Naturya’s Açaí Powder is made from açaí berries, the small fruit of the açaí palm. The açaí berries grow in bunches, and are similar in appearance to grapes, growing to about 1 inch in diameter. Each berry contains one large seed, which accounts for 87% of the fruit. Açaí palms are native to South America and grow up to 15-30m tall. They thrive in the swampy, humid conditions found in the Amazon River delta. Açaí is a popular part of the Brazilian diet, particularly in Pára, where a marketplace in the city of Belém reportedly sells 204,000kg of açaí per day during the peak harvest season.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Naturya’s açaí berries are grown in Pára, in northern Brazil. They are organically farmed by cooperatives of local farmers, who are known as ‘ribeirinhos’. Once the berries are harvested, they are shipped downriver for processing. The açaí berries are cleaned before the pulp is extracted, pasteurised and frozen. Naturya’s açaí is freeze dried, which means it is subjected to
temperatures of -40°C in a vacuum environment. This process, known as sublimation, eliminates all water from the açaí and means it can be kept safely at room temperature for up to 18 months. The processing is completed within 24 hours of the açaí being harvested, thereby locking in up to 80% of the vitamins and minerals present in the highly perishable fresh açaí pulp.
Açaí is known for having a very high antioxidant capacity, containing a range of polyphenols that protect the body’s cells from the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Oxidative damage is thought to contribute to aging, neurodegenerative disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Açaí powder has been shown to be extremely effective against two of the more common free radicals, superoxide and peroxyl radical. It is reported that açaí powder has amongst the highest antioxidant properties of any fruit or vegetable. The major polyphenols found in açaí are flavonoids, which have displayed strong antioxidant qualities. Studies have suggested that flavonoids may have anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and neuroprotective qualities. Other major antioxidant compounds found in açaí include anthocyanins, proanthocyanins and lignans. Açaí is rich in vitamins, containing vitamins B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), C and E.3 Amongst other benefits, the B vitamins help to keep the nervous system healthy, whilst vitamin E helps to protect cell membranes. Açaí also contains a number of essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid and oleic acid. Essential fatty acids are not created by the body so must be obtained through diet; they help to maintain heart, liver and brain health.
How to enjoy Açaí
Naturya Organic Açaí Powder is a flexible product, which can be consumed in a variety of ways. For those of you in search of an easy hit of vitamins and minerals, açaí complements a wide range of fruit juices and even tastes good when simply mixed with water. A useful ingredient for smoothies or desserts, açaí powder also adds a unique flavour to yoghurts, sorbets or ice cream; simply stir it in and enjoy!