Food trends typically advance in predictable stages. New culinary fashions often appear first in a creative chef’s kitchen, at an ethnic restaurant or are invented by the eccentric owner of a small food company, says Kimberly Egan, principal and chief executive of CCD Innovation, a food and beverage strategy company that created a commonly used model for a five-stage food trend timeline. Foods like açaí (pronounced a-sai-EE), kimchi, kale, coconut sugar, sprouted grains and fancy burgers first became popular this way.
Virtually unknown outside the Amazon two decades ago, and until 2000 not exported from Brazil — its major producer — açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) is now an international celebrity, riding the wave of the antioxidant craze and rain-forest chic.
Anyway, at this time there at least does not appear to be any dangers with Acai fruits. So whether you believe the hype or not, it is a billion dollar industry and it seems to be a good income for Brazilians, and possibly a way to keep the rainforests from being burned to the ground as rapidly.
According to Dr. Nicholas Perricone, who calls acai one of the top 10 superfoods, the antioxidants in this "energy fruit" help combat premature aging, while the "almost perfect essential amino acid complex" aids in muscle regeneration, and the healthy fats help digestion.
So yes, this Amazon rain forest berry does have potent antioxidant qualities. But one does not have to go to Brazil, or even the sidewalk restaurant in my neighborhood to eat foods with antioxidant power.
So how to best use acai? Eat it. Drink acai smoothies, enjoy acai sorbet, and incorporate acai into your diet the way you would strawberries or peaches. Would you eat a sandwich pill to lose weight? Of course not. It’s the same with acai. Don’t fall for the hustle. But at the same time, let’s recognize acai for what it is, a highly nutritious and unusually great-tasting Amazonian fruit with the power to employ many and help to protect the greatest rainforest on earth.
The rise and fall of açaí. In test tubes, anthocyanins are highly effective in neutralizing free radicals, which have been implicated in cancer and various other diseases. But anthocyanins (and other flavonoid antioxidants in foods) behave differently in the human body, where they are poorly absorbed. “Despite all the hoopla, these polyphenolic compounds, such as the flavonoids that you find in açaí, are not very important, or powerful, or significant contributors to fighting free radicals,”