Juice stores, Instagram trend-setters, and hot-spot brunch destinations are all in the know about the latest frozen snack that will replace your froyo cravings: açaí (pronounced: ah-sigh-ee.)
The açaí berry is indigenous to South America, and looks like a larger, darker purple blueberry with yellow and purple stripes on the inside. Açaí is only sold frozen except for Brazil. This is because the fruit is no longer fresh after 24 hours; therefore, the berry is frozen after being picked from the tree, and then sent out globally.
Although not less expensive than froyo, making the switch to Açaí can offer many health benefits. It can help aid digestion, is rich in antioxidants, and promotes a healthier heart. While some supplements claim that this berry can promote weight loss, there is no evidence to support this claim. As a matter of fact, the FDA has cracked down on companies touting it for weight loss and has required they remove those claims from their labels.
Acai is also a very diverse fruit, and can be prepared in a multitude of ways. Next time you’re looking to switch up your daily routine, try acai in one of these ways:
1. Açaí bowls: a tasty frozen treat, especially during the summer when the temperature is climbing.. Açaí is blended with either milk and/or ice, and then various toppings are added on top, kind of like your everyday froyo bar. Try granola, bananas, strawberries, peanut butter, and cacao nibs. Make it yourself by checking out the frozen food section in your local grocery store.
2. Açaí powder: Purchase your açaí as a powder and add it to a smoothie or baked goods to increase the nutrient value.
3. Açaí smoothies: If you want the bowl without actually having a bowl, and still want some blended açaí? No problem. Make yourself an açaí smoothie for an icy snack to cool up any summer day.
Elana Rubin is a senior at New York University majoring in journalism and art history.
Photo Credit: Dollar Photo Club