gilman, C. K., Poulose, S. M., & Shukitt-Hale, B. (2017). 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. Nutritional neuroscience20(4), 238-245.

Carvalho-Peixoto, J., Moura, M. R. L., Cunha, F. A., Lollo, P. C. B., Monteiro, W. D., Carvalho, L. M. J. D., & Farinatti, P. D. T. V. (2015). Consumption of açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) functional beverage reduces muscle stress and improves effort tolerance in elite athletes: a randomized controlled intervention study. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism40(7), 725-733.

da Silveira Vasconcelos, M., Mota, E. F., Gomes-Rochette, N. F., Nunes-Pinheiro, D. C. S., Nabavi, S. M., & de Melo, D. F. (2019). Açai or Brazilian Berry (Euterpe oleracea). In Nonvitamin and Nonmineral Nutritional Supplements (pp. 131-133). Academic Press.

Jobim, M. L., Barbisan, F., Fortuna, M., Teixeira, C. F., Boligon, A. A., Ribeiro, E. E., & da Cruz, I. B. M. (2019). Açai (Euterpe oleracea, Mart.), an Amazonian fruit has antitumor effects on prostate cancer cells. Archives in Biosciences & Health, 1-18.

Odendaal, A. Y., & Schauss, A. G. (2014). Potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids in the nutrient-rich Amazonian palm fruit, açaí (Euterpe spp.). In Polyphenols in human health and disease (pp. 219-239). Academic Press.

Schauss, A. G. (2016). Advances in the study of the health benefits and mechanisms of action of the pulp and seed of the Amazonian palm fruit, Euterpe oleracea Mart., known as “Açai”. In Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs (pp. 179-220). Academic Press.

Souza-Monteiro, J. R., Arrifano, G. P., Queiroz, A. I. D., Mello, B. S., Custódio, C. S., Macêdo, D. S., … & Burbano, R. R. (2019). Antidepressant and antiaging effects of acai (euterpe oleracea mart.) in mice. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity2019.

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