Are Acai Bowls Healthy? Calories and Nutrition

In recent years, acai bowls have become one of the most hyped-up health foods on the market.

They’re prepared from puréed acai berries — which are fruits grown in Central and South America — and served as a smoothie in a bowl or glass, topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, or granola.

Known for their vibrant color, creamy texture, and versatility, acai bowls are touted as an antioxidant-rich superfood. On the other hand, the dish can be high in calories and added sugar, and some claim it might do more harm than good when it comes to your health.

This article takes a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of acai bowls to determine if they’re healthy.

The nutrition profile of your acai bowl varies depending on the ingredients used.

That said, most bowls are high in fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients like vitamin C, manganese, and potassium.

For reference, a 6-ounce (170-gram) acai bowl may contain the following nutrients (1Trusted Source):

  • Calories: 211
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Carbs: 35 grams
  • Sugar: 19 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams

However, commercial varieties often come in much larger portions and can contain up to 600 calories and 75 grams of sugar in a single serving, depending on which toppings you select.

In addition to acai berries, acai bowls often contain other fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and bananas (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).

These fruits are a great source of vitamin C and manganese, both of which act as antioxidants that protect your cells against oxidative damage caused by harmful compounds known as free radicals (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

They’re also high in potassium, an important nutrient that regulates blood pressure levels and protects against conditions like age-related bone loss and kidney stones (7Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Though the nutrient profile varies depending on the ingredients used, most acai bowls are high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, manganese, and potassium.

Acai berries are high in antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals to prevent damage to your cells (8Trusted Source).

Test-tube studies show that acai berries are especially high in plant compounds known as anthocyanins, including specific types like cyanidin 3-glucoside and cyanidin 3-rutinoside (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).

In one study, consuming acai pulp and applesauce increased levels of antioxidants in the blood in 12 healthy adults within 24 hours (11Trusted Source).

Human and animal studies suggest that acai berries could be linked to lower cholesterol levels, better brain function, and decreased colon cancer cell growth due to this antioxidant content (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Acai berries are high in antioxidants and have been associated with several health benefits in human and animal studies.

Source: Healthline