Considered a superfood, açaí is a source of multiple health benefits. No wonder athletes, amateurs and professionals, enjoy this magical bay originating in Brazil!
Açai berry is rich in antioxidants, fiber, fatty acids and essential nutrients. Thanks to this unique combination, this fruit allows to significantly optimize athletic performance, in addition to a healthy diet.
The antioxidants in the açaí berry, called anthocyanins, combat the free radicals produced during exercise. They help reduce inflammation and cell damage. They also promote faster recovery and help prevent muscle pain. Athletes performing endurance exercises consider acai as a fuel. Its complex carbohydrates and fibers provide energy to the body for a long time. The fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) of the fruit improve blood circulation and have anti-inflammatory properties that soothe painful muscles. In addition, vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and zinc, support the immune system. Low in calories, açaí berry is therefore an ideal balanced meal or snack, to be consumed before or after a sports session!
The açaí berries has been consumed for centuries by the local populations of South America where this fruit grows. But it is only recently that this food has been exported to our countries and has become increasingly popular. It all started with the world of sport. In Brazil, surfers started eating this fruit in the 1970s. Seduced by the nutritional benefits of this berry, they quickly adopted it as an essential part of their diet. This sacred fruit allows them to face the waves during long intense sessions and promotes their recovery after the effort. Over time, the reputation of açaí has spread within the surfing community, beyond borders, and then beyond the beaches. Today, this trend has conquered athletes (in the broad sense) and supporters of a healthy lifestyle, all over the world. This ingredient with a thousand virtues is always associated with surfers, of course, but also with fans of jujitsu, tennis, yoga or fitness.
More than just a fruit, açaí berry is considered the symbol of a healthy lifestyle. Like yoga, it is linked to values related to well-being and health. It brings energy while low in sugar. Which is actually a food favoured by people to the philosophy “healthy”! Many fitness, martial arts or yoga rooms offer açaí bowls or other preparations based on this berry to their members because this menu fits perfectly with the practice of a sport. Taking care of your body also means paying attention to how you feed it!
Brazilian jiu-jitsu (a martial art that focuses on submission techniques and ground fighting) shares a common history with açaí. The training sessions of this sport are demanding physically. They require an energetic and recovery-enhancing diet. The nutritious berry of açaí meets these needs! “Açaí has been an integral part of the jiu-jitsu culture for about ten years,” says Santo, 24, a professional athlete, “I love this sweet, healthy little note as a snack. It is as delicious as it is light.” The jiu-jitsuka trains twice a day in the centre of Brussels. “I start my morning sitting on an empty stomach. Immediately afterwards, I go to Café LA ÇAÍ, located in Brussels city center, very close to my apartment, to taste a delicious açaí bowl. It's the headquarters of all the athletes in the corner. I feel at home!” says Santo. “This energy shot replaces a coffee. It has become my daily ritual that helps my body to recover after training. I'm addicted to it!" He said.
Açaí (pronounced ah-sah-ee) is a species of palm tree native to South America, also known as the pinot palm. Indigenous tribes have cultivated its fruit, the açaí berries, for thousands of years for their exceptional nutritional and medicinal properties. Let's focus on this superfood, which is now exported worldwide!
Legend has it that several hundred years ago, an Amazonian tribe living in the jungle suffered from famine due to a growing population and a lack of food. The chief, Itaki, ordered the sacrifice of all newborns to ensure the survival of his tribe. His daughter, named Iaçá, gave birth to a child who, tragically, was not spared from this rule and was killed upon birth. One night, as she wept inconsolably, the grieving mother heard cries coming from the forest. On that moonlit night, outside, Iaçá thought she saw her baby at the foot of a palm tree. She rushed towards him, arms wide open, only to find her baby had vanished. The next day, she was found dead, embracing the palm tree. Her eyes, still open, gazed adoringly at the fruits of the tree. Chief Itaki ordered the berries to be harvested and brought back to the village. The tribe discovered that the fruit pulp was the solution to feed the entire community, leading them to plant palm trees throughout the region. Chief Itaki ended the sacrifices of children and named the tropical fruit "açaí", reversing the letters of his daughter's name in her honor. In the Tupi language, açaí means "fruit that cries", alluding both to the juice extracted from the berries and to the tears shed by Iaçá's baby.
Açaí berries are small fruits, about two centimeters in diameter, with a purple hue, resembling blueberries. They grow in clusters on palm trees found in the tropical regions of the Amazon, especially in Brazil, the world's leading producer. These towering trees can reach over 20 meters in height, making the harvesting process long and challenging! The berries are exclusively handpicked, sustainably and environmentally friendly, in preserved forest areas without the use of pesticides or chemicals. Therefore, these fruits are guaranteed to be organic!
While the açaí berry has been consumed by Amazonian natives for millennia, it only began to be exported to cities in northern Brazil in the 1970s. The fruit gained popularity in the 1980s, thanks to the founder of the combat sport jiu-jitsu, Carlos Gracie. This Brazilian martial artist is credited with inventing the açaí bowl as he came up with the idea of mixing açaí berry pulp with bananas to create a protein-packed, energizing dessert for his students. This preparation quickly won over followers from various disciplines. Surfers and fitness enthusiasts, in particular, were drawn to its numerous benefits. In the 2000s, the açaí berry began its journey around the world, starting with the United States. Nowadays, athletes, as well as foodies from all over the globe, love it. Once harvested, the açaí berry is processed into powder, sorbet, or puree forms to prevent oxidation. These products are most commonly used in smoothies or açaí bowls. Energizing and low in sugar, this colorful food makes a balanced breakfast and an ideal snack.
The açaí berry is renowned as one of the healthiest fruits in the world. It comprises 80% of a hard seed and 20% of pulpy flesh packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The fibers and omega-3 fatty acids it contains are beneficial for cardiovascular health and the immune system. This superfruit is also known for its ability to improve digestion, regulate cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and protect cells from oxidative damage. Furthermore, it's considered an anti-aging food, thanks to its polyphenol content, which safeguards cells against aging effects.
LA ÇAÍ is the official distributor of B.you açaí berries in Belgium. The brand offers organic products and guarantees eco-responsible harvesting of the açaí palms. Their range contains no artificial colors, stabilizers, emulsifiers, thickeners, or other artificial ingredients. The berries are handpicked in the heart of the Amazon and are immediately frozen to ensure unchanged quality and freshness when reaching Belgian plates. LA ÇAÍ has opened its first café-shop entirely dedicated to açaí in the center of Brussels, located at 33 rue du Marché aux Herbes. In this unique store, one can enjoy various açaí-based preparations on-site or purchase the delightful B.you products to take away.