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Acai: Nature's energy fruit from the Amazon rainforest

Acai Basket (Sambazon Photo)   What if there was a food that tasted like rich berries with a hint of chocolate. . . but contained no chocolate? And what if this food was
Acai fruit © Sambazon Enlarge


 
super-nutritious and gave you sustained energy throughout the day? And what if eating this food could help preserve the Amazon rainforest?

You might think that such a food could not exist, but it does! It's called acai, (ah-sigh-ee) the fruit of palmberry trees that grow wild in the Amazon (see photo of trees).

According to Sambazon, the largest exporter of acai, this fruit "has been called one of the top superfoods in the world for its powerful synergy of antioxidants, healthy fats (omegas), protein and fiber. Originally gaining awareness among surfers, and jiu-jitsu fighters first in Brazil and now in the U.S., Sambazon acai has quickly become a dietary staple for world class athletes and health conscious people worldwide for its rare nutritional value and delicious taste."

Regular consumption of acai is not only good for your health, it's also good for the environment. Sambazon, whose name is short for "Saving and Managing the Brazilian Amazon" states that "locals earn more harvesting acai than clear-cutting the forest." Look for Sambazon and other brands of acai products at your local health food store.

I first tried Sambazon acai in a pre-made smoothie sold at Rainbow Natural Foods. I knew little about the fruit's nutritional value, but was intrigued by the statement that it tasted like "rich berries with a hint of chocolate". I simply had to try it. These smoothies were so delicious they became a staple in my diet. As time went on, I started noticing that I always seemed to have more energy on days when I had my acai smoothie than on days when I chose a regular fruit juice. I did not know why this was the case until I researched the nutritional aspects of acai.

Sambazon Pure Acai frozen smoothie packsRecently I began purchasing Sambazon's frozen acai packs to make my own smoothies. Not only is this more cost effective, but it allows me to add other ingredients which punch up the nutritional value even further. In my smoothies I add the following ingredients:

Flax Oil

Acai is rich in healthy Omega 6 and Omega 9 fats. Flax oil adds Omega 3, another healthy fat that is needed by the human body.

Hemp Protein Powder

One frozen pack of Sambazon acai has 2 grams of protein. If you want your smoothie to act as a meal, you may wish to boost the protein content by adding some protein powder. Hemp (unflavoured) is my preference, but you can choose whichever type of protein powder you like (whey, soy, rice, etc).

Green Food Supplement

Nutrient-dense green foods such as spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass or mixed formulas (Greens+, NuGreens, etc.) are a great addition to any smoothie, providing high levels of phytonutrients that "have marked beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, immune response and cancer prevention." (Oprah.com, Superfoods) "

The following are some recipes I have created using frozen Sambazon acai packs. Hope you enjoy them!

Acai Berry Cherry Smoothie
Acai Banana Cherry Smoothie
Acai Almonds & Honey Smoothie

For more information on acai please see the following websites:

Sambazon.com
Oprah.com: Dr. Perricone's Top 10 Superfoods

The Nature Conservancy: Community-based Businesses Thrive with Help of Innovative EcoEnterprises Fund

Neither Recipes for Natural Health nor any of its staff or volunteers were paid by Sambazon to publish this article. I wrote this article simply to provide information about acai, to share my positive experience in using Sambazon products and to share my personal recipes. Sambazon graciously allowed this site to use its copyrighted photos for which we express our appreciation.

Robin Russell, Webmaster

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