Acai bowls have become an extremely popular breakfast item. They’re also great as a snack or for lunch/dinner, especially on hot summer days. Places that sell acai bowls boast about how much of a “superfood” acai is, yet there’s little evidence to suggest that acai is superior health-wise to any other fruit. A food that does appear worthy of a superfood title, due to the wealth of research showing it’s health benefits, is the less exotic blueberry. So instead of paying an arm and leg to buy acai, this recipe uses the humble blueberry, which works just as well.
This recipe is amazing topped with this granola recipe from Simnett Nutrition.
- Blueberries have been shown to improve endothelial cell (the layer of cells that line our blood vessels) function and lower blood pressure, making them a potent heart-healthy food. Blueberries are also good for brain health, as regular consumption appears to slow cognitive decline in older adults. The pigments that give blueberries their color, called anthocyanins (which are also found in acai), have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and can help prevent or slow the progression of eye diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
- Bananas are, as you probably already know, a good source of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce our stroke risk.
- Turmeric has well-established anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. It also appears useful in the prevention and possibly even the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Black pepper boosts our body’s absorption of turmeric, hence the small amount in this recipe.
- Dark leafy greens, such as kale, are the healthiest foods we can consume, so why not sneak in a small amount.
- Cranberry juice adds a nice tart aspect to this smoothie bowl. Unsweetened cranberry juice is much lower in sugar compared to other juice, and some studies show that it may help prevent urinary tract infections.
- The small amount of soy milk helps make this smoothie bowl creamy and adds a little nutrition. Soy is one of the best foods to help prevent breast cancer.
- Do not be afraid of the sugar in fruit. Fruit consumption is associated with lower rates of obesity, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and overall cancer risk. Most fruit is loaded with health-promoting nutrients, like fiber, potassium, vitamin C and K, beta-carotene, and other beneficial pigments.
- Granola is typically made with oats. Oats are a great source of soluble fiber, which feeds our healthy gut bacteria and can help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels.
- 2 medium frozen bananas (break into chunks and peel before freezing)
- 2 cups frozen blueberries
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- dash of black pepper
- ½ cup frozen chopped kale (sub spinach)
- 7-8 ice cubes
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- ⅓ cup unsweetened soy milk (sub almond milk, if needed)
- 1 scoop of vanilla plant-based protein powder (optional; I like SunWarrior brand)
- Sliced banana
- Diced kiwi
- Diced mango
- Dried goji berries
- Unsweetened dried shredded coconut
- Place two bowls in the freezer to chill (optional, but it will keep the smoothie from melting too fast).
- Put all of the base ingredients in a high-powered blender. You will need a blender with a wand, so you can press the mixture down into the blade (if you don't have this, it will be difficult to make a thick smoothie bowl).
- Blend using the "ice" or "frozen" setting. While blending, constantly push down the mixture into the spinning blade using a wand and guard (to keep you from pushing the wand too far down and into the blade). This will likely be a noisy process, but keep pushing the mixture down. I usually run it through two cycles to ensure that everything is blended well.
- Once the smoothie mixture is well blended, scoop it out and into the chilled bowls, add any desired toppings, and enjoy immediately.