By Dr. Shellie L. Rosen, DOM, L.Ac.
The high fiber and antioxidant content of a smoothie bowl offer a nutritious meal replacement or post-meal dessert. Blueberries and acai are often referred to as “super fruits” due to their high antioxidant content. Berries reduce cravings, increase cardiovascular health, and can be used in place of processed meals to increase immune function and defend against infections.
Acai and blueberries get their blue tones from their high amounts of anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid. These flavonoids are antioxidants that combat oxidative stress throughout the body, protecting against cardiovascular disease, cancers, and brain illness. Berries also contain essential nutritional components. Blueberries contain vitamins B, C, E, K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and folate. Acai berries carry more protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B, C, and E than blueberries.
Wild blueberries and acai are adapted to pull up various trace minerals from soils that protect against infection, building a healthy immune system. In 2008, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ran a trial with 72 individuals with cardiovascular risk factors. It determined, “The consumption of moderate amounts of berries resulted in favorable changes in platelet function, HDL cholesterol, and BP (blood pressure). The results indicate that regular consumption of berries may play a role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.”
Acai and blueberries are high in fiber, which mediates the 15-20 grams of sugar per cup. While blueberries have zero fat, acai has about 5 grams of unsaturated fat (omega-3s, 6s, and 9s) per half cup of frozen puree. Berry fiber and acai fat makes the fruits’ combination an excellent foundation for a smoothie bowl meal replacement or after-meal dessert because they satiate adequately without causing a spike in blood sugar that leads to further cravings.
Whole food nutrition is better than processed foods, even when aiming for low-calorie options. Processed foods contain chemical trickery, such as artificial flavors and sugars. These chemical additives do little to support the complex needs of the brain, or the cardiovascular and immune systems. Berries are an excellent choice to supply bio-available minerals and vitamins to either protect against or recover from disease.
One popular treat is an “acai bowl.” You can find one at many smoothie bars, or you can make one yourself. To prepare one at home, look for frozen acai packets at your local grocer. Blend frozen acai with equal parts frozen banana, then scoop them into a freezer-safe bowl and return the mix to the freezer. While refreezing your acai/banana blend, gather your toppings. Consider freshly sliced banana, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, gluten-free granola, wild blueberries, sliced strawberries, and almond butter. When your acai blend has become firm from the freezer, spread two heaping tablespoons of almond butter on the firm puree. Next, top with granola, cacao nibs, fruit, and then dust it with cocoa. Prepare your recipe to your preference. You may prefer kiwi, mango, chia seeds, or even avocado in place of banana or with coconut flakes or almond slivers. You can replace acai with frozen blueberries as well. Blend similarly with equal parts banana to create a puree. Perhaps make your puree blend in freezer-safe ramekins ahead of time, ready for the children and grandchildren for after-school or for your nightly treat.
Abundant blessings with your smoothie bowl! Dr. Shellie L. Rosen, DOM, L.Ac.