We came across this article recently where Baum + Whiteman, a New York-based group, made their prediction for which foods would be popular on restaurant menus:
Move over, smoothies … açaí bowls are the next big hipster food. Using a fruit from Brazil, they’re migrating from Hawaii and spreading cross-country. Not seen one? Fundamentally a big-bowl smoothie … made from frozen açaí pulp and soy or other milk plus bananas, bits of other fruit, and lots of ice … with toppings like granola, chia seeds, chocolate chips, coconut flakes and peanut better. You eat it with a spoon and it tastes fairly close to ice cream.
Here at Bowl of Heaven, we’ve been fans of açaí for quite some time. Brandon (our co-founder) first discovered açaí bowls on the beaches in Hawaii in 2005, launching an addiction that would change his life. In 2010, the first Bowl of Heaven location opened in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, and he hasn’t looked back since.
We agree with much of what’s written by Baum + Whiteman and Food World News: açaí bowls are packed with powerful nutrition, and we top our bowls with organic granola, fresh fruit, coconut flakes, and honey—just what’s needed to power up your day.
So what is the açaí berry? Where does it come from? What are some of its possible benefits?
Native to Brazil and other parts of South America, the açaí berry grows on a species of palm tree and looks like a cross between a grape and a blueberry. Packing twice the antioxidants of blueberries, the açaí berry also contains omega fats, amino acids, proteins, anthocyanins, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and other phytonutrients.
What have some studies shown about the benefits of the açaí berry? Natural Health News reported on this almost two years ago:
Rich in antioxidants – According to a study published in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, açaí berries contain a large number of antioxidants that help scavenge cell-damaging free radicals from the body. In particular, the study, which was conducted by researchers at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Texas A&M University, showed that açaí berries possessed the highest antioxidant activity to date against a certain type of free radical, making them an excellent guard against degenerative diseases such as macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidant-rich foods like açaí berries have also been linked to improved cardiovascular health, improved skin and eye health, anti-aging benefits and more.
Immune-boosting properties – Açaí berries contain a polysaccharide called arabinogalactan that is known to induce T cell activity, thereby helping the body fight infections. According to researchers at the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Montana State University, these components in açaí berries “have implications for the treatment of asthma and infectious disease.”
Not only are açaí bowls good for you, but they taste amazing, too. Add some protein and it’s a well-balanced meal, one that leaves you with an overall feeling of satisfaction, well-being, and health. With all these great health benefits from the açaí berry, we’re not surprised it’s on the list of the Next Big Thing in 2016.