Help yourself to a healthy acai bowl

May 27, 2019

Acai berries are a class of superfood rich in antioxidants and fibre. The acai palm is native to South America, producing a small, black-purple fruit which is edible. In an uncontrolled pilot study, overweight adults who took 100g of acai pulp daily for a month reported reductions in fasting glucose and insulin levels, indicating that consumption of the bitter acai fruit pulp could reduce metabolic disease risks – metabolic diseases include cardiovascular disease and/or type-2 diabetes. However, a sweet, nutrient-dense acai bowl could very well sabotage a healthy metabolism.

An average-sized acai bowl typically contains 21–62g of sugar per serving. Commercial bowl brands especially, tend to add artificial syrups/ sugar, sweetened soy/almond milk, and fruit juice to mask the acai puree’s bitter taste. Adding more sweet toppings, such as bananas, mango, coconut or honey, could dangerously elevate sugar levels. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends adults and children to limit their sugar intake to 10% of their total energy intake, roughly 45g for a 1,800kcal diet, to reduce risks of metabolic diseases and obesity.

Still, there is no need to eliminate acai bowls from your diet completely – simply adjust the portions of acai berry puree, fruit and toppings to ensure more fibre is present than sugar. Otherwise, limit the amount of fruit including the acai to less than a cup and have the rest of the ingredients be vegetables, such as zucchini or cauliflower that will add variety and texture to your bowl.

A surefire way to monitor sugar content is through a homemade acai bowl – blended pumpkin provides natural sweetness and fibre; unsweetened nut milk and Greek yoghurt, nut butter or avocado provides protein and fat. The protein and fat will stimulate full belly so you don’t get hungry later and keeps your blood sugar stable.

Being mindful of the ingredients and the portion size will allow for a delicious and healthy breakfast and/or snack without compromising sugar or calorie levels.


Category: Features, Wellness and Complementary Therapies

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