Acai berries (Euterpe oleracea) are touted as a super food. The berries are harvested from acai palm trees which are native to the rainforests of South America particularly Brazil. They are small dark purple fruits which grow in clusters.
Unless you live in an area where palm trees grow well or you are willing to go to the expense and effort of building and maintaining a greenhouse growing acai berries is next to impossible. However, most climates can grow other super fruits such as blueberries and strawberries.
Blueberries require an acidic soil which is well drained yet with adequate irrigation. They may be planted either in the ground or in containers. Blueberries like a sunny location. It is optimal to plant 2 to 3 year old nursery plants in order to get a quicker harvest. It is recommended that blueberry bushes are planted at least 5 feet apart. If planting bare root plants cut back the top 2/3 of the growth. And, if planting potted plants cut back the top ½ of the plant in order to stimulate new growth. A mature blueberry plant should produce about 10 pounds of berries each year.
Strawberries love direct sunlight and are a warm weather loving plant. They like neutral soil that is well irrigated. In order to prolong the growing and harvesting of your strawberries it is recommended that you plant 2 or 3 different varieties. Strawberry plants put out runners which can become new plants. It is important to allow adequate room between each plant. Typically between 4 and 6 inches.
Nutritional Values of Acai Berries, Strawberries and Blueberries
Serving Size = 100 grams of acai berries
|Amount Per Serving||Percent Daily Value|
|Total Fat (0g)||0%|
|Saturated Fat (0g)||0%|
|Total Carbohydrates (0g)||0%|
Nutrient Unit Value per 1 cup (148 g) of blueberries
|Nutrient||Amount per cup|
|Total Fat||1.1 g|
|Vitamin C||14.74 mg|
|Vitamin A||14.4 IU|
|Beta Carotene||114 mcg|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||47 mcg|
Amount per one cup of strawberry halves (152 grams)
|Nutrient||Amount per cup||Percent Daily Value|
|Vitamin C||81.65 mg||136.1|
|Dietary Fiber||3.31 g||13.2|
|Vitamin B||0.01 mg||5.9|
|Vitamin B5||0.49 mg||4.9|
|Omega-3 fatty acids||0.11 mg||4.6|
|Vitamin B6||0.08 mg||4.0|
|Vitamin K||3.17 mcg||4.0|
Health Benefits of Acai
Acai berries are a good source of fiber, antioxidants, anthocyanins and healthy fats; however, there has not been any substantial research finished to support the various health related claims.
There are many other berries especially blueberries and strawberries which also provide similar nutrients as acai berries which have been proven through research to have numerous health benefits.
Getting the Most Out of Acai Berries
Acai berries come in many forms. Capsules, juice, powder, and pulp are all common ways to find acai berries.
Concerns and Cautions Regarding Acai Berries
As there is no research to substantiate the claims made about acai berries one should use caution and prudence when deciding if acai berries should be added to your diet.
Additional Acai Berry Information
Learn more about the nutritional information of Acai Berries.
Also read up on the nutritional information of strawberries.
The Mayo clinic has an interesting article about health information for Acai Berries.
Learn how to grow blueberries from this helpful guide.
Or learn how to grow strawberries on your own.
CC Flickr photo courtesy of Forest & Kim.